In 2018, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse came out and took the world by storm. The second it was released, it was heralded as not only the best animated film of that year but one of the best animated films of all time. Its multiple animation styles and changing frame rates gave it a look and feel that had never been seen before from an animated film providing a fresh look at not just Spider-Man – in this film Spider-Man is portrayed by fan favorite Miles Morales, not Peter Parker – but a fresh look at animation as an art form.
A super late release date (December 14) and a lack of any real awards push didn’t stop Into the Spider-Verse from absolutely annihilating the awards season picking up wins at BAFTA, Golden Globes, PGA, the Annie Awards, and, of course, the Academy Awards. The duo of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who have directed the animated films Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The Lego Movie, spearheaded the project as producers, not directors – Lord was one of the two credited screenwriters alongside Rodney Rothman – and have since then backed this franchise as well as animation as a whole producing the Oscar-nominated Mitchells vs. The Machines a few years after.
The follow-up to Into the Spider-Verse was titled Across the Spider-Verse, and was actually supposed to have a release date of this past summer in April of 2022, but was pushed back to October 2022 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Then, surprisingly, the film had another delay not soon after the initial one which placed this film firmly on June 2, 2023. Before the second delay, a teaser trailer was shown stating that Across the Spider-Verse would actually be part one in a two-part multiversal Spider-Man event with the third installment titled Across the Spider-Verse Part 2. This was later changed to Beyond the Spider-Verse and is scheduled to be released on March 29. 2024.
Across the Spider-Verse brings back Shameik Moore and Hailee Steinfeld as Miles Morales (Spider-Man) and Gwen Stacy (Spider-Gwen) respectively, and adds in Oscar Isaac as Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099), Daniel Kaluuya as Hobart Brown (Spider-Punk), and Issa Rae as Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman). Jason Schwartzman is voicing the main villain Jonathan Ohnn (The Spot). Jake Johnson who voiced Peter B. Parker (the Spider-Man mentor of Miles Morales) will be back as well as Bryan Tyree Henry as Jefferson Davis and Luna Lauren Velez as Rio Morales (the parents of Miles Morales). This won’t be all as Across the Spider-Verse is currently set to include 240 total characters, far more than Into the Spider-Verse; this massive project has required this film to bring on the largest crew ever assembled for an animated movie.
Phil Lord will be working on the script again, this time along with fellow collaborator Christopher Miller and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings writer Dave Callaham – the trio is expected to do Beyond the Spider-Verse as well. Justin K. Thompson and Joaquim Dos Santos will be directing for the first time, but will be joined by a recent Oscar-nominee for his One Night in Miami… script and co-director of the Oscar-winning animated film Soul, Kemp Powers – the trio are also expected to be back for Beyond the Spider-Verse.
It has already been announced that Across the Spider-Verse would feature six different animation styles throughout and is expected to be a major player in not only Best Animated Feature – a category it will likely be an early frontrunner for – but in many other categories as well. With a better release date than the original and a better understanding of what this film really is and can be, the sky is the limit for it when it comes to garnering love from the Academy. However, with only three animated films ever receiving a Best Picture nomination, the only thing it has to get past is the bias against animation; an uphill battle that Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is fighting this season.
Watch the trailer for Across the Spider-Verse here