Last month, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) proved just how much there was to mine out of the Spider-Man franchise yet untouched by Marvel or Sony. It was a testament not just to any one version of the character, but the base concept of a Spider-Man in the first place: a hero motivated by guilt, who’s just good enough of a person to be crushed under the weight of the realization that he’s not a better one.
But as far as I and many other Spidey-fans are concerned, the good work isn’t over yet. They might have gotten most of the best Spiders out there assembled for this animated team-up – Miles, Gwen, Peter, Noir, Ham and Peni – but there are so many other great characters to choose from in the wider Spider-verse. And for the inevitable Into the Spider-Verse 2, these are the A-listers that they should be bringing into the fold.
5. Pavitr Prabhakar (Spider-Man India)
Pavitr, aka Spider-Man India, is another great comic book Spider-Man that most people simply won’t be familiar with. Like Miles and Peni, Pavitr would add a much-needed splash of color to the ordinarily monochrome parade of off-white Peters, but he has so much more to offer than just a refreshing change in aesthetic. Unlike the super-science-filled New York of the Marvel universes, Pavitr’s native India is a land of mystical foes: combining magic with its Urban setting to create a slew of stories simply not possible anywhere else.
This is also not to mention his prominent role in the Web Warriors series, in which a group of disparate Spiders teamed-up on a more permanent basis than in Spider-Verse. While on that team, Pavitr was the unrivaled technical guru and geek extraordinaire: mostly playing the straight-man to the rest of the teams off-beat antics. On the big screen, he could act in all these capacities: progenitor of zany magical antics and the sobering link that keeps the team grounded in something almost resembling the real-world.
4. Otto Octavius (Superior Spider-Man)
I can understand why fans were largely opposed to this version of the character. After all, this wasn’t their Peter, not really. When Doc Oc took over Peter’s body, it felt like a short-sighted publicity stunt to get people talking about the character again that would revert to normal in a few issues. When that not only proved to not be the case, and the long-time Spider-Man villain decided that he could do a better job than some nobody kid from Queens, he kept the gig going for a full 100 issues.
A vocal segment of Spidey fans might not have liked the Superior Spider-Man, but I absolutely loved him. In fact, he remains one of my favorite versions of the character. He’s arrogant and crass and self-absorbed and, wouldn’t you know it, massively entertaining. Superior is a phenomenal springboard for interesting character interactions, team conflict and, when all is said and done, getting the job well and truly taken care of.
3. Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099)
This was already teased at the end of Into the Spider-Verse, so you can rest assured that he’s coming in a more substantive way down the pipeline. The original bi-racial Spider-Man, the half-hispanic cyberpunk Spider-Man from the year 2099 is essentially the Marvel branded equivalent of Batman Beyond. He’s cool, he’s different and he’s a fascinating take on the old standby Peter Parker.
What’s more, Miguel is worthy of Mjolinir: Thor’s magical hammer that, by rights, can only be lifted by those worthy of its power. At the end of the Spider-Man 2099 comic, he would settle disputes with his team by slamming it down on the floor and letting anybody who thought they were worthy to take his place try to lift up the hammer. Now that’s the kind of energy I want to see in a big screen sequel!
2. May Parker (Spider-Girl)
While perhaps not the most interesting character in of herself, May ‘Mayday’ Parker is perhaps the best fleshed-out version outside of Miguel himself. This second generation Spider – the daughter of a retired Peter Parker and wife Mary Jane Watson – is fertile ground for future movies.
Given that one of the big character-centered B-plots of Into the Spider-Verse was the shlubby, Raimi-inspired Peter Parker getting back together with Mary Jane after he had previously not wanted to have kids with her, May is the perfect wrinkle to throw into that happy ending. Peter thinks he’s ready, but now has to team up with a grown-ish version of his daughter, likely triggering some endearing (not to mention hilarious) paternal over-protection on his part and even bringing into question whether he can really go through with fatherhood in general. Simply set it during his Mary Jane’s pregnancy, introduce her when the would-be Web Warriors need to team up again and presto: instant subplot!
1. Peter Parker (The MCU)
I mean, really, this had to be number one, right? The paninfinite possibilities of the Marvel multiverse are at their fingertips, and as the live-action torch-bearer of the franchise, this is the ultimate team-up possibility: a canon crossover between the Sony Spider-Verse and the MCU, with Tom Holland reprising his Peter Parker role via voiceover (and perhaps with a couple Avengers in tow).
After all, this Peter and Miguel are roughly the same age. They’ve seemingly been Spider-Man for about as long and both are suffering from some serious role-model issues (either in the form of older Peter Parkers or genius billionaire playboy philanthropist Iron Man) and look like they would play off each other phenomenally well. Given the sticky rights issues with the two franchises, it’s unlikely to ever happen (barring, of course, another Disney buyout), but a man can dream, can’t he?