It was announced shortly after Stan Lee's death, at age 95, that he had recorded a cameo for the film and that it would be his final voice-acting role. Lord and Miller felt it was important that Lee was given a bigger moment compared to previous Marvel films because he was "so integral to the spirit of this movie," and considered his role "extra meaningful" following his death.
This film was dedicated in memory of Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, who died on July 6, 2018, while this film was finishing production. However, this was not the only dedication, as a month before the film was released, Stan Lee died on November 12, 2018. The film was dedicated to both of Spider-Man's creators.
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller had a goal for the movie: "Inspire young people to become heroes. Inspire grown-ups to help them do it. And remind us all that you don't need to be bit by a radioactive spider to do your part. You are powerful, and we are counting on you."
When Miles first visits Uncle Aaron's apartment, the television is playing the television show Community (2009) (Season 2, Episode 1 "Anthropology 101"). The beginning of that episode shows Donald Glover's character Troy getting out of bed wearing Spider-Man pajamas. This was a reference to an unsuccessful 2010 online campaign to get Donald Glover a chance to audition for the lead role in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). Miles Morales co-creator Brian Michael Bendis describes that image of Glover in the Spider-Man pajamas as one of the major inspirations for the creation of the character and the character's design. Additionally, Glover appeared as another version of Aaron Davis in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), in which he makes brief reference to his nephew. Glover also voiced Miles Morales in Disney's "Ultimate Spider-Man" cartoon series.
The unique animation style of "Spider-Verse" aims to make the viewer feel as if they are in the pages of a comic book. According to Phil Lord, the film combined the latest computer-generated animation technology with hand-drawn artistry. "It was very important to us that every frame of the movie was refined by the artists hand after the visuals were rendered by computers. If you freeze any part of the movie at any time, it will look like an illustration with hand drawn touches and all."
According to John Mulaney, the producers encouraged him to "have fun" with his role as Spider-Ham, so he added cuss words to his dialogue. He eventually asked what the rating of the film was, which was PG.
There are many small details in Miles' universe that set it apart from ours, such as using "PDNY" in place of "NYPD," and instead of Chance the Rapper wearing a "3" hat, he has a "4" on it (evident from a poster in Miles' room).
When Miles is scrolling through the contacts on his phone, the name "B Bendis" appears. This is a reference to Brian Michael Bendis, long-time author of the "Ultimate Spider-Man" series and one of Miles' creators.
Nicolas Cage was excited that the directors let him have fun with the role of Spider-Man Noir. Cage says, "...it's no secret that I like to play with different sources. It was fun to go back in time and pull back a little of that Humphrey Bogart essence." Cage thinks that the movie will appeal both to the adults who like old movies and the kids who will want to learn more about them.
The directors of "Spider-Verse" spoke with "io9" about the Prowler's signature siren noise. Composer Daniel Pemberton used the sound of an elephant as the base for the noise. According to the filmmakers, they wanted the noise to be frightening, but also have a sense of sadness.
When Jefferson is scrolling through his phone contacts, "S. Ditko" is shown as one of the contacts. This is a reference to Steve Ditko, one of the original creators of "Spider-Man" and one of the two men the film is dedicated to.
Daniel Pemberton followed the ambitious lead of the "Spider-Verse" animation by developing an equally intricate score. After all the musical elements had been recorded, they were recorded onto vinyl and then re-scratched into the mix. Pemberton says, "I got a DMC World Scratch champion DJ to scratch all the parts in."
One of the billboards in Time Square is for a film called Clone College, which is a reference to Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's canceled series Clone High (2002), which must have been more popular in this universe.
According to comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis, Miles uses his mother's last name because his dad was a secret agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and wanted to keep Miles safe. By the time Jefferson was no longer an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Miles was too old to change his name.
