Across the Spider-Verse is set to be one of the most anticipated films of 2023, as Sony Pictures Animation attempts to strike lightning twice, following up on the uber-beloved Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
The film follows Miles Morales, played by Shameik Moore, as he traverses the Spider-Verse and "[starts] to find out where his place in the world is."
It is expected - and has been showcased - to be a massive film, but one animator who worked on the title teased that it could have been even bigger, like Endgame big.
Across the Spider-Verse Compared to Endgame
In an exclusive interview with The Direct's Klein Felt, senior character animator on Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Ere Santos, revealed that the film was originally an Avengers: Endgame-like conclusion to the Spider-Verse franchise.
Santos remarked that upon starting work and getting initial pitches on the movie, it was assumed this and the upcoming third Spider-Verse film was going to be one "two-and-a-half-hour" movie:
"[We were asking] 'Wait, so this is what a two-and-a-half-hour movie?' This is a really large story that they're telling. And with all the arcs that they wanted to put in, we were just thinking this was going to be an intense, quick, fast-paced, high-energy movie."
He noted that the producers were initially "planning [some] Endgame-esque stuff" for the Into the Spider-Verse sequel:
But it would have been good. It would have been like, what they were planning was gonna be like 'Endgame'-esque stuff. Like it was huge. And what they're planning is still huge.
When Across the Spider-Verse was then delayed and given a Part One moniker (which was eventually taken away), the team realized they could "[spread things] out" and "[give everything] that breathing room [the team] felt that [the movie] really needed:"
But then kind of spreading it out and into two gives it that breathing room we all felt that it really needed to kind of go, 'Okay, what do you what do we need to set up in the second movie? And how can we resolve it in the third movie? Or not?' I don't know. We'll have to see."
He lamented that "at the beginning, [the film] was insanely ambitious." Post- delay it's still "super ambitious," but no longer did the animation studio need to "try to fit two movies into one:"
"It was a really ambitious movie, and at the beginning, it was insanely ambitious, versus what it is now. It's still super ambitious, but it was like trying to fit two movies into one essentially. But now things can breathe a little bit more."
Santos also went into what it was like finding out about the delay, saying that "it didn't surprise [them]. But it did surprise [them] at the same time:"
"At the time, the entire production was really fun and exciting, but also challenging at the same time. And a lot of that kind of came from things constantly changing, the release date being one of them. We expected it as if you are supposed to finish something in a specific amount of time and you've not gotten close to there and you aren't going to finish it without insane amounts of crunch. But it didn't surprise us. But it did surprise us at the same time."
Can Fans Still Expect Spider-Verse: Endgame?
As Santos noted above, just because Endgame-like plans were a part of the Spider-Verse sequel before it was split into two, does not mean it is still not in the cards. While, at one point, a jam-packed single-movie conclusion was initially planned, that has now become two more leisurely-paced animated blockbusters.
But nothing seems to have changed on a story front because of this move. It will be the same epic conclusion, just drawn out over the course of two films.
This will allow characters like Miles, Gwen, and Peter to develop even more, storylines to be fleshed out, and moments for everyone (including the animators working on the film) to breathe.
As has been evidenced in the small teases from Across the Spider-Verse, this is going to be a Multiversal story for the ages. And if audiences can expect a story as sprawling as this one in the second movie, one can only imagine what could come in the eventual third film.
Across the Spider-Verse hits theaters on June 2, 2023.