Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse changed the visual language of superhero movies, with a 2D comic-like animation. It also bridged the gap between multiple iterations of Spider-Man (Spider-Men?) we've seen in the comics, each from their own distinct universe. However, an intriguing new theory suggests that a key element of Miles Morales's story doesn't originate from any of these universes, it may come from our own world.
Each Spider-Man in Spider-Verse seems to be the only Spider-Man hero in their world, except for Miles, whose universe included the late Peter Parker. How could he have been bitten by a radioactive spider, if only one of those spiders exists in each dimension? The answer is obvious: That radioactive spider came from another universe, but which one?
Thankfully, the spider in question is clearly labeled "42," presumably for "Universe 42." But what is Universe 42? Reddit user SchneiderWebb proposes a deceptively simple answer: it's our own reality.
Consider the implications: If the multiverse exists, then it likely includes our own universe as well. And if every single other universe had a radioactive spider and therefore a Spider-Man. Why doesn't ours?
It's easily explained: the eight-legged troublemaker that was supposed to bite our universe's iteration of Spider-Man traveled through the multiverse and bit Miles Morales instead.
Of course, the fact the spider came from Universe 42 is no accident. 42 pops up multiple times throughout the movie, and the Easter egg serves two purposes. The creator revealed the number stands for both the jersey number of boundary-breaking baseball player Jackie Robinson, and the famed answer to "life, the universe, and everything in it" from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
If Miles Morales was bitten by our universe's radioactive spider, it means we can relate even more to him: he's "our" Spider-Man. In a way, that's true regardless. Of all the Spider-Man iterations we see in the film, he's the one who looks most like the audience watching him: a regular human kid, just trying to get through school while figuring out how exactly to cope with new powers.
Regardless of whether the theory is or isn't canon, it's comforting to think our universe was supposed to have a human-spider superhero protecting New York from crime. Unfortunately, he just wasn't able to be bitten due to a clerical error with the multiverse. And with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 on the horizon, there's a chance we might see this theory confirmed on the big screen.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 comes to theaters in 2022.