As every comic book fan is already well aware, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse comes out in theaters on June 2, and there’s more than the movie to be excited about. As is common with summer blockbusters, the film’s promotional blitz involves teaming up with a fast food restaurant to release a limited-time menu—in this case, Burger King. There are two new offerings rolling out at BK in conjunction with the movie, one of which perpetuates a weird Burger King trend that we wish would stop: dyed burger buns.
Burger King’s Spider-Man menu, explained
The two newest menu items will be available at Burger King from May 15 through June 2. One of them is the “Spider-Verse” Sundae (BK’s quotation marks, not mine), a cup of soft serve ice cream topped with red and black popping candy. But what really concerns us is the burger.
The “Spider-Verse” Whopper will be a cross-promotional version of Burger King’s flagship offering, the Whopper, with a flame-grilled burger patty, Swiss cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickles, mayonnaise, and ketchup. Okay, so it’s a Whopper with Swiss cheese, nothing terribly exciting on paper. Except it’s on a bright red bun studded with black sesame seeds.
This isn’t just a red bun—as you can see from the image above, it’s a hyper-saturated one. And if you’ll recall from past limited-time-only menus, this isn’t the first time Burger King has centered a promotion around a weird burger bun. We think that maybe it’s time to take it easy on them.
Past Burger King menu items with colored buns
The most notorious colored-bun product from Burger King was its Halloween Whopper, released in 2015. The burger came on a black bun, which had been tinted with steak sauce. Though the bread was pitch-black, it had a funny effect on people’s digestive systems: it turned their dumps bright green. (I can personally confirm this and now you know way too much about me.)
Then in 2018, BK released the Nightmare King, a Halloween-themed chicken sandwich/burger hybrid with bacon served up on a bright green bun. Think Incredible Hulk green. The idea was to play off the scientific findings that eating a burger right before bed would induce nightmares; the bun certainly helped convey its scary qualities.
And international markets have gotten in on Burger King’s colored bun shenanigans, too, including Thailand’s menu inspired by K-pop band BLACKPINK, which had both a burger with a black bun and a salmon burger with a pink one. Similarly, Burger King Japan has offered black bun burgers in the past as well, dyed with bamboo charcoal and squid ink.
Last year, BK ran another Halloween burger special called the Ghost Pepper Whopper, this time on a bright orange bun. I tried one for myself, and though the photo above might not fully capture its strangeness, I can assure you it was a shade of day-glo orange that was blindingly bright to look at.
And there’s even previously been a bright red Whopper: in 2020, Burger King served something called the Angriest Whopper, which was essentially a Whopper with spicy toppings, the red bun underlining its heat. In this case the bright red bun had hot sauce baked into it, though it featured normal sesame seeds as opposed to black ones. Black ones are reserved for the Spider-Verse.
Enough with the colored buns already, Burger King. There’s nothing inherently wrong with them, but I wish you’d focus on the food for once, and make it taste better. A Swiss cheese Whopper seems wholly uninspired, and with fast food innovation moving at breakneck speed right now, you can do better than a few glugs of of food coloring and some funny-looking bread.