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SYFY WIRE Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

'Across the Spider-Verse' director explains why The Spot will amaze as the film's central antagonist

The character will be voiced by Scott Pilgrim alum, Jason Schwartzman.

By Josh Weiss
Spider-Man Across The Spider-Verse (Part One)

Last week, Sony Pictures once again ramped up excitement for Across the Spider-Verse (out in theaters everywhere this fall) with an official reveal of the movie's central villain — Johnathon Ohnn, aka The Spot — who will be voiced by Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Bored to Death alum, Jason Schwartzman.

Created by the duo of Al Milgrom and Herb Trimpe in the mid-1980s, the antagonist was a brilliant graduate of M.I.T. After leaving college, where he just so happened to dorm with a young Quentin Beck, Ohnn began working for Wilson Fisk/Kingpin (the baddie of Into the Spider-Verse), who tasked the scientist with recreating the teleportation powers of Cloak (half of the crime-fighting duo of Cloak and Dagger). The experiment was a success with one major side effect: Ohnn's body was now covered in a series of circular portals that allowed him to travel across dimensions. Naturally, he used his newfound abilities to break the law, ultimately running afoul of Marvel's friendly neighborhood wall-crawler.

"Pretty early on, we knew The Spot was gonna be our main villain. Without an awesome villain [through whom] you can sort of understand their through-line, you don't really have a strong story for your main character. He's an awesome opposite to Miles," Joaquim Dos Santos, who co-directed the highly-anticipated project alongside Kemp Powers (Soul) and Justin K. Thompson (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), recently explained during a chat with Cartoon Brew.

The filmmaker also teased The Spot's "living ink" effect, which is sure to push the boundaries of the dynamic comic book style we now associate with the Oscar-winning Spider-Verse franchise. Moreover, it also serves as a nice parallel to the artistic and imaginative proclivities of young web-slinger Miles Morales (Shameik Moore). "It's artistry come to life, it's something that can only happen in animation," the co-director added. "If you can imagine Spot like a dude in a sock suit in a live-action Spider-Man film, it's just not gonna work. He's art come to life, he's an inkwell spilled on the page. It all goes back to comic books and comic book art."

"Spot, from the very beginning, he just seemed like endless potential — both visually and [in terms] of the arc of the character," Powers said. "By the way, that's not a costume, that's his skin. He's not a guy in a polka-dot suit, that's actually his skin. The arc of Doctor Ohnn's Spot is one that does really compliment — without giving away the story — it does compliment the journey of Miles in this film really well."

Hailee Steinfeld and Oscar Isaac return to voice Spider-Gwen and Spider-Man 2099, respectively. While they (along with Moore and Schwartzman) are the only confirmed cast members at this time, we expect plenty more talent news to drop as we move closer to the October release date. When you're working with a concept like the multiverse, the potential for any and all guest stars is limitless. Right now, many fans are holding out hope for Tom Holland's Earth-616 Peter to make a cameo appearance.

The LEGO Movie vets Phil Lord and Christopher Miller penned the screenplay alongside David Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984, Mortal Kombat). Lord and Miller serve as producers alongside Avi Arad, Amy Pascal, and Christina Steinberg.

Across the Spider-Verse swings into theaters everywhere on June 2, 2023. A second sequel, Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse (originally titled Across the Spider-Verse: Part Two) is scheduled to hit the big screen in March 2024.

Looking for some serious web-slinging action in the meantime? Check out Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man trilogy, now streaming on Peacock.