Shameik Moore, who voices Miles Morales, has been a fan of Spider-Man since childhood. He says, "In fact, when I was a teenager, I wrote in my diary that one day I would play Spider-Man!" He is very proud to be a part of "Spider-Verse" because he says, "It's important to point out that 'Spider-Verse' is the first movie about a biracial superhero, ever. His culture, background and upbringing really makes him a different type of superhero - something we have been eager to see on the big screen for a very long time."
A restaurant named Romita Ramen can be briefly seen. This is a reference to longtime "Spider-Man" artists John Romita Sr. and John Romita Jr., who created "The Prowler" while still a teenager, his first professional work in comics.
Producer Christopher Miller describes the heart of this movie: "One of the key themes of the movie is that we all have powers, and we all need to face up to our responsibilities, regardless of who we are or where we are born."
Phil Lord describes the Aunt May of "Spider-Verse" as "kick-ass and feisty." The filmmakers were actually thinking of Lily Tomlin for Aunt May when they were writing the script, so they were happy when she accepted the role.
Animation has always been a time-consuming art. It can take animators a week to do four seconds of the movie. Because of how involved and sophisticated the animation processes for "Spider-Verse" were, it took a month to do four seconds.
The movie's main villain, Kingpin, is one of producer Phil Lord's favorite characters. He says, "His physical presence doesn't leave room for anything else. He can just stand there, and everything bends to his will, even the camera. His is basically this pure black figure and the most abstracted animated character I've ever seen."
Jake Johnson did an interview with "The Hollywood Reporter" in which he was asked how his character, Peter B. Parker, dealt with a sense of hopelessness. Johnson says, "I think Peter wants someone to remind him how great it is to be Spider-Man, and I think Miles does that for him. It's like losing faith in humanity and then having a kid, and remembering how great all of this is."
Art director Dean Gordon explains how they made the computer-generated animation look more like a comic book: "We broke down gradations and color values into areas and created shorter transitions between them to get a more illustrative feel in the scenes."
Spider-Ham was originally introduced in "Marvel Tails Starring Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham" from 1983. His origin of being a spider bitten by a radioactive pig is true to the comics. The movie leaves out that the radioactive pig in question was May Porker who due to the effects of the radiation believed that the transformed Peter was her nephew instead of her former lab pet.
In the background of the scene in Times Square, there's a billboard advertising "Hi, Hello," an alternate universe version of "Oh, Hello," featuring Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. John Mulaney is the voice of Spider-Ham. Kroll and Mulaney also voice the two lead characters on Netflix's Big Mouth (2017), a show they both produce as well.
Sometimes when comic books go through the printing process, the color offsets aren't aligned perfectly and the resulting image looks out of focus. Imageworks visual effects supervisor Danny Dimian used that idea to "create this illusion that something is printed on the screen."
Head of Story Paul Watling describes the sequence where Miles and Peter are attached to each other during the chase as a "story artist's dream." He says, "The filmmakers weren't pulling any punches. They kept encouraging us to go further, and we pushed ourselves as much as possible. We threw everything we possibly could at them, in terms of camera angles, moving frames, comedic elements, police cars hot on their trail to add this sense of urgency - as well as slapstick elements added on."
In the "Meet Spider-Gwen" movie clip, Gwen says she is "the one and only Spider-Gwen". When her origin is told in the movie itself, she says she is "the one and only Spider-Woman". In the comic book universe, Spider-Gwen is just her solo series' title (therefore, that code-name is used only for marketing purposes) while Gwen uses "Spider-Woman" as her in-universe hero name.
Art directors Dean Gordon and Patrick O'Keefe and their team turned to Cubism to help represent the dimensional quakes. Cubist art often presents a collection of different views all happening at the same time, so it was a natural metaphor for the multiple universes converging in "Spider-Verse."
When Miles is scrolling through his phone, the name "Sara Pichelli" appears. Pichelli is one of the artists who had worked on the "Ultimate Spider-Man" comics with Brian Michael Bendis, creator of Miles Morales.
