If the upcoming animated feature Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse plans to feature 240 different Spider people, as is being reported, then basically any variation of the Spider-Man character likely will appear on screen in the movie. The first trailer for the film certainly showed off dozens of recognizable Spider-Man iterations (some of them even being pulled from the best Spider-Man movies ever made), from the Spider-Man costumes that video game users get to sample in the Sony Playstation game to a personal favorite of mine, Peter Parker with a paper bag on his head. It’s a long story. But now there’s a new poster for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and standing front and center next to Miles Morales, Gwen and the new main characters we already were expecting, we see Ben Reilly, aka The Scarlet Spider, and that got us thinking about clones.
First off, here’s the GORGEOUS new poster, from Sony Pictures Animation.
On the far left side of the poster, next to Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac) and Jessica Drew (Issa Rae) is Ben Reilly, also known as The Scarlet Spider. Reilly’s name has been included in a couple of rundowns from sites speculating on Spider-Man: Across the Universe cast outside of those already confirmed. But it’s Ben’s placement on the poster that has us thinking he might be more of a significant character in the upcoming sequel than was thought.
Ben Reilly is an important character in contemporary Spider-Man lore. One of the most significant storylines to affect the wallcrawler in recent years was The Clone Saga, when he appeared as a clone to Peter Parker… and created significant confusion as to whether he was the real Peter, or an actual clone. As one might imagine, this caused havoc on the already self-doubting Peter Parker, and was a complicated plot thread on which fans loved to pull.
In the books, Ben Reilly couldn’t become Spider-Man. But he also couldn’t stop fighting crime. So he adopted a new moniker, The Scarlet Spider, and wore a costume that became extremely popular with Spider-Man fans.
Posters aren’t designed by accident. Sony wants to place extra attention on the characters joining Miles Morales for his sequel, including Spider-Man 2099 (Isaac), Spider-Woman (Rae), Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) and, apparently, Ben Reilly. There’s no voice actor associated with Ben Reilly at the moment, although Polygon wrote earlier this week that Reilly would be a clone of Jake Johnson’s Peter B. Parker, which makes sense, and adds a new level of difficulty to what that beloved Spider-Man might have faced when he went back to his universe at the end of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
The Multiverse is going to be daunting enough to tackle. If the team behind Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is going to be the first on-screen Spider-Man movie to tackle the Clone Saga, then we are in for an extremely special ride once this movie arrives on June 2. Bookmark our upcoming 2023 movies guide to find out what else is coming to multiplexes in the pending months.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.