It’s that time again! There’s a new superhero movie at the multiplex, and you know what that means: a post-credits scene that’ll baffle the average non-comics-reading viewer. After the exceedingly entertaining narrative of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse draws to a close and the names of the best-boy and gaffer have been declared, we get to see something that’ll get longtime Spider-fans all juiced up. Wanna feel juiced-up, too? Read on for an explanation of what you’re looking at — and, perhaps more important, who you’re listening to.
Major spoilers for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse below.
We see a narration box reading, “Meanwhile, in Nueva York …” That should be enough to cause certain members of the viewing public to lose their minds, as it immediately suggests we’re going to travel to a world familiar to all the loyal Spidey die-hards out there. Nueva York is the New York City of the year 2099 and, in comics lore, it has been the home of Miguel O’Hara, a.k.a. Spider-Man 2099.
Co-created by writer Peter David and artist Rick Leonardi and debuting in 1992, Miguel is notable for being the first Latinx character to take up the Spider-mantle (but not the last, as evidenced by Into the Spider-Verse’s star, Miles Morales). The basic gist: He’s a skilled geneticist who gets screwed by his employer, Alchemax (a company we hear about throughout the film) and ends up rewriting his genetic code to save his own life. The process gives him spider-related abilities and he decides to fight crime, especially the corporate crimes of Alchemax. His anti-conglomerate tendencies make him a perfect hero for our present socialist revival.
Miguel’s constant companion is an intelligent hologram named Lyla, short for LYrate Lifeform Approximation [sic]. After the narration box appears, we see Lyla talking to an unseen Miguel about him performing an interdimensional leap. Miguel converses with her, and you may find his voice familiar. That’s because he’s being played by Oscar freaking Isaac.
Miguel goes through a cosmic leap and arrives in a bizarrely two-dimensional world. This is, as it turns out, the Earth of the late-’60s Spider-Man cartoon, best known for its famed theme song (“Spider-Man, Spider-Man / does whatever a spider can,” etc.) and its appearance in an overabundance of memes. The show was one of the earliest attempts to bring Marvel to a non-comics audience, and though it’s mainly known now as an internet joke, the squirrelly visuals and bizarre plots (many of them cooked up by animation renegade Ralph Bakshi) were quite influential. Sure enough, Miguel and the Spidey of this cartoon universe re-create one of the most-used of those pesky memes: Spider-Man pointing at his double. (In the episode in question, a villain dresses up as our hero and attempts to frame him.) Miguel and his cartoony counterpart argue over who started their pointing-fight while J. Jonah Jameson and others look on. We cut to black before any resolution is found.
So what does this mean for the future? Well, we already know a Spider-Verse sequel and spin-off are in the works, so mayhap Oscar will return to voice Miguel in the next universe-crossing outing? Ugh, this voice cast is just too damn attractive to be hidden by animated avatars.