Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, the first Spider-Man movie to deal with our fracturing multiverse, is one of the best superhero movies of the modern age. And its sequel is one of the most anticipated, which makes news of its understandable delay all the harder to bear.
But while we won’t be seeing the movie anytime soon, we do have their titles—yeah, both of them. Speaking Monday at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller announced the official titles of the two Spider-Verse sequels: Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse and Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse.
That’s not all. The movie will take place in six universes and 240 characters. Those characters include Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, a Da Vinci-inspired Vulture, Miguel O’Hara aka Spider-Man 2099, Jessica Drew (who will be played by Issa Rae), and roughly 230 more characters. For comparison, there were approximately 40 characters in 2018's Spider-Verse.
“You can’t make a movie that was based on being unique and groundbreaking and then just do the same thing over again,” said Miller. “So we had to, you know, try and break new ground. And in so it was way bigger, is the largest crew of an animated movie ever.”
“That’s true,” added Lord. “We broke a record on the first Spider-Verse. The original record was five hundred or so crew members. The first spider has broken with eight hundred. This movie has a thousand people working on it.”
Lord and Miller were on hand to share actual footage of the film, and so, too, was A.V. Club Film Editor Todd Gilchrist who recapped the footage for you, our dear reader:
Lord and Miller introduced the footage indicating that Spider-Gwen’s footage was “more painterly,” reflecting her world. The footage didn’t consistently bear that out but only because what was screened was conspicuously unfinished—a detail that Lord and Miller emphasized multiple times. Nevertheless, Gwen arrives home to find her father, George, bent over the sink and they exchange strained pleasantries before he announces that the police may have made a break in locating the “Spider-Girl.” His walkie talkie announces a crime in progress at the Guggenheim involving Adrian Toomes, also known as The Vulture, and he makes a quick exit. She thumps open the bass drum in her bedroom, revealing her Spider-suit, before departing to fight Vulture.
Her father is already there, but she takes him out of harm’s way with a blast of web fluid that sticks him to his police car. Inside the Guggenheim, Vulture looks like he’s leapt to life from Leonardo Da Vinci’s flying machine diagram, complete with fluent Italian. She begins to battle him, but gets interrupted when another hero intervenes—Spider-Man 2099, although he doesn’t announce himself. He and Gwen bicker as they trade blows with Vulture until he “calls for back up” via his electronic assistant, who mocks him lightly. As the fighting intensifies, a portal opens in the sky, and Jessica Drew flies through it, riding atop a motorcycle that could initially be confused for one from Akira if you weren’t paying attention. Drew introduces herself to Gwen, announcing her very visible five-month pregnancy as she races back into battle. Gwen contributes to the fight, prompting Jessica to suggest to 2099, whom she only refers to by his alter ego Miguel, to invite young Gwen to join their makeshift superhero crew. He refuses, but all three help bring down Vulture, saving onlookers in the process by interlacing their respective webs to stop a helicopter from crashing.
Gwen, tender from the fight, fails to recognize that her father got free from the web she spun and snuck up on her. Despite her open admission that she ran out of web fluid, he calls her “armed” and attempts to apprehend her. She removes her mask, revealing her real identity to him, and her father is stunned; he cannot process what’s happening, and in lieu of engaging her as her father, he begins reading her Miranda rights. Before he can finish, Jessica and Miguel wrap him up in a “digital” web of some sort, and they invite her to come along in what appears to be some sort of universe-hopping adventure to stop odd criminals who have been sucked out of their own worlds.
The final scene involved Miles running late to a meeting with his guidance counselor. His parents had already arrived, and were making excuses for him, but when he arrives, the counselor dresses him down for his absenteeism (his mom, Rio, is especially upset that he’s been MIA in his Spanish classes) and suggests that the best way for him to prepare for going to college is to essentially lean on the narrative of his family’s race, ethnicity, and economic status—none of which she characterizes entirely accurately, but she argues it will help him get into Columbia University, the best school to further explore the science and math in which Miles excels. His mother is more concerned that Columbia is too far away from their Brooklyn homestead, but when Miles’ Spidey sense starts tingling, he runs out to see where the trouble is, and his father quickly follows in service of his role as a police officer.
Originally scheduled to be released this October, the film was delayed (probably because there are 240 characters in it). Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse will (hopefully) swing into theaters next year, with its sequel, Beyond The Spider-Verse, debuting in 2024.