Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Did Ms. Marvel Just Drop A Deep-Cut Spider-Man Reference?

Contains spoilers for "Ms. Marvel" Season 1, Episode 1

The new Marvel Studios miniseries "Ms. Marvel" introduces another cosmic-level hero to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani). Kamala, a teenage Avengers — particularly Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers (Brie Larson)— super fan, suddenly discovers that she, too, has fascinating cosmic powers after receiving a mysterious bangle from her grandmother. The character appears primed for a significant role in the MCU moving forward; Kamala will join Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Paris) in the "Captain Marvel" sequel, titled "The Marvels," due out in 2023. "Ms. Marvel" is expected to set up Kamala's entry point into the wider MCU, much like how Monica Rambeau gains powers in "WandaVision" to set up her own expanded role. For now, though, Kamala's focus remains on figuring out where her own mysterious powers stem from — and how to control them as well as a fledgling teenage superhero can.

"Ms. Marvel" capitalizes on Kamala's love for all things Avengers by inserting fan art, doodles, and a number of hand-drawn animations featuring MCU characters created by Kamala in the show. The first episode even revolves around Kamala's desire to attend the inaugural AvengerCon, a tribute to Earth's Mightiest Heroes following their final defeat of Thanos (Josh Brolin). As a result, the series includes several different references to the wider Marvel universe — but one reference might blow even the most hard-core of fans' minds away.

Man-Ant doesn't really exist — but Man-Spider sure does

"Ms. Marvel" uses the MCU's Ant-Man, aka Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), as something of a running joke to reference: Kamala states in the premiere's opening sequence that Ant-Man has a podcast, and the episode's title sequence features one of Kamala's clever doodles: a depiction of Ant-Man fighting a more disturbing, inverse version of himself called Man-Ant. Thankfully, Man-Ant does not appear to be a direction Marvel has ever taken, but as Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) points out in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," Marvel has always kept a host of bug-themed superheroes on its roster.

The Man-Ant doodle could be a deep-cut reference to "Spider-Man: The Animated Series," which originally ran on Fox Kids Network in the 1990s. One of the series' plotlines features Peter Parker's continually evolving DNA even after he initially gets his powers; in Season 2, Peter desperately searches for a cure and temporarily mutates into a man-spider hybrid that is more creature than man. While Spider-Man never gets to fight Man-Spider, he does meet a version of Vulture who also mutates into Man-Spider during the same season. MCU fans looking to catch up with Man-Spider or relive some childhood memories can find "Spider-Man: The Animated Series" on Disney+.