After debuting a new trailer earlier this week, a confident Sony Pictures brought the first 35 minutes of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to a packed theater of New York Comic Con attendees in Madison Square Garden, and Polygon was there.
From Miles Morales’ quirks to the ins and outs of yet another Spider-Man multiverse, these are the big things we learned from this massive preview.
[Ed. Note: This post will contain spoilers for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.]
Miles’ comics origin story is mostly intact
Miles is the heart of Spider-Verse, and the film’s creators have stuck very tightly to his origin story as laid down by co-creators Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, right down to his family’s excitement about him winning the lottery to attend a prestigious Brooklyn high school.
Though he’s been incorporated into the main universe of Marvel Comics now, Miles began his story in a parallel Earth. His uncle Aaron stole a spider from the same experiment that gave Peter Parker his powers, which escaped and bit Miles. When Miles got his powers, he was much younger than Peter, and hid his identity from his mother, Rio Morales, and his father, Jefferson Davis.
Eventually, however, he was inspired by the tragic death of his world’s Peter Parker to assume the mantle of Spider-Man. Like Peter, Miles is strong and agile, he can stick to walls, and he has a “spider-sense” that warns him of immediate danger.
Most of that is still true in Sony’s Into the Spider-Verse — including the part about the Peter Parker of Miles’ universe dying while trying to save people as Spider-Man.
Miles is a graffiti artist
Writers Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman have added a few new facets on Miles, however, including his artistic talent. In the first 35 minutes of Into the Spider-Verse, we see that Miles has an innate talent for expressing himself through graphic art. He doodles dynamic and colorful text onto name tag stickers and slaps them up all over his neighborhood — much to his police officer father’s chagrin.
The Spider-Man plot of Spider-Verse kicks off in earnest when Miles’ uncle Aaron leads him to an abandoned subway station so he can paint a full mural there.
Miles goes to school with Gwen Stacy
While Ghost-Spider herself didn’t appear in the first 35 minutes of Into the Spider-Verse, her alter ego, Gwen Stacy did — or she certainly seemed to. One of Miles’ new classmates is a girl who looks exactly like Gwen Stacy/Ghost-Spider in trailers for Into the Spider-Verse, and, although she tries to hide it, seems to be named Gwen.
In a movie full of parallel universes, it’s possible that the Gwen who goes to Miles’ school isn’t the Gwen who shows up as Ghost-Spider, so we’re hedging our bets. But if they are the same person, we learned why Gwen has an undercut. When his powers first manifested, Miles accidentally got his hand stuck to her hair with his new wall crawling ability, and the two had to be cut free from each other.
The movie’s main Peter Parker is Mid-Life Crisis Spider-Man
The trailers to Into the Spider-Verse have prominently featured an older Peter Parker hanging out with Miles, one with a constant five o’clock shadow who insists that he can’t pay for a burger because he’s “not very liquid right now.”
That isn’t the Peter Parker of Miles’s universe — and it’s not really a Peter Parker that we’ve ever met before, either. This is a Peter who has been Spider-Man for 20 years — he’s saved the city, married Mary Jane, been on top of the world. And then his marriage fell apart, he moved into a tiny apartment, started eating a lot of pizza and grew a beer belly.
“Peter Parker at 40,” is how voice actor Jake Johnson characterized him in on onstage Q&A at New York Comic Con, “Peter Parker who’s a little chubby, Peter Parker who’s a little depressed.”
But Mid-Life Crisis Peter and Miles will have to work together if they want to save New York — and get Peter back to his home universe after he gets throw into Miles’.
Into the Spider-Verse is about Miles being presented with choices
During the Spider-Verse panel, the movie’s creators talked about how making a movie about tons of different Spider-Persons was like a metaphor for the place that Miles is in as a teenager. At the age of 13, and starting a new school, he’s got nothing but potential ahead of him, and what he does with that potential is largely up to him.
Will he be more like his dad or more like his uncle, apply himself to school or apply himself to art, be Spider-Man or not be Spider-Man? And if he is going to be Spider-Man, what kind of Spider-Man will he be? Into the Spider-Verse is going to show him a lot of options — and what he chooses to learn from each Spider-Person he meets will shape the kind of person he is in the end.