STACK caught up with the stars and directors of animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to discover how it will differ from previous Spidey films.
A passion project for writer Phil Lord (The LEGO Movie), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is based on the Ultimate Spider-Man comics; specifically the character of Miles Morales (voiced in the film by Shameik Moore), a 15-year-old from Brooklyn who possesses the same powers as Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) but doesn’t really want them.
“They are both Spider-Man. They both have this unique gift that they share, but they do it in their own way,” explains Johnson.
“Suppose they got their powers the same way, from a spider bite, but the whole process is different,” says Moore. “Peter was confused but he was excited and Miles is like, ‘I don’t want this; it’s too much responsibility. I just wanna go to a regular school.
“His powers are a little different than Peter’s, but there’s a synergy and he basically learns how to be Spider-Man. He’s given a jump start by Peter.”
Co-director Peter Ramsey adds, “Miles Morales lives in a world where there’s already a Spider-Man, so already there’s a commentary on what it means to be a superhero – to step into the shoes of a character who’s already an icon.”
Now in his forties and jaded by the responsibility of being a friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, Peter becomes a reluctant mentor to Miles, with their partnership taking them into an alternate realm – the Spider-Verse.
“He’s at that point where he doesn’t know the value of being Spider-Man anymore and needs someone to remind him,” explains Johnson, adding that it was a big honour to be in a movie that introduces Miles Morales and shows a different side of Peter Parker.
“We’re so used to Peter Parker, or a version of Peter Parker, so let’s reinvent with the first screen version who’s a little older, who’s been doing this a while, and let’s see him trying to teach a kid to become Spider-Man,” says co-director Peter Ramsey.
As well as introducing Miles, Into the Spider-Verse features a unique and innovative animation style that will differentiate it from the existing Spider-Man films.
“It was part of the mandate to make this different from any cinematic iteration of Spider-Man,” says co-director Rodney Rothman. “It was also to stand out from other animated movies. The key was embracing the graphic nature of comic books, going back to the source material. We used comic book printing techniques, ink lines on the characters to accentuate emotions and expressions, pop bubbles and text on the screen…”
Ramsey notes that while the animation technique is groundbreaking, ultimately the movie is all about Miles Morales.
“He’s the central character and he drives all of our creative decisions. We’re telling a story that has a pretty wide scope. The question we ask is how does it relate to Miles and where he is in his story?”
As to the alternate nature of the Spider-Verse and the characters that inhabit it, Johnson offers a teaser: “It’s a multiverse, you will see other Spider-People, and now I’m going to close my mouth.”
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is in cinemas on December 13