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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 release date, cast and plot

When Sony first announced Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the first animated entry into the big-screen Spidey canon, most fans probably didn't anticipate an Oscar win. 

It's safe to say, though, that pretty much everyone's expectations were exceeded by the feature from writer Phil Lord and directors Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, and Bob Persichetti. The movie centered on young Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), first introduced in the pages of Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man, telling a modified version of his comics origin story: after original Spider-Man Peter Parker is killed, Morales must find a way to own his newfound powers, and save his city amid an interdimensional catastrophe instigated by the notorious crime boss Wilson Fisk, AKA Kingpin.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse brought together five other interations of Spider-Man from alternate realities to help Miles save the day, including Spider-Woman Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage), and of course, Spider-Ham (John Mulaney). The flick earned more than $375.5 million at the worldwide box office and scored the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and its singularly unique, comics-inspired animation style — along with its expansive and inclusive take on Spidey lore — had fans hungry for more. 

Into the Spider-Verse 2 looks to serve not only as a continuation of Miles' story and a further exploration of his budding relationship with Gwen, but also as a launching pad for what may become a full-on animated Spidey cinematic universe. The film will release in 2022, the year that will mark ol' web-head's 60th anniversary — meaning that Sony and Marvel could have some pretty big things planned for Miles' big screen return.

Here's everything we know so far about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2.

What is Into the Spider-Verse 2's release date?

The strong, well-developed visual sense of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a big part of the movie's success, and the sequel is certain to follow suit. Of course, creating a never-before-seen animation style packed to the gills with tiny details was no small feat; it took an incredible four years to bring the web-slinging, Oscar-winning hit to the big screen, and there will be nearly as long a wait for the second installment. 

It'll only be nearly as long thanks to the fact that Sony apparently knew it had a hit on its hands with the first film; Into the Spider-Verse 2 was greenlit a couple weeks before the first film was even released, so the sequel will have a slightly shorter road to theaters than its predecessor. It's currently slated to hit theaters on April 8, 2022.

That's still a pretty long wait, but fans can take solace in the fact that the sequel is not the only Spider-Verse flick in development. An all-female spin-off movie centered on Gwen Stacy is also in the works, to be written by Bek Smith (who worked on the CBS drama serial Zoo). In a 2018 interview with Vanity Fair, Spider-Verse producer and longtime cinematic Spidey shepherd Amy Pascal confirmed at least two characters who are set to appear in that flick: Jessica Drew (the classic Spider-Woman, who made her Marvel comics debut in 1977) and Cindy Moon (the Korean hero known as Silk, who first appeared in 2014). The spin-off doesn't yet have a release date.

Who is the Spider-Verse sequel's director?

If you're not deeply invested in the world of animation, you might not recognize his name — but Joaquim Dos Santos is a veteran of the medium whose work is well-known among fans of a certain stripe. His credits include popular animated series like Dreamworks' Voltron: Legendary Defender and Nickelodeon's The Legend of Korra, and he'll be making his feature directorial debut with the Spider-Verse sequel. 

Dos Santos' involvement was confirmed in November 2018, at the time the sequel was announced. Known for his dynamic and elaborate visual style, particularly in the staging of action and fight sequences, Dos Santos got his start in the '00s as a storyboard artist on shows like Max Steel, Heavy Gear: The Animated Series, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Teen Titans. His big directing break came in 2004, when he oversaw numerous episodes of Justice League before going on to direct eight episodes — including the visually stunning conclusion — of the critically acclaimed Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender

On both The Legend of Korra and Voltron: Legendary Defender, Dos Santos wore multiple hats — including director, writer, character designer, storyboard artist, and producer. His proven ability to conceive and execute a strong artistic vision bodes well for Into the Spider-Verse 2; we'd go so far as to say that with his guiding hand, the sequel could potentially push the boundaries of animation in even more dynamic fashion than its predecessor.

Who is the writer for Into the Spider-Verse 2?

While Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse writer and producer Christopher Miller is still involved in the sequel in the latter role, the writing mantle has been passed for the second go-round. The red-hot Dave Callaham will be penning the second foray into the Spider-Verse, although one must wonder how the heck he'll find the time with all of the high-profile projects that have recently dropped in his lap. 

The Chinese-American scribe's previous work includes 2014's Godzilla and Zombieland: Double Tap, and he's also contributed to star Sylvester Stallone's high-octane Expendables franchiseCallaham is quickly becoming a go-to writer for comic book films of all types; in addition to Into the Spider-Verse 2, he co-wrote the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 along with director Patty Jenkins and comics legend Geoff Johns, and he's also set to write the screenplay for Marvel's first Asian American-led superhero flick, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

​What's the plot of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2?​​

Sony has remained mostly tight-lipped about the plot of its latest animated Spider-outing, making it difficult to know what may be in store for Miles Morales and friends. We do, however, have a few tidbits of information. 

