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SYFY WIRE Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Phil Lord & Chris Miller on Miles Morales' balancing act in 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse'

What’s next for the Spider-Verse, Miles Morales, and the whole Spidey gang?

By Cassidy Ward

Multiverses are everywhere these days, thanks in large part to the fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But before they were the narrative device du jour, the multiverse powered one of the most under-celebrated science fiction television series of all time. Of course we’re talking about Sliders, the Jerry O’Connell vehicle which ran for five seasons (all of which are streaming now on Peacock!) between 1995 and 1999.

For 88 episodes, Quinn Mallory (O’Connell) and a small group of friends jumped from one reality to the next, hoping that the next jump would be the one that took them home. Of course, the undisputed champion of multiverse storytelling is the 2018 animated superhero film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and that’s true no matter what reality you’re living in. Immediately upon release it was hailed as the classic it rightly is, and fans have been waiting for a return to the mind bending technicolor world ever since.

Fans will get that chance when the first of two planned sequels, titled Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, swings into theaters this upcoming June. Spider-Verse creators Phil Lord and Chris Miller recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly about what’s next for the Spider-Verse, Miles Morales, and the whole Spidey gang. According to Miller, Across the Spider-Verse promises to explore conflicts familiar to Spider-Man fans: How can Miles balance the responsibilities and obligations of being Spider-Man with his desire to live an ordinary life?

“As he’s growing up, he’s trying to figure out how he can go out and see the world and spread his wings and leave the nest. But he also feels rooted to his home and his family. It’s that push-pull of your life as a teenager, where you’re like, how do I get to be my own person, but also not lose where I came from?” Miller said.

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The film also promises to take fans to new locales from all around the multiverse. While the first movie focused on Miles in his home universe, as various Spider-People from all different realities bled into his own, in this next outing, Miles will journey into unfamiliar territory as he jumps into the multiverse himself. These disparate realities are likely where the animated medium will really shine through, with each reality exhibiting its own unique animation style.

Along the way, we can expect cameos from characters both obscure and well known, from across the Spidey pantheon. The writers estimate roughly 240 unique characters were designed for the film. Shemeik Moore, Haille Steinfeld, and Jake Johnson will return their vocal talents to Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen, and Peter B. Barker, respectively. We’ll also get more of Oscar Isaac’s portrayal of Spider-Man 2099, as well as a host of new heroes and villains.

Speaking of villains, Lord and Miller made mention of the Spider-Verse sequel’s big bad, Johnathon Ohnn, aka The Spot (Jason Schwartzman), who possesses the ability to create portals between realities. He’s the perfect foil for the sorts of reality bending storytelling the Spider-Verse is perfect for, and even he gets clear character motivations, which will hopefully allow audiences to relate to him even while they root for his undoing.

"I like the villains best when they reflect the journeys of the hero — sort of a dark mirror of the protagonist. And I think Spot’s no different. He wants to be seen as legitimate," Lord said. "He’s a character that has a silly costume and is not always seen as the top tier of Spider-Man foes, but like all of us, he wants to be taken seriously."

We won’t know for sure if The Spot accomplishes his goal until Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse hits theaters June 2, 2023, but either way, we’re willing to bet Miles comes out on top.

In the meantime, jump into even more reality-hopping adventures with Quantum Leap, streaming now on Peacock! Or if you're in the mood for more superhero action, check out X-Men: First Class, The Punisher, or Green Lantern!