One of the talking points around Sony’s Marvel output is how their films fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Remember all that speculation over whether Tom Holland’s Spider-Man would make an appearance in Venom? Sony chief Amy Pascal told us last year that the studio’s Marvel movies exist in the “same reality” as the MCU, to which Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige responded that it was the “perfect answer”.
After watching Sony’s latest — groundbreaking — animated Spider-Man film, in which Mile Morales picks up the Spidey mantle and Spider-People from different universes show up, we asked the film’s trio of directors for their input, which they discussed in some depth here. All illuminating stuff. But we weren’t fully satisfied until we’d got Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s take, producers of Into the Spider-Verse.
A Diaspora of Worlds
“Well, obviously this movie takes place in its own universe,” says Miller. “But also by saying there are many other universes, that’s obviously implying that the MCU’s universe is one variant therein and this is one variant therein. And so all possibilities are equally valid. There’s no reason why they couldn’t just be part of the diaspora of worlds. But that still allows us to do things in Miles’s world, or any of the other worlds that we’ve visited or could visit, that don’t necessarily affect all of the nice things that Kevin [Feige] and the gang are doing over in the MCU.”
Convenient, some might say. But it also gives them a huge amount of freedom – which has to be a bonus for audiences. In this way, Into the Spider-Verse has to be one of the most significant of all the Marvel movies in terms of blowing possibilities wide open.
When the MCU Gets Stale…
“I think that’s why we wanted to talk about parallel dimensions,” says Lord, who also co-wrote the screenplay. “Because it does feel like an apt metaphor for the fact that we keep retelling these stories. And we retell them I think because they’re really powerful myths that a lot of people connect with; that is the reason people tell stories in the first place — to help us answer questions about how can I be my best self, how can I help a young person become their best self? What is our role supposed to be in our society?
“And when we started making the movie, we really started asking, ‘Why is this story so powerful? Why is this character so powerful?’ And I think it’s because anybody can project themselves behind the mask. It goes back to what Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created — a superhero that’s a real human being with real problems and real vulnerabilities. And I think that’s why there are more Spider-People than there are Bat-People, or anything else. It’s just that everyone can connect.”
So do they actually see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse impacting the MCU?
“They seem to have a plan,” says Lord, unconvinced. “I’m not sure they’re sitting there thinking, ‘What are Chris and Phil doing? Let’s copy them.’”
“Right,” says Miller. “Well, maybe when they finally, 20 years from now, start to get stale they might go like, ‘Hey, maybe we should…’”
Lord picks up where Miller tails off: “Maybe they’ll reboot this. Yeah, reboot Spider-Verse! I don’t know, maybe we’re just speeding the plough until it’s only superhero narratives…”
Now, there’s an interesting thought.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is out now in the UK and Australia. It hits US screens on December 14.