Some of the characters in the film were modeled after people on the streets, but according to production designer Justin K. Thompson, "Aaron was one of the few times the character resembles the actor that voices him." Thompson says of actor Mahershala Ali, "He has such an interesting face, and he was one of the first actors cast in the movie, so our character designer Shiyoon Kim used his tall, thin physique and his thin long head. Shiyoon walked a fine line between creating a caricature and coming up with a beautiful, original design."
According to a recent "Vanity Fair" article, the filmmakers were already in London scoring the film by the time they had the idea to do a holiday track. Phil Lord didn't know that Chris Pine, who plays Peter Parker in Miles' universe, could sing at first. (He can, as evidenced by 2014's "Into the Woods" or Netflix's "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.") The filmmakers were so blown away by Pine's singing that they immediately rushed into planning the holiday album.
Brian Michael Bendis, who created the comic book version of Miles Morales, credits three things that inspired him to make Miles African-American: his two adopted black children, Barack Obama becoming president, and Donald Glover wearing Spider-Man pajamas on an episode of the TV show "Community."
Co-director on "Spider-Verse" Rodney Rothman told "IndieWire" about how much of the character of Miles actually came from Shameik Moore who voices him. Rothman was "blown away" by one of Moore's early dialogue tests because "...it wasn't about what Miles was saying, it was about how he was performing and how the animators were emphasizing parts of Shameik's voice and the things he wasn't saying."
Spider-Ham's final line, "That's all, folks!" is the tagline of Porky Pig for ending Looney Tunes cartoons (except he says it with his characteristic stutter). Spider-Ham never removes his mask, and the outline of his head and body bear a remarkable resemblance to Porky Pig.
Jefferson is voiced by Brian Tyree Henry. When discussing his acting in an interview with "Essence," Henry says, "I try to bring a well of empathy and compassion to my characters because I don't want them to just live on the screen or have people leave them in the theater, like popcorn. I want you to take them with you."
The Seal of Approval from the Comics Code Authority appeared on comic books for almost 60 years to signify that the comic book's content was deemed "acceptable." Stan Lee often talked about how Marvel wanted to defy the Comics Code Authority so that they could do a Spider-Man storyline about drug abuse. This is often cited as the reason why the code was reviewed and then revised in 1970.
For the release of this movie, Sony and Nike worked together to develop the Air Jordan 1 Origin Story shoes. "Nerdist" reports that the shoes will be available in sizes for the whole family because one of the main themes of the film is that anyone can be a hero.
Director Bob Persichetti wanted to make a movie that looked different than any others before it. He says, "One of the strengths of the comic is that it manages to encapsulate in one image a really succinct, powerful story point, motion, or action. In our process of animation, we tried to achieve that same thing."
In order to illustrate the multiple universes, the Sony Pictures Imageworks technical team developed a camera array that could project seven different angles at once, allowing them to render each image in a different style.
Jake Johnson, who voices Peter B. Parker in the movie, says that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were a big reason that he wanted to be a part of this project. Johnson says, "They are two of the most talented filmmakers working in the field right now. They are so innovative and smart, and when they tackle something like Spider-Man, you know they're going to get it right. This is a property that fans really love, so you want to make sure it's in the hands of people who also love and care about it as much as the fans do."
One day Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were walking on Olvera Street, an outdoor marketplace in historic downtown Los Angeles, and they were stunned by the number of people in Spider-Man masks. This experience partially inspired the film's idea that anyone can wear the mask.
Production designer Justin K. Thompson chose to give this film's Doctor Octopus a distinctive "unrefined" look, rather than the polished metallic arms that Doc Ock traditionally wields. Thompson says, "She's overly excited about the Multiverse and isn't really aware of how crazy she looks."
Spider-Ham's contribution to the scene where all of the Spideys mention who they've lost is now a touching beat of him acknowledging that "you can't always save everybody," but it used to be a joke line about his "Uncle Frankfurter who was electrocuted, he smelt so delicious." It earned a big laugh from early viewers, but they realized it both took viewers out of the heaviness of the scene and hurt Ham's appeal going forward.
