Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the long-awaited sequel to 2018’s Oscar-winning animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, is finally here. The next chapter in Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy’s multi-dimensional misadventure is packed to the brim with Spider-Man variants from across the character’s rich and storied history, from Miguel O’Hara (aka Spider-Man 2099, voiced by Oscar Isaac) to Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman, voiced by Issa Rae) and more.
In one of the film’s biggest curveballs, it leaps on a trend started by Spider-Man: No Way Home, by including cameos from several live-action Spider-Man characters — but one of them seems utterly bizarre unless you’ve actually seen the movie it’s from.
[Ed. note: The rest of this post contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.]
Across the Spider-Verse has a cameo featuring a character from 2018’s Venom and 2021’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage, just not the one you’d think. No, neither Eddie Brock or Venom popped their heads in to say hi during the film, but their favorite local bodega owner, Mrs. Chen (played by Peggy Lu), did.
Who is Mrs. Chen?
During the scene in which the Spot (Jason Schwartzman) discovers that he can move between universes at will, he pops his head, Looney Tunes-style, into a plethora of different Spider-Man settings. And one of those settings is Mrs. Chen’s bodega in all its live-action... glory?
For those who haven’t seen either Venom or Venom: Let There Be Carnage, here’s the short and sweet explanation. Mrs. Chen is the owner of a convenience store located in the Chinatown district of San Francisco. In Venom, Eddie and Venom rescued her from a gunman attempting to extort her for protection money, after which she became a friend and ally to the duo. Mrs. Chen appears again in Venom: Let There Be Carnage — this time, the Venom symbiote temporarily used her as a host after falling out with Eddie Brock. Persuaded by Eddie’s ex-fiancée Anne (Michelle Williams), Venom eventually left Mrs. Chen’s body to return to Eddie and help him fight against Carnage.
It doesn’t exactly fit the definition of “deep cut,” but for those audiences who have never watched Sony’s slate of Spider-Man-related offshoots, like Venom or Morbius, it’ll probably go over your head. Will Eddie Brock and Venom actually make an appearance at some point in Miles’ adventures? We’ll have to wait for Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse to hit theaters on March 29, 2024, to find out.