What are Canon Events? Explaining Across the Spider-Verse’s meta story reveal

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
(Image credit: Sony)

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse introduced a legion of Spider-People and various worlds, but it’s one story beat that carries the most importance – and could have major ramifications in the sequel.

What are Canon Events?

Gwen Stacy and Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

(Image credit: Sony)

As Spider-Man 2099 explains to Miles, a 'Canon Event' is a moment or action that must happen to certain Spider-Men – otherwise their universe risks being destroyed.

In the case of some, like Miles and Spider-Gwen, that moment involves their police officer dads becoming Captain and sacrificing themselves to save a child during a rampage from Spider-Man’s nemesis.

Other Canon Events that we’ve glimpsed so far include the death of Uncle Ben (Peter B. Parker, Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man, and countless others as seen in Across the Spider-Verse), as well as being bitten by a radioactive spider. 

Each moment – while they may not be exactly the same – essentially binds the Spider-Verse together and ends up 'creating' or improving that universe’s Spider-Man in some way. It’s also a meta nod to how Spider-Man’s origins have been remixed or reworked over the years, but usually still keep the core details intact.

While we’ve seen that just changing one may not be enough to unravel entire universes, disrupting or interrupting too many Canon Events can have dire consequences. For Miguel, the act of replacing another universe’s Spider-Man 2099 entirely eventually lead to that Earth being wiped out. But on Pavitr’s Earth-50101 in Mumbattan, saving Captain Singh didn’t lead to the destruction of that universe. Despite Spider-Man 2099’s protestations, there does seem to be some multiversal wiggle room.

That, then, leads us neatly into Beyond the Spider-Verse. The 2024 sequel will likely revolve around the fate of Miles's father, Captain Morales. Given that he’s just accepted his promotion, his fate is seemingly sealed (in "two days", according to Miguel).

Spider-Gwen, though, could offer another way out. Her identity reveal and speech to her dad subsequently made him quit the force – essentially canceling the Canon Event. Whether her universe is safe remains to be seen – and could be another heartbreaking plot twist – but there now seems to be a way for Miles to save one person and save everyone. After all, that’s what Spider-Man does.

For more from Across the Spider-Verse, swing into our explainers on the Across the Spider-Verse ending and whether there's an Across the Spider-Verse post-credits scene. Then thwip on over to our list of Across the Spider-Verse Easter eggs.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.