‘Spider-Verse’: Directors’ Guide to Easter-Egg Spotting

Kim Taylor-Foster
Movies Spider-Man
Movies Spider-Man Marvel

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Easter Eggs are ten-a-penny, as you might imagine. Indeed, the new animated Spidey spectacular is full of references to the wider world of comic books and screen adaptations. Spider-Verse is a film not only about the webslinger and his many different incarnations throughout the Spider-Verse, but also about comic books itself, made by people who genuinely love both artforms. It’s reverential and self-referential.

However, instead of just neatly listing all the Spider-Verse Easter Eggs we spotted, we thought we’d go to straight to the men who put each and every reference in there and ask them to guide you through the film’s myriad hidden riches. Because what’s more fun than finding them yourself? Directors Bob Persichetti, Rodney Rothman and Peter Ramsey share their tips on where to look to find the many Into the Spider-Verse Easter Eggs scattered throughout the film. Keep this handy guide in mind when you head to the cinema, and you won’t miss a thing.

New York Scenes

First of all, Peter Ramsey can’t stress enough that Into the Spider-Verse is completely jam-packed with references.

“There’s probably too many to look out for,” he says. “Can there be too many Easter Eggs? There’s a lot! You know what? I think we need to do a count. We’re doing this supplemental material for Blu Ray and Digital Downloads and we have a bunch of stuff for it, but that might be actually [a great idea]… we should on screen just be like: ‘Bing! Bing!’”

Not a bad idea there, Pete. First up, he begins by directing fans to look at the streets of Manhattan: “Any time there’s a New York street scene — there’s a couple of scenes that take place partially in Times Square, so I would say [look closely].”

Bob Persichetti chimes in with advice for those watching at home: “The other thing that you can tell people to look out for — at the point where they can slow the movie down — every time a train passes the screen, just slow it down and take a look on the train.”

“It’s full of Easter Eggs,” says Rodney Rothman. “We’ve been working on this for years!”

Comic Book Legends

Spider-Man by Bill Sienkiewicz.

Before going any further Peter Ramsey, of course, flags the inevitable Stan Lee cameo.

“Well, you know who sells [Miles Morales] the [Spider-Man] costume? We were very excited to get to do that,” he says. “Animators fought over who got to animate those scenes. It was like the ultimate trophy if you got in. And actually, our Head of Animation, Josh Beveridge, kept those scenes for himself and then we were so busy he had to be like, ‘Here, you can have that one’. And then, I’m like, ‘Hey, man we need those shots and he’s like, ‘I don’t have time; OK, here — you can have this one’. He gave them all away. It was very sad.”

Comic book aficionados will do well to take note of the different animation styles throughout the film, since, as Rothman says, there are several artists that they pay homage to visually.

“One thing I’ll say is that a lot of the people on our movie are big fans of Bill Sienkiewicz, an artist and that comes into play in the movie,” he says. “And, in fairness, I will say that I [only] learned who Bill Sienkiewicz was while working on the movie because so many people were so into him.

“The guy is an amazing artist and I think you can see that we absolutely pulled from some of his really similar comics, especially with Kingpin — and then for our [other] villain. We really looked at the bold choices he made and we were like, ‘Oh, this is an animated film; we can make choices that are that bold.”

Raimi References Explained

Producer Chris Miller, meanwhile, tips us off about Spider-Gwen: “The style of her world is very based on the book by Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi, who does some amazing, beautiful colouring.”

Fans of the Sam Raimi movies will also spot references to the director’s Spider-Man trilogy – there’s the famous upside-down kiss and the train sequence (which Peter Ramsey suggests would feature Andrew Garfield’s Spidey in an alternate universe rather than Tobey Maguire’s incarnation), to name two.

“We were having fun with the idea that this is a story that’s been told many times in comic books and movies,” says Rothman. “It’s been told in movies multiple times, so in referencing the movies maybe we’re having a little fun but we’re also kind of honouring [them].”

Bob Persichetti also reveals that we’ll see a lot of references to comic book artist and Miles Morales creator Brian Michael Bendis. “In adapting Brian Michael Bendis’s Miles, we also tried to honour every single comic that we brought into this movie and use that as the source material and adapt it with reverence in the same way you adapt a novel. So, we’re very much honouring what most real fervent comic fans will recognise.”

Outside Input

Spider-Verse Easter Eggs
Spider-Verse cityscape.

On a Brian Michael Bendis note, Peter Ramsey directs audiences to look closely when Miles attempts to make a call.

“Even on Miles’s phone, there’s a few [Easter Eggs],” he says. “Miles makes a couple of phonecalls — or attempts to make a couple of phonecalls — and he has a really interesting list of contacts in his phone.”

Largely made up of well-known names in the world of comic-books.

Rothman adds, finally: “We contacted a lot of friends of ours who are filmmakers and authors and we asked them: ‘What would you make in an alternate universe?’ Our New York is full of what they said.”

Look specifically in Times Square at the background for billboards of films and plays.

And that concludes this Easter Egg spotter’s guide – let us know what you manage find via our social channels @getfandom.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.