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How hip-hop inspired Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

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Directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman talk us through their lauded animation superhero film



By Gregory Wakeman, Metro

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is unlike any Spider-Man movie that you’ve seen before.

First of all it riffs off the fact that there have now been half a dozen Spider-Man movies. But it also takes a deep dive into the illustrious 56-year-old history of the comic-book and introduces moviegoers to numerous versions of the iconic hero.

But while there’s more than one Peter Parker in the film, Into The Spider-Verse primarily revolves around Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), who days after being bitten by a radioactive spider has to try and stop the villainous Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) from using a Super Collider that has already brought Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Noir (Nicolas Cage) Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and Spider-Ham (John Mulaney) into his universe.

How Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse was inspired by hip-hop

Into The Spider-Verse’s directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman knew just how big of an opportunity it was to tell Morales’ origin story to a mainstream audience. But they also wanted to make sure the film was still as relatable and embraced the themes that have anchored the character since his debut.

“For us at the core of it was obviously Miles’ origin story, and it was a big deal to share that,” Ramsey tells Metro.” But in the course of doing that we wanted to introduce all of the other Spider-people and tease their story.”

“What is consistent is that they thought they were the only ones and they were all bitten. For all of them it became about overcoming a loss, finding something they had inside them, that they didn’t think they had and rising to a challenge. That is the part that keeps on going on and on and allows to be told in many different iterations.”

They don’t dive in too deep into the other origin stories, though. For good reason, too, as they assume that its viewers are well-versed in how Miles’ Spider brethren got their powers. 


“We definitely decided that we wanted to assume that our audience was really smart and really literate about the other movies,” adds Persischetti. “Whether that was in terms of the story or visuals, and we could go a step ahead because our audience was ready to go with us.”

When it came to intricately meshing the stories of Miles, Peter B. Parker, Spider-Woman, Spider-Noir, Peni Parker and Spider-Ham in one giant Spider movie there was one creative reference point and inspiration that the directors kept coming back to.

“Hip-hop is one of the creative pillars and inspirations in our movie and telling Miles’ story,” explains Rothman. “That’s the world that he lives in and it is the world that we live in, this culture where you take old ideas, remix them, and come up with something new and it gains new meaning and holds onto the soul and spirit of the original idea for the original work.”

“I think you see that in our movie, definitely. That you can take something familiar, shuffle the pieces and create a new version that reinstates the most powerful parts of the story in a new and vivid way. You just get all kinds of new energy and freshness from that.”

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is released into theaters on Dec. 14.

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