Phil Lord And Chris Miller Tease Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse

Phil Lord and Chris Miller are back on the Oscar campaign trail, promoting the best animated feature frontrunner "The Mitchells vs The Machines." The duo served as producers on the film, ushering Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe through the process of bringing their explosively imaginative film to life. The thrills of this promotion period are abundant: not only do we get to reflect on the creative majesty that is "Mitchells," but we also get a few opportunities to learn more about the much-anticipated Lord and Miller project, "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse."

So far, the writing and producing duo have been pretty stingy about plot details for the two-part movie to come, aside from last month's trailer. But every now and then, they do tease some behind-the-scenes details, hinting at what we can expect from the Spider-Verse sequel. In a recent chat with IndieWire, the pair reflected on their time with "The Mitchells vs the Machines," and how the production influenced the upcoming Spidey story. Lord said:

"It's been fun to have the confidence to go even harder and push the medium even further and take Miles [Morales] to places you couldn't imagine."

As anyone who's seen the trailer already knows, this is no exaggeration: Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is going on an unimaginable journey in his upcoming film. At the very least, it's one he probably didn't envision for himself. The first trailer starts off normal enough — Miles listening to the same song he's loved for many years now, reuniting with his old Spidey-pal Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) for a mildly embarrassing tour of his bedroom, then heading out for a web-slinging hangout sesh. All very normal Spider stuff ... until we see him tumbling through a multiversal portal and facing off against Miguel O'Hara, aka Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac).

At this point, watching a young Spider-Man contend with the multiverse might become our norm, but given the groundbreaking nature of the first "Spider-Verse" film, it's fair to expect a couple more surprises on the horizon.

The Style of Across The Spider-Verse

Story elements are just one piece of the "Across The Spider-Verse" pie; there's also the unpredictable nature of its style. The first "Spider-Verse" film (which was directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman) pushed the boundaries of animation in big and exciting ways: merging 2-D and 3-D animation, implementing comic book-inspired textures, and playing with framerates. The film avoided hyper-realistic animation so successfully that others are following in their footsteps, and "Across the Spider-Verse" (which sees Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson taking over directing) just creates more room for that experimentation. It's no wonder they need two movies to fit it all!

The second and third "Spider-Verse" films are expected to take Miles through new worlds so refreshing that, according to Lord and Miller, they each look and feel "radically different from all the others. They all look like they were drawn by a different artist." This experimentation is something we see across Lord and Miller's films, and "The Mitchells vs. the Machines" was no exception. In the same IndieWire chat, director Mike Rianda discusses leaning on the producers to help develop the animation tools needed to create the film's imperfect, watercolor-esque animation. As with "Spider-Verse," it became a question of what the distinctive style would say about the world:

"It doesn't have to have realistic pupils, the homes don't have to look like showrooms, but messy and lived in. They could feel homemade and like watercolor illustrations."

"Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One)" is set to hit theaters on October 7, 2022. The sequel will arrive some time in 2023.