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Spider-Verse has secret roots in an unlikely video game, reveals comics writer

Spider-Man writer Dan Slott on Spider-Man: Shattered dimensions

Miles Morales swings through Manhattan streets in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Sony Pictures Animation
Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s Oscar victory is a triumph for the talented artists who crafted the animated feature, but it’s also a moment of celebration for the comic creators who crafted the stories that inspired the movie.

And in the case of one of those stories, the original Spider-Verse crossover event, writer Dan Slott spent the evening talking about how he was inspired by a video game: Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.

Slott is credited with the story on the 2010 Activision game, but according to his tweets, developer Beenox had already worked out the skeleton of the plot when he was brought in to flesh it out.

When Slott was done, the idea of a dimension-hopping story involving as many alternate-timeline Spider-Mans as possible was irresistible. He proposed to Marvel editor Steve Wacker that the comics follow the games.

It took a few years for the superhero stars to align — first, for Spider-Man’s 50th anniversary in 2012, Miles Morales co-creator Brian Michael Bendis borrowed Slott’s Peter Parker for the dimension hopping Spider-Men, the first time that Miles and Peter ever met, and a major inspiration for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, as corroborated by Bendis. Then, editorial said that Slott’s Spider-Verse would have to wait until Doc Ock was no longer living inside Peter Parker’s head and pretending to be Spider-Man — look, it was a thing that happened.

But, in 2014, the Spider-Verse crossover hit stands, starring Peter Parker, Miles Morales, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir and some newly created characters like Spider-Gwen and Peni Parker.

The character lineup of Shattered Dimensions — Peter Parker, Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Man Noir, and Spider-Man 2099 — is even (perhaps coincidentally) preserved in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. This, despite the fact that Miles did not yet exist when Shattered Dimensions came out, and the game’s “Ultimate Spider-Man” was basically a younger Peter Parker with the Symbiote suit. Spider-Man 2099 even makes an (end credits) appearance in Spider-Verse.

So, by a strange game of Media Adaptation Telephone, Shattered Dimensions inspired Dan Slott to make Spider-Verse, which was a major source of inspiration for the creators of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

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