The Romita Ramen shop is a reference to John Romita Sr., who was responsible for Spider-Man's iconic muscular and handsome look, reports "Vanity Fair." He was also credited with designing the first Mary Jane Watson.
Composer Daniel Pemberton's score was inspired by the "boldness and the rich color palette" of the film. He says, "I also wanted to make something for Miles that not only reflected his journey, but would give a 13-year old kid the kind of rush I had as a kid seeing films in the cinema."
The Donald Glover scene from "Community" can just be made out on Aaron's television set. Glover ended up voicing Miles Morales in Disney XD's "Ultimate Spider-Man" series. Glover also appeared in "Spider-Man: Homecoming" as a burglar named Aaron Davis. There are multiple universes indeed.
Axel Alonso was the Editor-in-Chief at Marvel at the time the Miles Morales character was developed. Alonso is also biracial and wanted a Spider-Man with a Hispanic last name with which his son could identify.
Danny Dimian, an Imageworks veteran in charge of the visual effects of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), saw the film's creative journey as a natural evolution of what the studio had been able to achieve over the last twenty years.
The filmmakers drew upon the real Large Hadron Collider in Geneva as inspiration for Kingpin's collider in the movie. The Large Hadron Collider is the largest and most powerful collider in the world. It's situated in a tunnel that has a circumference of 17 miles.
The commentary track was recorded a few weeks after Stan Lee's death on November 12th, 2018. They mention that they went to Lee's office to record his vocal work -- he was the only one they went to while everyone else came to their studio to record.
Dr. Olivia Octavius is not the first time there's been a female Doctor Octopus character. "The Hollywood Reporter" explains that the first Lady Octopus was Carolyn Trainer, who wanted to carry on the original Doctor Octopus' plans after he died.
The song that Miles sings is "Sunflower" by Post Malone and Swae Lee. Post Malone's album "Beerbongs & Bentleys" was in the top 10 of "Billboard's" Top R&B and Hip Hop Albums chart for 77 weeks, breaking the record-setting 76 weeks set by Michael Jackson's "Thriller" back in the 1980s.
They enjoyed the use of "Kirby dots" during the collider sequence as they remind of spray paint in addition to honoring their namesake "the great Jack Kirby, king of comic book artists, who would use that as sort of a way to show cosmic energy."
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were excited to take on the "Spider-Verse" project. In an interview they said, "The movie explores the superhero experience from a fresh angle, while dealing with the larger universal themes such as coming of age, taking action, and finding your purpose in this world."
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) marked Spider-Man's debut theatrical animated feature, both from Marvel Entertainment and Sony Pictures Animation. However, Big Hero 6 (2014) was released in 2014, sans Marvel Entertainment's involvement with the project; that film was exclusively a Walt Disney Pictures production in spite of the original property being a Marvel I.P. (intellectual property).
According to "The Hollywood Reporter," a similar version of Wilson Fisk's backstory appeared in "Amazing Spider-Man" No. 197, but in that version Vanessa threatens to leave Wilson if he continues hurting Spider-Man, prompting Wilson to let Spider-Man go.
Kimiko Glenn, who voices the anime Spider-heroine Peni Parker, knows that anyone can be a superhero. She says, "One of the coolest things about Peni Parker is that you wouldn't expect this tiny, happy and energetic young girl to be the heroic pilot of this hulking super bot."
Around the time that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were toying with the idea of doing a new animated Spider-Man movie, Lord visited a retrospective in New York about contemporary pop artist Jeff Koons. Koons' art encouraged Lord and Miller to come up with their fresh perspective on the Spider-Man story for "Spider-Verse."
"Spider-Verse" played with lighting, or lack thereof, as another way of making the film seem more comic-book-like. Art director Patrick O'Keefe says "We used dark shapes, with just glimpses of light to describe them. It really extended the range of what we could (and did) put up on the screen."
