Phil Lord, one of the producers of ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’, has vowed to include one of the most bizarre Spider-Men ever in the film’s inevitable sequel… on one condition.  When asked on Twitter, if the second movie would include the “Japanese Spider-Man” or Supaidāman, he stated that it was a done deal… if ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ makes over $200 million domestic.

Unfortunately, this isn’t likely to happen.  ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ has made $103.6 million at the domestic box office, but it is going into its fourth weekend.  It made $19.3M this past weekend, but it is likely that it will make about half that next weekend, and decline similarly from there.  It will likely play in theaters for another month at most.  To make matters worse, box office numbers plummet in January, as people recover from the holidays (and all that spending) and students head back to school.

Then again, maybe superfans can rally and make another trip to see this movie.  Web-ball’s in your court, True Believers!

If you didn’t know, in the late 1970s, the Toei Company produced a live-action ‘Spider-Man’ TV series for Japan that, other than the name and appearance, deviated completely from the Marvel Comics source material and bore a closer resemblance to the later ‘Power Rangers’.  (In fact, ‘Supaidāman’ was the first Toei series to feature a spandex-clad hero, using a giant mecha to battle growing, rubbery monsters, meaning that this series basically laid the foundation for ‘Power Rangers’ and all other Sentai shows.)

Supaidāman was not Peter Parker, but motorcyclist Takuya Yamashiro, who is injected with alien blood in order to defend Earth from Professor Monster and the Iron Cross Army.  In order to fight these alien invaders, Takuya pilots the giant mecha, Leopardon, which can also turn into a space ship, the Marveller.  For shorter trips, there is the Spider-Machine GP-7, a flying car equipped with machine guns and missiles.

Check out the show’s opening theme below:

While the series was produced in 1978-79, and consisted of a whopping 41 episodes, plus a theatrical film, American audiences didn’t discover the existence of this oddity until about a decade later.  It has since been subtitled in English and the character Takuya Yamashiro was included in the ‘Spider-Verse’ comic books.  And in case you were wondering, the Toei series WAS officially licensed by Marvel!

Perhaps the biggest pop culture impact that the Japanese ‘Spider-Man’ made was in the original Ernest Cline novel ‘Ready Player One’.  In the book, Leopardon was the giant mecha used during the climactic battle, instead of the Iron Giant, who was substituted in the movie.  That was probably for the best.

Lord has said that he wanted to include even more Spider-characters in ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ but scaled back so as not to outshine the movie’s true star, Miles Morales.  But as the movie’s post-credits scene indicated, it looks as though there are other variations coming in future films.

Would you like to see the strange Japanese Spider-Man in the sequel to ‘Into the Spider-Verse’?