Warning: Spoilers ahead for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse! Don't read if you haven't yet met Miles Morales and all his friends!
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is ready to take fans on a trip through multiple dimensions -- and introduce some interesting characters along the way!
The newest installment in the beloved web-slinger's cinematic canon centers on Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), but due to some trippy venturing through time and space, the young hero meets up with multiple different Spider-Men (and Women, and robots, and...pigs?) from different worlds, leading to one amazing team-up in the name of saving the multiverse.
Along with Moore, Into the Spider-Verse stars Jake Johnson as another dimension's slightly sloppy Peter Parker, Hailee Steinfeld as Spider-Woman Gwen Stacy, Nicolas Cage as Spider-Noir, from the black-and-white 1930s, Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker, a young girl from the future who fights crime with the help of her robot suit, SP//dr, and John Mulaney as Peter Porker, aka Spider-Ham, a wise-cracking animated pig who yes, also happens to be a arachnid-powered superhero.
But that's not the only famous voice fans will recognize in the movie. Chris Pine also stars as the Peter Parker from Miles' universe, who opens the movie as "the one and only Spider-Man," and kicks off his young successor's heroic journey.
“With Chris Pine, we were thinking about, what’s the ideal version of Peter Parker that would be in contrast with the Jake Johnson Peter Parker," producer Chris Miller told ET's Ash Crossan of casting the Wonder Woman star in the role. "And so if you think about a person that's like, handsome, smart, athletic, funny, quippy, talented at everything, that’s Chris Pine."
"He sounds handsome," added Phil Lord, who also wrote the film with Rodney Rothman.
"The guy can do anything and he put his all into it," Miller continued. "He sang Christmas songs for us, with Spider-Man lyrics. He was so up for anything, and he’s so talented, it was really awesome to have him be part of this."
Pine's voice may be easy to pick out, but as the credits reveal, there are even more surprise celebrity cameos, including Oscar Isaac -- in a wildly entertaining post-credits sequence introducing Spider-Man 2099, Miguel O'Hara -- and Post Malone.
“Post Malone gets a pretty big laugh in the movie,” Lord said of the GRAMMY-nominated rapper, who contributed the song "Sunflower" to the Spider-Verse soundtrack and has a cameo as a "Banksy enthusiast" Brooklyn bystander.
There was, of course, one extra special appearance in the film -- the first to be released following the death of Spider-Man creator and Marvel mastermind Stan Lee. Lee, who makes a cameo in almost every Marvel film, appears in a pivotal moment as a shop owner who sells Miles his first Spider-Man suit, assuring him that "it always fits, eventually."
“Because this movie is so much about the logical extension of the thing that Stan created at the very beginning, we knew we wanted to do something special with his cameo, not just have it be something off to the side where you’re like, ‘Oh, there he is!’" Miller recalled of constructing the scene. "We wanted it to be a moment that would really advance the plot and was at the emotional crux of the film. When we came upon the idea… it seemed exactly right that he was passing on the legacy and we were honoring him and all the things that he had done.”
“You feel also that like, Stan is inviting Miles into this legacy, which I think is something that meant a lot to Stan and meant a lot to us,” Lord added.
While Lee wasn't able to see the completed movie before his death, the creative team revealed that they shared "a lot of material" with him when they recorded his cameo. "He was just thrilled with the idea that this thing he made so long ago has reverberated and echoed in so many interesting ways," Lord recalled.
“[The movie] just seems like a great extension of the legacy of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko -- writing a story about a middle-class kid from Queens in the ‘60s is a really radical thing to try," he added. "He’s little, and he doesn’t feel qualified and he thinks some of this is ridiculous -- he was just a regular person. You know, Stan Lee’s legacy is to, like, really democratize this genre and this kind of mythmaking."
The cast was also conscious of the way Spider-Verse paid tribute to Lee's life and legacy. “He knew what this movie was trying to do and how this movie was opening up Spider-Man to whole new generations and whole new people," Johnson explained. "And I think that was his original intent with Spider-Man, that Spider-Man was for everybody. It’s very inclusive. And so I think that was a really great movie to honor him."
“It’s dynamic, it’s wonderful, it’s human, it’s familiar, it’s warm, it’s loving. Miles triumphs, he has to overcome all these obstacles, he doesn’t think he can do it. But [the message is] anyone can wear the mask,” added Lily Tomlin, who plays a version of Peter Parker's Aunt May that's sure to become a fan favorite.
For everyone involved, it seems, the film was a fitting tribute to Lee, and the perfect way to make sure the Marvel cinematic universe continues on in a way that honors his lifelong work.
“There’s no greater feeling that goes through me than when I start a movie and you see those Marvel pages flip, and you hear the Marvel song come on, said Bryan Tyree Henry, who plays Miles' dad, Jefferson Davis. "I literally kind of cry every time it happens, ‘cause it’s just so great, that this universe is coming to life. Now that I’m a part of it, it’s still not really real… It’s unbelievable, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing.”
See more on the cinematic Spider-Verse in the video below.