All Photos: IMDb
Producers Chris Miller and Phil Ward of The LEGO Movie and 21 Jump Street asked the audience to stand up, raise their left and right hands, and make an oath to not spoil anything from those first 35 minutes. (We did promise, but we love you too much to keep this a secret.) The footage was a work in progress, with some unfinished sound and animations in which Miller and Ward joked as looking like a ’90s video game.
And in true Spider-Man legacy (taking a page from Tom Holland, who portrays Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and has a serious propensity to spill secrets), Shamiek Moore, who voices the Miles Morales version of our web slinger in this animated feature, accidentally spoiled a major death for NYCC livestream viewers who didn’t get to see the exclusive footage.
Since Moore leaked the information, we’re in the clear to talk about this, but Marvel comics fans also may have deduced what happened from the exclusive Spider-Verse clip in the post-credits of Venom. If you don’t want to read any further, I will say that fans of Miles Morales and Sam Raimi’s trilogy will be very pleased with the representation they both get here.
🚨🕷️ Warning: A MAJOR spoiler for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is ahead. 🕷️🚨
Left to Right: Moderator Josh Horowitz, Chris Miller, Phil Lord, Jake Johnson, Shameik Moore, Lauren Vélez, Brian Tyree Henry, Bob Persichetti, and Peter Ramsey.
From the trailers that we’ve seen so far, we are already aware that Miles Morales will team up with the “original” Peter Parker/Spider-Man to help him hone in on his new powers and defeat the epic bad guys together. But, we haven’t been seeing the same Peter Parker in all scenes in the trailers.
The Peter Parker that fans meet in the beginning of the film—presumably entirely based on the Sam Raimi trilogy version of Spider-Man—is not the Peter voiced by Jake Johnson. The Spider-Man Miles grew up with is killed in battle in front of his eyes, while the new Johnson-voiced Spidey is from a different universe and finds Miles in a cemetery mourning the Peter from his world.
“It’s a Peter Parker at 40. A Peter Parker who is a little chubby. A Peter Parker who is a little depressed. It’s a new Peter Parker,” Johnson said. “They become partners in crime. They become unlikely friends, and it’s a little bit Karate Kid… They end up meeting each other to get out of their situations.”
TL;DR: We’re meeting Spideys from new universes in this film because of a collider that opens up parallel universes during the battle in which Miles’ Spider-Man dies. It’s why we’re seeing so many versions of Spider-Man from different Earths in the second trailer, including new Peter (Johnson), Spider-Gwen Stacey (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Man Noir (Nicholas Cage), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), and Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn). It is called Spider-Verse after all.
And since I raised both of my hands to make this legally-binding contract between Miller, Ward, and 5,000 other people more legit, I won’t reveal any more secrets. But fans can expect a fresh take on Spider-Man with a stunning film that feels like it was ripped right from a comic book.
Let’s face it: We’ve seen the Peter Parker story over and over again (which the film pokes fun at)—but we haven’t seen Miles Morales. According to Miller, the duo would only agree on making the animated film only if it was based on Miles.
“We could use the fact that this story has been told a lot of times to our advantage because I think the expectation now is how can we do it differently. And so we set out to make the most different Spider-Man movie we could,” Lord said.
It only took three years to put the movie together, which is a huge feat considering the beautiful visual approach. The animation is dazzling and draws you in, sprinkled with on-screen comic book text, and sweeping, wide-reaching views of New York City. In the film, fans will see the Brooklyn they recognize from the trailer, along with each borough of New York City, which will have its own flavor and voice. And, of course we get our Stan Lee cameo, spot-on as an animated shopkeep. Bob Persichetti, one of the directors for the movie, said they took advantage of using the animations as a chance to lean into a medium made for Spider-Man and his powers.
“Every step along the way everyone pushed as far as they could into this idea of using animation to be more expressive, like the comic book to honor the original source, and bring New York 2018—or 2019, hopefully—to life in a way that everybody in the audience could understand so everybody could go through this experience in Miles’ shoes,” Director Peter Ramsey said.
This approach gives audiences a sense that anyone could be Miles Morales. He’s just a kid just trying to adjust to a new school, trying to muster up the courage to talk to a girl he likes, juggling artwork and schoolwork, with a pair of loving parents and an uncle he’d rather be with at all times.
And, of course, none of this storytelling could be so masterfully told without producers Miller and Lord delivering the humor that viewers are used to seeing from the duo. The audience was thrilled with multiple laugh-out-loud moments, but as we quickly learned in the first half hour, the threat to the universe becomes very real very quickly. Miles will soon learn that with great power comes great responsibility—really proving that he is the most relatable character to each member of the audience.
“The reason why Spider-Man resonates with so many people is because anybody can really imagine themselves behind the mask,” Miller said. “In this movie, as it goes on, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from. If you’re a friggin’ pig, you can relate. That was a really inspiring idea and that’s what we really wanted to latch onto.”
Perhaps the most empowering part of the whole film is the representation of a hero, who up to this point, has only been portrayed by white males. Miles is an Afro-Latino teenager growing up in Brooklyn with both of his parents who want him to succeed. He gets sent to a private school on a scholarship, and his achievements are very important to his parents. There are bilingual scenes in which the family interacts with each other with some Spanish.
“We made a good man and I think for me it was very important to see that and that everybody could see that Miles is from that,” Brian Tyree Henry, voice of Miles’ father, said. “I think about my 14, 15-year-old self, I would’ve choked on my popcorn.”
As for Moore, he said he could relate to Miles’ upbringing. The actor wanted to play a black Spider-Man immediately after he saw Miles Morales’ character for the first time. He says wrote positive affirmations of “I am Spider-Man” and “I am Miles Morales” into a journal, and the actor started working on the film two years after those entries. Three years later, he’s sitting in Madison Square Garden at NYCC.
“The minute we all knew it was the Miles Morales story, I think all of us felt we had to introduce a new Spider-Man who speaks to a whole lot of people in a brand new way. We were all so determined to make a character that you will love and empathize with and really want to go on this journey with and see him succeed. That was our No. 1 priority to see the story through his eyes and really let him live as a character. We love him. We love this world,” Director Ramsey said.
And other things we have to look forward to? Get ready for a bomb soundtrack, including a Post Malone track recorded specifically for this movie.
Jeez, if this first 35 minutes was unfinished footage, I can’t wait to see what masterpiece is going to hit the big screen on Christmas day.