Spider-Verse 2 Director Admits His Big Concern With Gwen Stacy's Opening

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Across the Spider-Verse, Gwen Stacy

Following Sony Pictures' successful run with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, director Kemp Powers addressed one concern he had about the film's opening that featured Gwen Stacy.

Narrated by Hailee Steinfeld, the opening sequence in Spider-Verse 2 gave fans some of Gwen's origin story, including her tragic relationship with Peter Parker and her father before she cut herself off from people closest to her.

This only included a short mention of Shameik Moore's Miles Morales at the very beginning before they reunited, setting up the teenage Spidey for an even crazier story as they learned just how big the Multiverse truly was.

Spider-Verse 2 Director on Gwen Stacy's Opening

Gwen Stacy, Miles Morales Across the Spider-Verse opening scene

In a chat alongside Spider-Verse 2 editor Mike Andrews, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse director Kemp Powers discussed scenes they spent extensive time on during the film's production. 

Speaking with Deadline, Andrews commented that the film's Gwen Stacy opening sequence was one of the toughest to finish:

Andrews: "I have to say, the one scene I spent the most time on and was probably the most entrenched in from day one… It was one of the first things I worked on…"

Powers: "Let me guess. I wanna see if I guess right. Guggenheim?"

Andrews: "Close. What comes before Guggenheim? It’s the opening. And it’s also the shortest sequence in the whole thing. I was working on that in the mix stage. I was working on that from very beginning to the mix stage. And it’s very much an editor’s playground, that scene, because it’s fast cutting, and crazy visuals, and it’s all to music, and very rapid fire, and it’s got narration."

Powers even noted how many changes that scene went through during production, explaining that "it got blown up a lot" when he and the team felt good about what was being developed:

Powers: "It changed a lot. Very few scenes change as much… I remember early on, years before the movie was done, feeling like, ‘This scene feels good. I think we got it.’ And then it got blown up a lot."

Andrews: "That happens a lot."

Powers: "Yeah, but I mean that one in particular was kind of unbelievable how the number of iterations that one went through."

Andrews reflected on numerous chats he had with his editing crew, looking back on how he and Powers discussed "how the first 10 or so minutes was Miles-free" and the way nobody really expected the film to start so heavily on Gwen Stacy:

"I mean, every time I told my edit crew, 'Hey, I got another version of 150, it was called,' they just couldn’t believe it. They’d be like, 'You’re still working on that thing? Wasn’t it done? Why isn’t it done?' But we had to keep changing it story-wise, because… And this is one of the things I wanted to talk to you about, when we first got on the movie, and we first had that interview, you and I talked about how the first 10 or so minutes was Miles-free, and it was all Gwen. It was Gwen’s story and it was a weird way to start the movie, and I don’t think anyone expected it. And that’s what made it work and I think that’s what I made it win. I think we all sort of had these weird things about it like, 'Oh, this is kind of great. We don’t see Miles for the whole first reel.'"

With Spider-Verse 2's main character, Miles Morales, not being seen in the entire opening sequence, Powers grew concerned that his absence would cause audiences to "feel like it's not Miles [Morales'] movie."

This made him worry that he  would "do a disservice to the character," although he saw how "Gwen’s story [did] so much of the table setting" for Miles' own adventure through the rest of the film before he appeared on screen:

"Well yeah, you worry people are gonna feel like it’s not Miles' movie, which it still very much is Miles' movie, but you don’t wanna do a disservice to the character at all. And we were concerned about that until the very end. But a lot of it… Gwen's story does so much of the table setting for the journey that Miles is gonna go on, and I think that's… I like to believe that, in the end, the reaction of audiences proves out that we did the right thing by holding onto that and using that Gwen table-setting intro to Miles' movie, because I don’t hear anyone saying that the movie lost Miles."

Andrews also gave credit to the test audiences that saw this film, just as they did for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Those audiences told the crew "what was wrong with the movie and what was right with the movie" after early screenings so the crew could find out what worked:

Andrews: "Yeah, and we reached that point with preview audiences, which are of course so valuable in telling us, I guess, what was wrong with the movie and what was right with the movie. And we realized, 'Oh, it’s actually working and people are not bothered by that.' And I think we did one last pass where we wove enough hints of Miles into that first reel. She thinks of him a few times, she talks about him at the beginning, and some of those things weren’t there for a while…"

Powers: "Yeah, you do actually now, in the final version, you do see him. When she thinks about him, there he is. So yeah, that’s true, that wasn’t really there."

How Will Gwen Stacy Evolve in Spider-Verse 3?

After Gwen Stacy took center stage in the opening moments of Spider-Verse 2, she's now on her way to an even bigger adventure alongside the rest of the Spider-People in Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse.

While many are surely wondering whether she and Miles will become the next classic comic-book-movie couple, she has plenty of action to look forward to on her own as well.

It's already been teased that Gwen will meet multiple different Variants of herself in the next movie the way Miles did in Spider-Verse 2, giving her an avenue for even more wild character development as she looks for guidance in this changing universe.

But with star Hailee Steinfeld noting that she hasn't recorded any of her material yet for the next outing, it could still be a long wait for fans anxious to see what happens after Spider-Verse 2's massive cliffhanger ending.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is now available for digital purchase, and it's streaming on Netflix as well.

Release Date
June 02, 2023
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.