Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse welcomes several new web-slingers from various dimensions.
Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is our main hero, a 13-year-old Afro-Latino kid from Brooklyn who teams up with a 40-year-old Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) and other iterations of the hero from alternate universes to save his world.
However, the directors of the movie – Rodney Rothman, Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey – say there was very nearly a Spider-Man from Down Under in the Spidey squad.
“We invented a character that was very briefly in the movie and very quickly out of the movie,” they revealed to Yahoo Movies UK. “It was Australian Spider-Man!”
These types of character cuts and story changes are normal for animated features but co-director Bob Persichetti says that everyone who is in the movie is integral to it.
“The characters that ended up in the movie were because they helped the Miles story,” he explained. “They helped him realise his potential to be Spider-Man but if we could have made a three-hour movie absolutely we would have more characters.
“There’s a moment when you start to go OK, everything in this movie is essential to the story and this movie is almost two hours long so I think that’s enough.”
“We want to end up with something that is really entertaining and immersive for the audience but part of the way we’re trying to get there is by giving them a new experience,” Rodney Rothman explains.
“But we worked with people who produced those movies so they are being good sports.”
Rothman, Persichetti and Ramsey shared the task of directing the new movie but had the support of producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (directors of The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street)to realise their dream for Miles.
Their mantra: “push it, push things.”
“We were lucky that Phil and Chris had a really strong prior relationship with Sony animation because it allowed them to say trust us with your gigantic franchise character,” Ramsey says, “Trust us and do something new because the first question everybody had when they heard about the project was: why another Spider-Man movie?”
“I think every time we got to the place where, because this process takes so long, people started to get anxious about us veering off to where we know Spider-Man to be we always just sort of went no, just give us a few more minutes,” Persichetti adds, “what we’re doing is trying to tap into the universal myth of Spider-Man and update it for Miles but at the same time we honour Peter Parker and have reverence for him.”
The directors explain that it wasn’t until the teaser trailer was released, and the response was phenomenal, that they earned the trust of Sony to do what they wanted to do.
“It was a huge moment when we released our first teaser,” Persichetti says, “we spent almost a year and a half just to make a few seconds of the film because we were trying to reinvent sort of the pipeline for the animation.
“That makes producers very nervous because they’re not seeing the movie and you’re saying ‘it’s going to look like this,’ but it’s not moving so how are these characters going to perform?
“Then released that first little teaser and the response was so overwhelming it was a relief now we can keep pushing forward,” he continues, “we can push this further and further and at that point, people started to get on board and really support us. Thank god for that because that’s what we needed.”
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is in cinemas from 12 December