Wait, Did the Into Spider-Verse Sequel Just Tease the Weirdest Spider-Man?

The newly revealed announcement video for the sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is only 10 seconds of a glitching spider symbol combined with its 2022 release date. Those glitches, however, are already fueling speculation about which potential new Spider-heroes might appear. And one those bugs seems to point to perhaps the most-requested character: the 1978 Japanese TV Spider-Man.

There have been a few Japanese versions of Spider-Man, including Yu Komori from the 1970 Spider-Man: The Manga, and Sho Amano in the 2004 manga Spider-Man J (and of course there's Peni Parker, who's an American creation, but anime-inspired). When people talk about "Japanese Spider-Man," however, they're probably meaning the legendarily strange tokusatsu series.

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The tokusatsu Spider-Man series came about because of a licensing deal between Toei and Marvel that allowed the two companies to do whatever they wanted with each other's properties. Toei took advantage of those extremely loose conditions to create a Spider-Man that was practically unrecognizable. Instead of being bitten by a spider, 22-year-old motorcyclist Takuya Yamashiro gains his powers from an alien blood transfusion, and fights the evil aliens of the Iron Cross Army, who killed his father. His costume is contained in his bracelet, and his spaceship Marveller transforms into the giant robot Leopardon.

One of the most striking things about the Academy Award-winning Into the Spider-Verse was how it was able to take many of the silliest, most outre elements of Spider-Man mythology and make them emotionally resonant. It sold serious lines about sacrifice and heroism from the mouth of Spider-Ham! It would seem the natural progression of this approach would be to find such a powerful treatment for this particular cult-favorite Spider-Man,who least resembles the traditional image of "Spider-Man." Takuya Yamashiro and Leopardon have already appeared in the Spider-Verse and Spider-Geddon comics events, so there's precedent for them crossing over with other Spider-heroes.

Co-writer/producer Phil Lord had previously promised that the 1978 Japanese TV Spider-Man would make an appearance in the Spider-Verse sequel if the first movie reached $200 million at the domestic box office. Its final box office tally of $190,241,310 came just a little short of that milestone. Perhaps winning the Best Animated Feature Oscar and having the fifth-bestselling Blu-ray of 2019 thus far made up the difference, as it looks like we're getting giant robot pilot Spider-Man in the next movie.

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 available on Digital HD, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD.

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