If you thought 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was ambitious, then you ain’t seen nothing yet! Sony’s hotly-anticipated sequel — Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (out on the big screen next summer) — hopes to top its Oscar-winning predecessor with the use of six different animation styles, producer and co-writer Phil Lord teased to Empire for the magazine’s January 2023 issue (now on sale).
“We’re taking those tools, adding all the things we learned on The Mitchells vs. the Machines, and then growing them further to accommodate the ambition of this movie,” he explained. “Which is to wow you every time you enter a new environment, and also to make sure that the style of the movie reflects the story, and that the images are driven by feelings, as opposed to some egg-headed art project. Which it also is, by the way!”
Similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the animated Spider-Verse finds itself in a state of multiversal turmoil following the destruction of Wilson Fisk’s collider device. Miguel O’Hara, aka Spider-Man 2099 (voiced by Oscar Isaac, the character enjoyed a brief cameo in the first movie’s post-credits scene), assembles a team of heroes to fix the inter-dimensional mess, but “as you can imagine, it’s really hard to lead a bunch of people who have never been led,” Lord added.
Audiences will once again traverse this vibrant and comic book-inspired world through the eyes of young Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), who “is going through different phases in his life,” said Lord’s fellow producer and co-writer, Christopher Miller. “Now he’s got confidence, but he’s starting to find out where his place in the world is, and he’s feeling ready for his next challenges. He wants to leave the nest. He has to figure out who he is and who in his life matters, and what’s important. As a teenager, those are a lot of the big questions that you’re asking yourself, and this is playing it out on a big, multi-dimensional superhero scale.”
Miller also let slip that the movie kicks off in the universe occupied by Hailee Seinfeld’s Spider-Gwen. “She has a lot of things going on. There’s a lot of her world in this movie.” As for her relationship with Miles, Lord stated the two web-slingers have decided not to start dating — at least for now — so as to not jeopardize their friendship. “That’s a really interesting place for two characters to be, especially when they’re so young.” But let’s be real, the two would be perfect together!
Across the Spider-Verse is the first part in an epic, two-part saga that will continue in 2024’s Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse. “When we realized that each one could stand alone on its own and you could dig into emotional depths that we wanted to instead of breezing past it to get through the plot, that felt like it was the right decision,” Miller continued. “So we were able to tell this story completely. And, you know, bladders only last so long.”
Daniel Kaluuya (Hobie Brown/Spider-Punk) and Jason Schwartzman (Jonathan Ohnn/The Spot) are also confirmed members of the voice cast. Avi Arad, Amy Pascal, and Christina Steinberg are producers alongside Lord and Miller. The latter two share screenplay credit with comic book movie alum, David Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984, Shang-Chi).
Lord and Miller have also turned their eight-legged sights on the small screen with an upcoming Silk-inspired series at Amazon (the first of several projects in development). The Walking Dead vet, Angela Kang, will serve as showrunner and executive producer.
Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse swings into theaters everywhere June 2, 2023.