Miguel O’Hara and Miles Morales are just two of 240 characters in Across the Spider-Verse.Screenshot: Sony
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse won’t be in theaters until next summer but you can now read about its first 15 minutes. Producers and writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller showed up to CinemaCon 2022 in Las Vegas this week to give theater owners a little taste of what’s in store for Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy, Miguel O’Hara and Jessica Drew and yes, that’s confirmation one more Spider-Person fans can expect to see in the sequel. All four appear in the film’s opening two scenes, which we saw, and describe, below.
Before we get to that footage description though, it was also revealed that while Across the Spider-Verse is the title for part one, part two in 2024 is no longer a part two. It’s officially called Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse. People, we have a full on trilogy coming. One that takes place across six dimensions, instead of just the one in the first movie, and has 240 characters in it, as opposed to 40 in the first movie. Lord and Miller called it the biggest animated film ever (because 1000 people are working on it).
Across the Spider-Verse opens on Earth-65, Gwen Stacy’s world. And though I’ll give some brief visual descriptions here, most of the footage was unfinished, so it’s impossible to fully tell what it will look like when it’s done. Earth 65 though seemed to have a very painterly quality. Like someone took a brush and dragged it down across the backgrounds. At least that was the vibe I got.
In that aesthetic, things open on Gwen coming home. Her dad, a hulking man, is doing the dishes and is excited to tell her that he thinks he’s had a break in the Spider-Woman case. He’s a police officer, just like Miles’ dad, and just like Miles’ dad, he’s searching for his child. Gwen feigns interest at Dad’s excitement when he gets a call on the scanner of a possible supervillain event at the Guggenheim Museum. He tells her he thinks this might be the time they catch her. What’s happening is that Adrian Tooms, the Vulture, has taken hostages inside the Museum. Only this Vulture is a little different. He speaks Italian which confuses the cops because they don’t know what he wants. Gwen’s Dad is about to go into the museum when a bunch of webs grab him and pull him back. It’s Gwen. “How’s the hunt for me looking?” she jokes before flying into the museum.
Gwen and Vulture begin fighting. He’s covered in hugely ornate armor that makes him look like a gladiator (think of the final armor in Wonder Woman 1984). As they fight, he starts to do the flashy phase thing that happened in the last movie and Gwen begins to realize that he’s from another dimension. Eventually though, Vulture smashes her to the ground, grabs her and unleashes five massive claws. He’s about to kill her when a bunch of webs catch Vulture’s hand. It’s Miguel O’Hara and the screen tells us he’s from Earth-928. He saves Gwen and she starts joking with him. She asks him what he is, fully knowing he’s a Spider-Person, and jokes that he’s like a big black cat. “Dark Garfield,” she jokes and asks if he wants some lasagna.
The joking goes on for too long though and Vulture gets back up. Now it’s him versus Gwen and Miguel. As they fight, Miguel explains that he’s mad at her for what happened on Earth-610 with Kingpin’s collider. Gwen says she thought they saved the Multiverse, but Miguel says the opposite happened: yhey actually opened a hole in the multiverse so big now people are crossing over more regularly, like Vulture here. As this is all happening, Vulture is winning. So Miguel’s personal assistant Lyla jokes that maybe he should call for help. Miguel begrudgingly agrees to which Lyla says, “I already did.”
Gwen entering Miles’ world.Screenshot: Sony
Enter Jessica Drew of Earth-404, played by Issa Rae. She’s riding a motorcycle and Gwen is very excited to see another Spider-Woman. Especially one…that’s pregnant. Five months, to be exact, Jessica says. Gwen asks if she’ll adopt her and then the fight continues. As it continues, Jessica says to Miguel that maybe they should ask for Gwen’s help. He says no and that she knows why he can’t do that—we don’t know what he’s referring to. The fight flies up and outside of the museum into the air where the police helicopter isn’t sure who is the bad guy, Vulture or Miguel. The battle disables the helicopter, and it begins falling. Gwen uses her spider sense to begin to shoot webs to stop its fall. Miguel shoots his own webs and flies through the cockpit to save the pilots. Then Jessica helps to slow the helicopter down which stops right before it hits the ground. Vulture has been captured and the hostages saved.
Cut to a POV of another character creeping up on Gwen. It’s her dad. He tells her that she’s under arrest for the murder of Peter Parker. He wants her to put her hands up and lay on the ground, so she isn’t sure which to do. Quickly though things get serious. “You don’t understand,” Gwen keeps staying until she realizes there’s only one option. She takes off her mask.
Dad is crushed. He can’t believe it’s his daughter. She explains she wanted to tell him before but couldn’t. “How long have you been lying to me?” he asks through tears. She asks if he thinks she’s a murderer. And after a few beats, he begins to read her her Miranda Rights. Gwen is shocked. Crying. Scared. “Dad are you really this afraid of me?” she asks. But just as he’s about to arrest her, Miguel captures him in a little force field.
“We can’t just leave her here,” Jessica says. “I’m not a babysitter,” retorts Miguel. Gwen tells them she doesn’t know what to do, which is when Miguel throws her one of his multiverse wristband things, and they leave.
Miles Morales!Screenshot: Sony
Cut to Brooklyn, NY, Earth-610. This is Miles Morales’ world. The world of the first movie, so it looks just like that. Miles’ parents are waiting for him at school for a parent teacher conference but, of course, Miles is late. He’s out being Spider-Man. So we see him flying around the city as the parents and teacher wait. Finally he gets back to his room, changes quickly, and says “Hi” to his roommate who lets Miles know he still has his mask on. “Face,” he coyly says. Miles runs through the hallways, crawls on the ceilings, all doing his best to get to the meeting asap. And as this is happening “Guess Who’s Back” by Rakim is playing on the soundtrack.
Miles arrives at the conference and the teacher begins going over his grades. A in Physics, A in Art, A- in English and a B in Spanish. His mother, Rio, is pissed at the last one and Miles explains it’s because he missed a few classes—which just makes her even madder. Six classes, in fact says the teacher, who suggests that Miles is a kid who has to begin to tell his story. A story that will take him to one of the finest science schools in the world, Columbia University. This is news to Mom.
“In Manhattan? That’s too far,” says Rio. Miles is mad because Manhattan is still New York, he doesn’t think it’s too far, and he explains why he wants to go there. He says Columbia has the best quantum researchers on the planet. They’re studying dark matter, and might even be able to travel to different dimensions. Which his dad, Jefferson, jokes “Sounds like a fake job.”
“This is the special thing I want to do,” says Miles. He explains there are literally people who can teach him how to do it, but they’re not in Brooklyn. Just then Miles’ spider-sense tingles. He makes an excuse to leave the meeting. Mom asks if he ordered the cake, he says yes, and leaves. We don’t know what that means. Just then, Dad gets a message on his radio about a potential superhuman event, and he has to go too. That just leaves the teacher and mom. “Your son is lying,” the teacher says. “And I think you know it.”
What is he lying about? Who is coming through to his dimension? Who else is in this movie? We do not know. That’s where the footage ended. Also, it’s important to note that beyond our description, the dialogue and exchanges are way more dynamic and funny. The stuff with Miles’ parents was especially sweet and the moment with Gwen’s dad, devastatingly sad. All in all, that June 2023 release date can’t come soon enough.
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