Different versions of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse were sent to different theaters.
The whole concept behind Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is that there are an infinite number of Spider-Man variants floating around the multiverse. Now, the folks behind the movie have confirmed that the same goes for Across the Spider-Verse itself! Twitter account Culture Crave broke the story earlier today that there are multiple versions of Across the Spider-Verse playing in different theaters as we speak.
A follow-up tweet by Twitter user chisei demonstrates one of the differences by showing two versions of a scene from Across the Spider-Verse where Spider-Man 2099 is asking a holographic associate to call for backup, side by side. At the end of the five-second clip on the left, the hologram squats and points at 2099 in a “Ha! Gotcha!” fashion. In the clip on the right side, she holds up a picture of him with bunny ears.
Culture Crave put a list of differences viewers have spotted so far in a separate post. One example is the scene where the Spot is about to stick his finger in a mini collider. The villain either says, “Which would not be good,” or “Oh, what the heck,” depending on the version playing at the theater. Another example is the introduction of fan-favorite character Hobie Brown AKA Spider-Punk.
In one version of Across the Spider-Verse, Hobie’s introduction includes the text “Hobie” appearing above the character’s head. In an alternate version, the text is missing. The complete list can be viewed below.
It’s not uncommon for filmmakers to shoot (or, in this case, animate) different versions of the same scene as a way of trying out different dialogue options or different angles. What is uncommon is releasing these different versions to theaters without saying anything and waiting for fans to figure out what’s happening. Most films have a single “theatrical cut,” leaving any variant edits for home video or streaming.
With Across the Spider-Verse, however, it looks like there is no one definitive version of the movie but several parallel versions, all co-existing side by side….kind of like the different Spider-Man variants in the film. It’s a meta move by the Spider-Verse creators and an ingenious gimmick to ensure viewers attend—and subsequently pay for—multiple showings. The question is, just how many versions of the movie are out there?
It’s one thing if the editors come out and say, “We released two different versions of Across the Spider-Verse.” Letting the fans figure it out is a whole different beast altogether. Given the power of suggestion coupled with the fragility of the human memory, well, we may never know how many different Spider-Verses there are.
We live in a world where people can’t agree on the name of a children’s book featuring anthropomorphic bears—for the record, it was totally Beren-steen bears when we were kids—and they argue over whether Sinbad played a genie in a forgotten ’90s movie or not.
All it takes is one Redditor to say, “I saw a version of Across the Spider-Verse where Miles Morales is eating a hotdog covered in mayonnaise at the beginning,” and soon there are 100 responses saying, “I saw the mayo hotdog scene too!” Next thing you know, #releasethehotdogcut is trending on Twitter, and we’re all doomed.
Hopefully, the same editors that confirmed the existence of multiple Across the Spider-Verse variants come out and say definitively just how many versions are out there. Otherwise, we’re in for a multiverse of fan theories and conspiracies while the film remains in theaters.