How Will Andy Samberg Play as “Spider-Man’s Perfect Foil” in ‘Across the Spider-Verse?’

in Entertainment, Marvel

ben reilly scarlet spider spider-man clone marvel comics across the spider-verse andy samberg announced to play

Credit: Marvel/ITM

A week away from its worldwide premiere, the year’s most highly-anticipated sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has just announced yet another big name as part of the cast – as if it weren’t already star studded enough.

As if that weren’t enough, along with the announcement, we also get confirmation of another Spider-Man joining the pack. We now know that Peter Parker clone Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider, will appear in Across the Spider-Verse, and he’ll be played by Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Andy Samberg.

Who is Ben Reilly?

ben reilly scarlet spider spider-man clone marvel comics across the spider-verse
Credit: Marvel

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In the comics, Ben Reilly is described as a character created to be “Spider-Man’s perfect foil.”

When Gwen Stacy – high school girlfriend of Peter Parker – dies in a fight between him and Norman Osborn, one of her teachers doesn’t take it too well. Having experimented with cloning for years, he first tries to clone her. When he accidentally kills his assistant in an attempt to keep himself from being exposed, he goes mad, and creates an alter ego for himself called The Jackal.

The Jackal then goes after Peter Parker, correctly believing that he was somehow involved in Stacy’s death. When he finds out that Parker is actually Spider-Man, he begins his cloning efforts anew, this time trying to clone Parker to make him suffer for his role in Gwen’s death.

Most of the clones die, but when one does survive, he eventually realizes that even though he was created to believe he was Peter Parker, he is, in fact, the impostor. He names himself Ben Reilly, combining the names of his Uncle Ben and his Aunt May Reilly Parker, and spends five years travelling.

He eventually reunites with Peter and has a fight with him, but they both realize they were being played by a larger villain, and they part ways amicably. After this, Reilly finally realizes that he too, possesses great power and great responsibility, and takes up his own superhero mantle: The Scarlet Spider.

How Will the Scarlet Spider Fit Into ‘Across the Spider-Verse?’

Miles Morales unmasked in Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse
Credit: Marvel, Sony Pictures

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Given exactly how many Spiders we already know will be present in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, it’s not easy to guess where any single one of them might fit in. However, there are a few things we do know that can help us piece it together.

First of all: He’s probably going to look and act somewhat similarly to the new-and-improved (read: no longer deeply depressed) Peter B. Parker, as they likely share most of the same DNA. Peter B. Parker is a slight variation of the original flavor Peter Parker, a character we only saw briefly in Miles’ universe, before he was killed by Kingpin.

Peter B. Parker is the closest the Spider-Verse series has to a plain Peter Parker, but based on the difference in their hair colors, there’s probably some slight variation even between those two. So, interestingly enough, Andy Samberg’s Ben Reilly may actually be the new closest thing to Peter Parker the movie actually gets.

This could be fun and confusing for a few reasons.

Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson) in 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' (2018)
Credit: Sony Pictures Animation/Marvel

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Firstly, Miles Morales likely has some unresolved trauma surrounding that face, as it’s the face of the Spider-Man he saw murdered himself – the Spider-Man that died to make him Spider-Man in his universe. He’s probably got as much impostor syndrome as the clone does, so this could be a great place for a conversation about what truly makes you a hero, and what truly makes you Spider-Man.

Secondly, Ben Reilly is probably a very skilled fighter – clones created in revenge missions usually are. Given that he is a direct replica of a man who was supposed to represent the Perfect Ideal of Peter Parker, he’s probably going to give off-brand Peter B. Parker a massive inferiority complex – which will be very comedic to see play out, especially between two voice actors as talented and hilarious as Andy Samberg and Jake Johnson.

We’ll get to see how it all plays out soon enough: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse premieres in theaters this Friday, June 2, 2023.

Which new character in Across the Spider-Verse are you most excited to see? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments.

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