Spider-Man in Annecy: No Way Home did not influence the directors of the new film…

The day after the presentation of the first images of the film “Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse” at the Annecy Festival, we were able to meet the three directors of the long-awaited feature film!

How to make a sequel to the height of an animated film as revolutionary as was Spider-Man New Generation?

Kemp Powers : The answer is: by working in stages. (laughs) It’s real teamwork. The story was crafted by Chris Miller and Phil Lord (also executive producers of the film) and what is fantastic with the animation industry, even more so than in live action cinema, is the collaborative aspect at the heart of each project.

Good ideas can come from anyone, and that’s how anything should go. When telling a story like this, we usually don’t have all the answers from the start, but they do come to us as we go through the production stages. But there were central elements which immediately seemed essential to us, but of which we obviously cannot speak yet!

We knew this movie would once again be centered around the story of Miles Morales. There were universes we wanted to explore through the character of Gwen and we quickly decided that our main villain would be The Spot. And then we absolutely wanted to bring back Miguel O’Hara, alias Spider-Man 2099. From all these elements, we built the story and very quickly, discovered what works, and especially what does not work in the narrative. And that’s where the real work begins. (laughs)

Did the postponement of the film allow you to change the story, following the release of No Way Home which also explored the multiverse of the Spider-Man franchise?

justin thompson : When new generation came out in 2018, we were kind of the first to explore this multiverse concept, and so it’s cool to see people other than us exploring this. But I think with our two films (Across the Spider-verse in theaters May 31, 2023, and Beyond the Spider-Versemeanwhile expected for 2024) we offer a vision of the multiverse that is unique to us and that is original enough for the public to be delighted to explore it, without feeling the impression of deja vu.

Because no other film can go in the direction that we take. Because animation allows us to, and we push the limits of what has already been done. It is therefore an adventure in more than one way in the multiverse of Spider-Man.

Basically, the MCU films are adaptations of comics intended for a non-reading audience, whereas the Spider-Man animated films seem more connected to comics.

Joaquim Dos Santos : This link is the very essence of our film. As it was already said at the release of the first film, our work is a true declaration of love to the Spider-Man comics. When we revealed the first images of the film, we mentioned several comic illustrators, because we are not ashamed to assume that our main source of inspiration comes from comic books, but also because we want to inspire ourselves of their work. This is a goal that can only be achieved through animation, but also by looking for new ways to push the limits of what has been established so far.

Justin Thompson: We collaborated with our favorite artists, not only for New Generation, but also for this sequel. And we develop new animation techniques in direct collaboration with these artists. Our main objective was to transpose the work of these designers into a three-dimensional space. It wasn’t a simple homage to the comics, but actually bringing the comics to life.

Spider-man in annecy: no way home did not influence the directors of the new film...
Sony Pictures Animation

Characters from the first film will return; what new heroes and villains can we expect in this second installment among the 240 new characters announced?

Kemp Powers: It’s not as simple as that. When we mentioned 240 new characters, that included the silhouettes in the background, because we didn’t plan to follow 240 stories at the same time! (laughs) It was essential in our eyes not to stray too far from the story of Miles Morales, his adventures are the very heart of our story, and the secondary characters are only present in the films to accompany him.

Each character has their own story, and the snippets we revealed yesterday are just the tip of the iceberg. One of the challenges of this film was to integrate these newcomers into a universe already established thanks to the first film; it is the very heart of our work. We can’t wait to be able to reveal, hopefully sooner rather than later, these new characters.

Why did you choose The Spot as the main villain: was it to represent a villain who had never appeared in a Spider-Man production before, or simply because he was the one who best suited your story?

Justin Thompson: I think he was really perfect for the story of Through the Spider-Verse. It’s fun to think about the visual potential of a character with such powers. Like the character in the comics, our vision of The Spot is that of a character in the draft state, which is not yet finished, and conversely Miles who is only aged fifteen years old is still trying to find himself as a person. Is he still a child, or is he already becoming an adult? In the end, the story of these two characters has much more in common than it seems.

Who is your favorite Spider-Man villain?

Joaquim Dos Santos: It’s hard to choose, there are so many… (he thinks) When I was little, I really liked Scorpion. He really is a very cool character. I also liked Hydro-Man, even if with my look today, I realize that it’s just a guy with a t-shirt, who should be renamed T-shirt-Man. (laughs)

Justin Thompson: I love silly villains. I grew up with the Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes cartoons, all the kinda funny stuff, so I liked the kinda lame villains in Spider-Man, characters like Big Wheel (a character driving a giant wheel, editor’s note) and Slyde (a ninja etsatz, editor’s note) and Flyman Fly (sic), villains who don’t stand a chance against Spider-Man, one of the universe’s most powerful heroes, who could stick a straight line at Thor with no worries. Seeing him go up against a guy stuck in a wheel, so it’s pretty hilarious and awesome.

Spider-man in annecy: no way home did not influence the directors of the new film...

Hydro-Man, Big Wheel, and Frog-Man, Spider-Man’s top three worst villains.

Kemp Powers: I like the better known ones, I think my favorite is the Green Goblin, as well as Doctor Octopus. But in the comics, there were plenty of memorable fights between Spider-Man and the Scourge, who is known more as an adversary of the X-Men but who regularly visited Spider-Man to impose his superpower on him. .

And then there’s also Frog-Man, who really is a dumb, but nonetheless memorable villain; I remember a story that saw him go up against the Toad, and Spider-Man who was desperately trying to separate them. (laughs) I liked the idea that a less powerful villain could still be on par with him, that’s one of the things I’ve always liked about Spider-Man, the fact that you have to hold on to the life to surpass themselves, in the style of Rocky Balboa.

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