Before it’s released, we thought you may need Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse explained. Strap yourselves in.
Well if you guys haven’t seen already, Sony Pictures has released the first trailer for their upcoming animated Spider-Man film. It’s been known since the Marvel-Sony deal that brought Spider-Man into the MCU that this project was around, but it’s only today that we’re finally finding out what this film’s going to be about. And boy is it exciting! Because, ladies, gentlemen, and web-heads, the up and coming Spider-Man animated film is called: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Now if you have been reading the comics, this is huge news! We’re getting one of the grandest Spider-Man storylines which has ever been published! And don’t you worry because I’ll be sure to fill you in on what the hell is going on.
The Trailer Explained
But before we talk about the Spider-Verse, can we all just appreciate this trailer? The art is just so charming, and I love how they embed those classic comic-book action panels within the action sequences. That’s just an A+ on the creativity front right there.
But in any case, this trailer introduces us to our protagonist, Miles Morales (I’ll explain who that is a bit later don’t you worry) heading to the grave of Peter Parker. From there, we see several cuts of a jumping sequence, which would put even the Amazing Spider-Man 2 to shame. This is followed by some mid-air ‘hardcore parkour’, with Miles web-slinging, just before he reaches the ground. Then we see a chase sequence, followed by this Ultimate Spider-Man revealing to be our charming Black-Latino teen from Brooklyn. He doesn’t actually say that though, just to keep it clear.
Interspersed within the trailer we have the lines “Enter a universe / where more than one / wears the mask”. This is introducing us to the idea of the ‘multiverse’ which I will explain soon, don’t you worry.
So what can we learn from this trailer? Firstly, it looks like the film will be focusing on Miles Morales. Secondly, we’re going to be seeing the 2014 Spider-Verse story covered. And thirdly, the art and the music are going to be absolutely incredible, and that should be reason enough to watch this movie.
But who is Miles? What is this Spider-Verse I speak of? Well young Padawan, all will be revealed… now!
Miles Morales Explained
Miles Morales is just your basic teenager living in the Marvel Ultimate Universe. Much like Peter Parker, Miles gets bitten by a radioactive spider wherein he is endowed with great power. This great power includes but is not limited to: camouflage, increased agility, a stun blast of sorts, wall crawling, super strength, and all that nice jazz. But unlike Peter Parker, Miles rejects his great power. He only wants to be a normal teenager. And besides, no one really needs another Spider-Man on the scene.
But Peter Parker’s death in the Marvel Ultimate Universe drastically changes Miles’ outlook on his abilities. Realising that with his great power comes great responsibility, Miles decides to take on the mantle of Spider-Man. And that’s where we’re introduced to Miles Morales in Ultimate Comics Fallout #4.
Tl;dr – Miles is your basic teen who was also bitten by a radioactive spider who carries on the mantle of Spider-Man shortly after Peter Parker’s death.
And looking at the trailer, I believe we can expect to get some kind of ‘origins story’ for Miles. This being compounded by that brief still of Miles visiting Peter’s grave. As well, by Miles’ inexperience webbing around NYC, indicating that we’re catching up with him early on in his career.
Explaining the Multiverse
So having explained who Miles is, now you need to know about the multiverse. For all my science-read friends, bear with me for a moment as I try to explain what the hell this is. For everyone else, I hope that you know that we live in this big mass of space called the universe. Well if uni means one, and versus means turned (thank you Google), then universus means: combined into one, or whole.
And with that bit of condescension out of the way, the multiverse refers to the idea of there being an infinite amount of alternate realities. Comic book franchises often use this idea to explore and change up some characters and story lines.
When people refer to the ‘Old-Man Logan’ storyline, that’s referring to an alternate universe where Logan had killed all of the X-Men (by deception) allowing the Earth’s villains to take over America.
And when people talk about ‘Injustice’, that’s an alternate universe where the Joker deceived Superman into killing Lois Lane, which set off a chain of events leading to Superman becoming the world’s dictator.
Oh, and then there’s major events in both Marvel and DC where they realise that their publications are getting way out of hand, and they decide to reboot everything! This allows for our big companies to cull out some characters who aren’t selling too well, and can move everyone into one nice, neat universe. Some of the more notable times this has happened was in Marvel’s Secret Wars (there’s been a couple, the most recent occurring in 2015), and DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985).
So what’s the Spider-Verse?
The Spider-Verse refers to a 2014 storyline written by Dan Slott, and pencilled by Olivier Coipel and Giuseppe Camuncoli. There, the villain Morlun and his family, who dub themselves ‘the Inheritors’, systematically go through the multiverse (see the last paragraph) wiping out Spider-Wo/Men from existence.
To face this threat, Superior Spider-Man (this is an entire story that I don’t really have time to go into, but essentially Doc Oc put his mind in Peter Parker’s body, and decided, why not be a good guy? Complicated I know, just go with it) gathered an army of Spider-Wo/Men across the multiverse, forming the ‘Web-Warriors’ to take out the Inheritors.
So yep, that’s the storyline without going into the real nitty gritty. And to be perfectly honest, I’m pleasantly surprised that Sony is taking up this story. It’s such a large over-arching tale and has the potential of bringing in fan favourites like Spider-Gwen, Silk and Spider-Pig.
It also makes more sense that this story was adapted as an animate film, because it just wouldn’t be feasible to try and make it into a live-action movie. The visuals aren’t as restricted, and you can just allow the artists’ creativity to fly. Plus, we finally get to see a Spider-Man in a film who isn’t Peter Parker, so that’ll be refreshing!
Who’s heading the project?
Directing this film, we have Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey, followed by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Rodney Rotham handling the screenplay.
Peter Ramsey has previously directed Rise of the Guardians (which was pretty solid), and has been a storyboard artist for literally every film imaginable (Minority Report and Godzilla  for just a few examples). Bob Persichetti has been the head of story on The Little Prince and Puss in Boots.
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have of course worked together as directors on 21 and 22 Jump Street, as well as writing both Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The LEGO Movies.
Miles Morales will be voiced by Shameik Moore (The Get Down). Aaron Davis (Miles’ uncle), by Mahershala Ali (Luke Cage). And Jefferson Davis by Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta). Live Schreiber (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) has also been cast, but as yet his role is still currently unknown.
While I’m really unsure as to why Donald Glover, who has voiced Miles Morales in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, isn’t voicing Miles, I have to say, I am very excited for this film.