Sony and Marvel have been working on a sequel to the 2018 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse since 2019 (production began in January 2020), and now, the studios have revealed who’ll be helming the project: a new trio of directors—Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson.
The first Spider-Verse project was also helmed by a trio of directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman (the film was Persichetti and Rothman’s debut). While Dos Santos was originally announced as the director back in 2019, Variety notes that the trio have been attached to the film since the beginning.
Dos Santos has a long list of animated projects that he’s directed: Justice League Unlimited, Avatar: The Last Airbender, G.I. Joe: Resolute, The Legend of Korra, Voltron: Legendary Defender, and now, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which appears to be his first feature film. Thompson also has a long resume working on animated projects, but this is his first time in the director’s chair.
Of the trio, Powers has the highest profile—he wrote five episodes of Star Trek: Discovery and is the screenwriter behind One Night in Miami (for which he earned an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay). This also isn’t the first time he’s been in the director’s chair: he co-wrote and co-directed Pixar’s Soul (along with Pete Docter).
Like the prior film, Avi Arad, Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Amy Pascal, and Christina Steinberg are onboard to produce the project. Lord, Miller, and David Callaham wrote the screenplay.
The original film was set in an alternate universe and followed a young student in Brooklyn, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), who is bitten by a spider and discovers that he has special powers like Spider-Man (Chris Pine, who is soon after killed in a fight). When the Kingpin activates a super-collider hidden underground, he accidentally pulls several other Spider-beings into Miles’ universe: Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Man Noir (Nicholas Cage), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), and Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), all of whom have to team up to stop Kingpin before he accidentally destroys the universe. The film was praised for its innovative animation style and story.
In a statement, Lord and Miller praised the work of their directors:
“We are so lucky to have Joaquim, Justin and Kemp on the ‘Spider-Verse’ team. We are huge fans of Joaquim’s work — he makes his characters so heartfelt and unique, and he can tell an emotional story with an action sequence the way a musical does through a song. Justin is a maverick filmmaker who relentlessly pursues visual innovation and surprise but always in support of the emotional storytelling. Kemp’s work is incisive and ambitious and funny — with a writer’s wisdom and a director’s heart — he just knows what matters in every scene. All three of them elevate every project they take on, and they are certainly raising our game. We honestly just like them and want to be their friends and we’re hoping working on this movie together for the next few years will totally make that happen.”
Sony hasn’t said what the story will be about, or if any of the characters from the prior film will appear (presumably, Miles will), but it’s still a little ways out—it’s set to hit theaters on October 7th, 2022.