The "Portland Press Herald" reports that Brian Tyree Henry, voice of Miles' father, has a deep connection to the characters that he plays. He says, "These characters need a voice and I don't want to be a person to lie on them. It's sounding all deep but it's true. I have a special connection to every single character that I've been blessed to touch and I just want to make sure that I don't lie on their journey, that I don't lie on who they are, that I don't lie on their hearts."
According to "The Hollywood Reporter," Alchemax entered the Spider-Man universe in the first issue of "Spider-Man 2099" as an evil corporation that has its hands in everything. Alchemax even has its own city with its own police force.
The animation styles present throughout the film mean it took on average four times as long to animate a second than it typically does for CG animated films. "The crew was larger, I believe, than any other crew that's been assembled for a movie."
Note the entries for "B Bendis" and "Sara Pichelli" in Miles' phone contacts. Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli created the African-American/Puerto Rican teen comic book character Miles Morales in 2011.
Actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld enjoyed her experience doing voice work for Spider-Gwen in this movie. She says, "I love the collaborative nature of animation, where the visuals are being created in real time during the voiceover."
Six actors from "Spider-Verse" have also lent their voices to the acclaimed Netflix series "BoJack Horseman": Jake Johnson (Peter B. Parker), Brian Tyree Henry (Jefferson Davis), Kimiko Glenn (Peni Parker), Liev Schreiber (Wilson Fisk), Natalie Morales (Miss Calleros), and Lake Bell (Vanessa Fisk).
One of them thinks the Spider-Man dance scene from Spider-Man 3 (2007) is "bad" but he's quickly peer pressured into calling it "great" instead. The joke riffing on it was included at Rothman's insistence.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
At the beginning of the film, the famous phrase "With great power comes great responsibility" is actually said by Cliff Robertson, who played Uncle Ben in the original "Spider-Man" trilogy with Tobey Maguire. The quote was pulled from "Spider-Man" archival footage, as Robertson passed away in 2011.
Amongst all of the alternate Spider-Man suits in the deceased Spider-Man's underground lair are the Iron Spider suit from the "Civil War" comic arc and the suit from the Sony's PlayStation 4 game with the white spider detail.
There are several visual recreations of scenes from the various live action adaptions of Spider-Man. These include the famous upside down kiss from Spider-Man (2002), the train stopping sequence from Spider-Man 2 (2004), Peter Parker's infamous finger guns strut scene from Spider-Man 3 (2007) and an altered version of the ferry splitting sequence from Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017).
The Peter Parker of Miles' universe being blonde is a reference to Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider and a clone of Peter Parker, who for a time took over as Spider-Man and even dyed his hair blonde during his time as Spider-Man.
When Kingpin's Super Collider is activated for the first time, it shows the various dimensions each of the Spider-people come from. This includes; E-1610 (Miles' Universe), E-616 (Peter B. Parker's Universe), E-65 (Gwen's Universe), E-8311 (Spider-Ham's Universe), E-90214 (Spider-Man Noir's Universe), and E-14512 (Peni Parker and SP//dr's Universe). Additionally, these are the same designations for the different dimensions in the comics.
Though brief in his appearance in the post credits scene with Spider-Man 2099 and the 1967 Spider-Man, this film marks the first appearance of J. Jonah Jameson in a Spider-Man film since Spider-Man 3 (2007).
As the collider is being destroyed, Miles looks into the closing hole and sees multiple web like figures closing in on each other. This is the Web of Destiny: the Tapestry of the Universe, an extra-dimensional force that binds all the Spider-People together. Meaning that Miles is the only Spider-Person to get a glimpse of the truth of the multi-verse.
The first Spider-Man related movie to feature Gwen Stacy as her super heroine ego, Spider-Woman (Spider-Gwen). While Gwen Stacy did previously appear in the movies Spider-Man 3 (2007), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), & The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), she however never gained spider powers or became Spider-Woman in any of the live action movies.
The number 42 is referenced multiple times throughout the film, which takes place in Brooklyn, NY. New York was formerly home to Brooklyn Dodgers (now the Los Angeles Dodgers) and legendary baseball player, Jackie Robinson. Robinson's jersey number was 42.