In her Vanity Fair interview, Pascal hinted that at least a portion of the sequel's story will focus on the budding romance between Morales and Stacy. Pascal related that a version of this storyline was included in writer Peter Lord's original draft for Into the Spider-Verse, and though it didn't make the movie's final cut, it will be given center stage in the follow-up.

Thanks to the ending of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, we can also hazard a guess or two as to what fans might be in for, as that flick left a number of narrative threads hanging. Chief among these was the jailing of Kingpin after Morales hands the crime boss over to authorities; if we know anything about the iconic Marvel villain, and we think we do, prison bars won't be able to hold him for long. 

There was also a potential tease of things to come in the original film's final moment, after Miles said goodbye to all of his fellow web-slingers as they returned to their respective realities. In a colorfully wonky tease wherein some kind of interdimensional warp was seen above Miles' head and Stacy's voice was heard, it was revealed that there may be a way for them to return to each other's worlds, or perhaps simply to communicate with each other across time and space. This was reinforced by the flick's mid-credits stinger, which suggested further incursions into other dimensions by Miguel O'Hara, also known as Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac). 

O'Hara is a child prodigy and geneticist who becomes a web-slinger more or less on accident, after merging his DNA with that of a spider. In his brief cameo in the stinger, we saw him monitoring the interdimensional crisis before jumping into the portal himself. Of course, there's always the possibility that the character's appearance could be a one-off — but given that O'Hara is an awesome character, and that the producers of Spider-Verse saw fit to secure the services of Isaac for his cameo, we find it to be unlikely.

Who's in the Spider-Verse 2 cast?

In addition to those previously mentioned, Into the Spider-Verse also featured New Girl's Jake Johnson as Peter B. Parker (an older, paunchy version of the wall-crawler from an alternate universe) and Orange is the New Black's Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker, a Mangaverse Spider-hero who communicates telepathically with her father's mech, SP//dr. Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) appeared as Fisk, while Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (Luke Cage) voiced secondary antagonist (and Miles' uncle) Aaron Davis, AKA the Prowler; while he ended up quite dead at Fisk's hands, the door is open for the rest of these stars to return, although nothing has been confirmed.

At the very least, Moore and Steinfeld are expected to reprise their roles. The brief but welcome appearance of Isaac's Spider-Man 2099 may also mean that the Star Wars actor is among the handful of Spider-folk the sequel could bring into the fold, but this has likewise not been confirmed. A safer bet? Miles' family, including Luna Lauren Velez, who voices Miles' mom Rio, and Joker star Brian Tyree Henry, who voiced Miles' dad Jefferson. 

As far as the first flick's villains go, Prowler may be out, but it stands to reason that Schreiber's Kingpin could be in for a return engagement — and Olivia Octavius (Kathryn Hahn), the gender-swapped, cunningly dangerous Doc Ock, also seems like a safe bet to appear. For that matter, one of the first flick's deleted scenes saw Octavius jumping into the collider she created alongside Kingpin, leaving her fate and future open — and in a recent conversation with Total Film magazine, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse co-director Rodney Rothman all but confirmed this, saying, "We definitely think of Liv as someone who is not gone from the story, and who in many ways, is our most powerful bad guy." (via Goliath)

Which spider-heroes are confirmed for the sequel?

Again, with so few plot and character details having been made public, it's hard to confidently gauge which characters audiences can expect to see in Dos Santos and Miller's Spider-Verse entry. But thanks to the film's release date announcement video, there's quite a few additions we can speculate about. 

The teaser not only flashed the follow-up film's release date, but flipped and glitched through a number of Spider-Man logos. Fans have speculated that the various logos' designs were reminiscent of the color schemes of established characters such Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, and Spider-Man 2099 — but also to a few yet-to-be-seen ones, including the Spider-Man of the animated series from the '90s, Silk, Carnage, Jessica Drew, and Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider. 

One logo in particular had fans particularly excited. Its harder-edged, red and yellow design reminded them quite a bit of the Japanese Spider-Man, otherwise known as Takuya Yamashiro, who was the product of a licensing deal between Marvel and the Japanese production house Toei in the '70s. Unlike some of his fellow Spider-folk, Yamashiro became a masked hero after receiving an alien blood transfusion. Instead of taking down New York's biggest criminals, Japanese Spider-Man spends his time fighting in space against the aliens who murdered his father using his spaceship, which can transform into a giant robot called Leopardon. 

The appearance of Yamashiro was officially confirmed with a tweet from Lord. Responding to a fan's offer to design the hero's look for the Spider-Verse sequel, the producer simply replied, "He's designed!" 

While we simply can't wait to see Supaidaman and Leopardon on the big screen, we're just going to have to wait to see what other alternate Spideys will enter the fray. Of course, we'll be keeping an eye out for any and all details about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2, and we'll keep you up to speed.

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