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WIRE Buzz: Spider-Verse producer on Miles Morales PS5 game; Daisy Ridley boards Baba Yaga; and 'Connected'

By Josh Weiss
Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Sony's reveal of the PlayStation 5 design last week was cool and all, but the console itself was nothing compared to Insomniac's epic trailer reveal for Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

Miles, who is the first black character to become Spider-Man in the Marvel Universe, and has been immensely popular since he first hit the comic book scene in 2011. However, he became an even bigger icon with the release of Sony's Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in 2018. That movie's executive producer/co-writer, Phil Lord, got a sneak peek of the hero's upcoming PS5 title and wasted no time in singing its praises on Twitter (without spoilers, of course).

"We got a chance last year to check out what the insomniacs are up to and... it's special. They're special," Lord wrote.

In addition, Evan Narcisse, who wrote Marvel's Rise of the Black Panther series, revealed that he worked on the game. He didn't go into too many details about his involvement, but we imagine he helped write the actual story, fleshing out both narrative and emotional beats.

The follow-up title to Insomniac's acclaimed and best-selling Spidey title for the PS4 arrives this holiday season. A specific release date has yet to be announced.

Daisy Ridley is moving out of the galaxy far, far away and venturing into the realm of Eastern European folklore for her next acting gig — a VR short from Baobab Studios entitled Baba Yaga, Variety confirmed this morning.

Viewers will be thrust into "a dark and mystic fairytale," taking on the role of a sister looking to find a magical plant that can heal her mother's sickness. With some help from her 10-year-old sister, Maga (Ridley), the main character ventures into a forest inhabited by an evil witch, the Baba Yaga.

"It's easy to get caught up in the spectacle of a Star Wars film and not to think about the talent of the actors,” director Eric Darnell told Variety. “It's even more remarkable when you know that she is standing in front of a green screen in a sound studio. For us, to have the opportunity to work with her was huge. Certainly, she is a big name, but for me, it's always great when you work with wonderful actors."

"Baobab is at the very forefront of VR and interactive animation, so it's been exciting to work with Eric and the team to bring such a beautiful story to life,” added Ridley. "I love playing Magda, because she is brave, vulnerable and fiercely protective of her family all at the same time. The idea that the viewer will be able to genuinely interact with my character in this magical world and help steer the course of the narrative is so amazing."

Getting back to Phil Lord, the writer/producer/director (along with his usual creative collaborator, Christopher Miller) is gearing up for the release of another Sony-animated movie: Connected. The film, which centers on a family confronted with the robot apocalypse while on a road trip, is set to use some of the groundbreaking animation techniques seen in Spider-Verse.

“It's a really exciting time for the studio. After Spider-Verse, it was sort of encouragement from the whole world that people want to see new movies and fresh animation styles," director/co-writer Mike Rianda (an alum of Gravity Falls) told Deadline. "We wanted to make a movie where the artists who made the movie could really have a say."

Danny McBride, Abbi Jacobson, Maya Rudolph, and Olivia Colman are lending their voices to the movie, which is really about a dad (McBride) trying to re-connect with his daughter (Jacobson) before the latter goes off to college. Rianda described the project to Deadline as a mixture between "two things I really love: my insane family and technology."

"As a kid, I was fascinated by robots and as an adult by technology and how it's affecting the world in very real ways," he continued. "What is great about humanity is that it can't be replaced by robots. [But] what about technology is going to bring us together and what about technology is going to tear us apart?"

Connected is scheduled to hit theaters Friday, Oct. 23.