Across the Spider-Verse significantly broadened the universe established by its predecessor. While Into the Spider-Verse primarily centered around Miles Morales' transformation into a wall-crawling hero, the follow-up shifted the spotlight to Hailee Steinfeld's Gwen Stacy and introduced another diverse group of Spider-People.
By placing greater emphasis on Gwen, the film allowed viewers to delve deeper into her thoughts and emotions as she navigated her personal connections and responsibilities as Spider-Woman.
New Captain Stacy Design Retcons Spider-Verse 1
During Gwen Stacy's introduction in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, she saves her dad from being shot. This has technically been retconned in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse due to Captain Stacy having a revamped design for the sequel.
In this case, the retcon is a piece of new information that imposes a different interpretation on previously described events, typically used to facilitate a dramatic plot shift or account for an inconsistency.
This different interpretation could be analyzed in a few ways. During Into the Spider-Verse, the initial version of Stacy could have been what Miles was imagining based on Gwen’s story. This would mean the Across the Spider-Verse rendition is what actually happened.
From a production standpoint, Sony Animation seemingly had more leeway to fully flesh out Gwen's origin story, just as it did with the retelling (and retconning) of Earth-65's Peter Parker.
How Sony Is Re-Imagining Spider-Verse
If it wasn't already clear before, Across the Spider-Verse made it obvious how many Variants of Peter Parker there are throughout the Multiverse.
With that being said, it's easy for audience members to understand that different events happen in different universes, but canon events are what Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O'Hara) is trying to protect (and ensure that they happen).
The variance from universe to universe can spread wide, so watching a retelling of a story fans already saw on Earth-65 isn't a crazy concept to grasp.
Focusing on Gwen's story and her relationship with her father was at the heart of Across the Spider-Verse, but viewers could see another new retelling when an alternate version or two of the character appears in Beyond the Spider-Verse.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is now playing in theaters and has already grossed over $500 million worldwide.