(Editor’s Note: The following post contains spoilers for both “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” and its post-credits, well, kind of scenes.)
At this point in our collective superhero movie lives, going through reams of post-film credits has become second nature (worth noting: they’re also just good manners, a mark of respect for the hundreds and thousands of people who have made a movie, but that’s a debate for another time). The movie is not Truly until we have one, two, three, four, maybe even five snappy little additions and winking nods to what’s to come next in the grand old maelstrom of blockbuster franchises. (Heck, even the latest “Guardians of the Galaxy” feature took two!)
But what if — and stay with me here — a highly anticipated, already lauded, distinctly original superhero film does away with that ingrained expectation? To put it more bluntly: Don’t bother sticking around for the post-credits scenes in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” because there aren’t any.
(Another caveat: The following post contains spoilers for both “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” and its post-credits, well, kind of scenes.)
No, there are no post-credits scenes in the film, a break with recent tradition not only of this particular genre, but also of this mini-franchise (the first film included two post-credits scenes, one paying homage to both Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and one that introduced Miguel O’Hara (AKA Spider-Man 2099) as the voice of Oscar Isaac, who indeed has a major role in the second film). This time, no such luck.
And yet, the credits of “Across the Spider-Verse” still provide some much-needed context for the future of our Miles Morales, especially thanks to a single line that tells us “Miles Morales will return in ‘Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse .’” It’s the kind of footnote we’re used to seeing at the end of most superhero stories, a pretty obvious way to remind people, hey, these adventures certainly aren’t over yet!but it’s of particular significance to “Across the Spider-Verse,” which ends on a hellish cliffhanger and plenty of loose ends.
One of the loosest of all? That “Across the Spider-Verse” is pretty much half of a planned two-film series. As I wrote in my review of the film, “The decision to split the sequel into two films seems to have escaped many fans. (Phil) Lord and (Chris) Miller announced the two-part sequel, complete with title additions ‘Part One’ and ‘Part Two’, in December 2021. As of April 2022, the two films have been retitled ‘Across the Spider – Verse’ and ‘Beyond the Spider-Verse’, a move that seems to have caused most of the confusion. Even in this critic’s well-attended screening, the ending reveals that this story isVerymuch unfinished was met with nodded heads.
For once, that message of “he’ll be back” felt really necessary (and welcome!).
As IndieWire’s Bill Desowitz noted in his interviews with directors Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson, “Producers and directors quickly realized there was too much story to fit into one film, so the they divided into two parts. and formed a trilogy. But the element they worked the hardest on was how to tell a complete story with a proper arc for the center section in the tradition of “The Empire Strikes Back.”
“What questions will we leave unanswered?” Do Santos said. “In my personal experience, whenever there’s a trilogy, I tend to love in-between movies because you can be a little darker and you can push things a lot more narratively.”
For Spidey fans, that means this adventure isn’t over yet and will conclude with the release of ‘Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse’ on March 29, 2024. Maybe that movie will return in the world of the after-scene of the credits? Who cares, really, as long as they keep making entire movies that good.
A version of Sony Pictures Animation,“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is now in theaters.