Spaceman Movie's Spider Explained: The True Meaning of the Character Revealed

By Lauren Rouse Posted:
Spaceman Spider

Adam Sandler's new Netflix sci-fi movie Spaceman features a cryptic character in the form of the alien spider.

The creature, voiced by Paul Dano, serves as one of the main characters in the film opposite Sandler's astronaut, Jakub. But given the ethereal psychological tone of Spaceman, the spider has a greater meaning to the story that's worth unpacking. 

Who is Hanus, the Spider in Spaceman?

spaceman spider

Netflix's Spaceman is based on the book Spaceman in Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař and follows the fictional story of Jakub Procházka, the first independent Czech cosmonaut. Jakub (Adam Sandler) is sent on an eight-month-long solo mission to investigate and retrieve samples of an irregular space cloud that has appeared above Earth, which is dubbed "Chopra". 

Picking up six months into the mission, Jakub is depressed and lonely after his wife, Lenka (Carey Mulligan), stops answering his calls. This is when Paul Dano's giant arachnid makes an appearance.

The otherwordly spider says it is there to gather research on humans, having fled its home after the parasitic Gorompeds annihilated its species. 

After initially fearing the spider, eventually, Jakub forms a bond with his new companion, naming it Hanuš. 

Spaceman Spider

Hanuš can communicate with Jakub telepathically and has powers that allow it to probe his thoughts and memories. For the duration of the film, Hanuš essentially acts as Jakub's conscience and a mentor who helps the astronaut deal with his inner troubles.

By revisiting key memories from his life, Hanuš helps Jakub see that he can no longer continue his selfish ways if he wants to save his relationship with Lenka. 

As for Hanuš' fate, the ending of Spaceman sees the spider eject itself into the Chopra cloud, succumbing to the Gorompeds it has been infected with and dissolving into space.  

Spider Symbolism Explained

Spaceman Spider

The fact that Spaceman chooses to use a spider as its alien creature of choice is quite symbolic for the story. 

In dream theory (via Psych Central), spiders can represent regressive attitudes and behaviors that are keeping one from realizing their full potential - something that is particularly prevalent in Jakub's story as he learns his selfish attitudes are holding him back.

A spider's ability to weave webs has also been often associated with the interconnectedness of life. This is something else Spaceman illustrates with the Chopra cloud which is described as being the beginning and end of everything in the universe. 

Is Hanus Real?

Spaceman Hanus Spider

One of the major questions throughout Spaceman is whether Hanuš is real or just a figment of Jakub's imagination. 

Jakub initially questions the reality of a giant spider appearing on his spaceship, but Hanuš assures the astronaut "I am as real as you are." 

This in itself is questionable given Jakub's psychological state after six months of solitary space travel. It seems entirely plausible that Sandler's character conjured an imaginary alien friend due to his deep loneliness. 

There's also the fact that Jakub is often depicted as dreaming and waking throughout the film. 

Before Hanuš is officially introduced, Jakub has a nightmare showing a spider crawling under his skin and out of his mouth. This could be interpreted as Hanuš being birthed from Jakub's subconscious. 

Spaceman Adam Sandler

Something else worth considering is that Jakub is the only one to acknowledge Hanuš existence throughout Spaceman. The spider manages to avoid all detection on the cameras and sensors throughout the ship and Jakub's attempts to kill the arachnid with a decontaminate bomb fail, insinuating maybe there was nothing to purge in the first place. 

There is more evidence in the novel that Hanuš is real, as Jakub is rescued by some fellow astronauts, one of whom has also had an interaction with the alien spider. However, this is not included in the film adaptation.

Perhaps the most interesting answer on Hanuš reality comes from Spaceman's director Johan Renck, who told Radio Times in an interview that "any art lies in the eye of the beholder."

"That's why we make it and I think, you know, it's always the beauty of guiding how much impressionism you're allowing for...your own experiences will guide how you take in the film, basically."

This questioning of reality around Hanuš seems to be the exact response that Spaceman is going for. So when it comes to determining whether the spider is real or not, it's really up to the viewer to decide. 

Spaceman is now streaming on Netflix.

- In This Article: Spaceman
Release Date
March 01, 2024
Adam Sandler
Carey Mulligan
- About The Author: Lauren Rouse
Lauren Rouse has been a writer at The Direct since the site launched in 2020. She has a huge passion for everything pop culture and currently writes news articles for the Marvel, Star Wars, DC and video game branches.