Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse producer Phil Lord has teased the prospect of the "Japanese Spider-Man" (star of the cult-favorite television series Supaidāman) appearing in a sequel to the film on not one, but two occasions. However, it turns out Into the Spider-Verse already had a subtle nod to that incarnation of the character.
Nick Kondo, and animator on Into the Spider-Verse, posted a video to Twitter where he calls attention to one of the film's early scenes, in which Miles Morales is rushing to get ready for school. When Miles picks up his sketchbook, a curious drawing of a mech can be seen on his drafting table.
Konda followed up this clip with one from the aforementioned Supaidāman, confirming that the robotic figure Miles drew was, in fact, Leopardon, the sword-wielding mech piloted by Japanese Spider-Man.
Supaidāman originally began airing in 1978 as part of a licensing deal between Marvel Comics and the Toei Company. In total, 41 episodes of the tokusatsu series aired on television and a film was released theatrically in Japan.
The series followed the character of Takuya Yamashiro, a motorcycle racer who donned the classic red-and-blue costume after and alien named Garia gifted him spider powers, as well as a spaceship that could transform into the robot Leopardon.
The show then gained new life more recently, as extravagant clips of Leopardon and a machine gun-wielding Spider-Man, began making the rounds online. Given Kondo's work and Lord's comments, this resurgence has clearly not gone unnoticed by those behind Sony Pictures Animation's newly-minted Spider-Verse.
Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse stars Shameik Moore, Brian Tyree Henry, Jake Johnson, Mahershala Ali, Hailee Steinfeld, Liev Schreiber, Luna Lauren Velez, Lily Tomlin, Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney and Kimiko Glenn. The film is in theaters now.