Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’s creators have revealed one major inspiration for the ending of Sony’s animated Miles Morales adventure in 2023.
- The original ending of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse did not include Gwen’s team of Spider-People, but after test screenings, the creators decided to add them to give a sense of hope for Miles Morales.
- The creators took inspiration from the ending of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, which also included a hopeful and uncertain moment to set up the next film.
- While Across the Spider-Verse has a slightly happier ending with the introduction of Gwen’s team, Miles and his friends still face danger from the villainous Spot and the Spider Society.
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The ending of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was changed after the film’s creators were inspired by the final moments of 1980’s Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. Miles Morales returned in 2023’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Sony’s animated adventure that caught up with Earth-1610’s Spider-Man a year-and-a-half after he first became the web-slinger in Into the Spider-Verse. While the 2018 film brought interdimensional Spider-People into Miles’ world, the 2023 sequel saw Miles himself journey across the multiverse, coming face-to-face with hundreds of Spider-People, comprising Sony’s Spider Society. While Across the Spider-Verse’s ending set up the upcoming sequel, the original plan for the film’s final moments was very different.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’s writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and directors Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson recently spoke to Empire Magazine for its November 2023 issue (currently only available in print), revealing more about their 2023 animated adventure. As well as revealing their reasons for cutting Across the Spider-Verse into two projects, with the story set to continue in Sony’s upcoming Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, the film’s creators detailed their original plan for the film’s dramatic cliffhanger ending. They also revealed exactly why the ending was changed for Across the Spider-Verse’s theatrical release and what inspired the more hopeful final moments.
Gwen’s Team Didn’t Form In Across The Spider-Verse’s Original Ending
After butting heads with Miguel O’Hara, a.k.a. Spider-Man 2099, and the Spider Society in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Miles Morales finally broke free and escaped from the questionable organization. However, his hopes of returning to his home of Earth-1610 were dashed thanks to the origin of the spider that originally bit him in Into the Spider-Verse, which originated from Earth-42. This meant that Miles ended up on Earth-42, a world with no Spider-Man where his alternate self was operating as the Prowler, and though it seemed like there’d be no hope for the young hero, Gwen Stacy put together a team of Spider-People to track him down and save him.
There have been theories suggesting that Earth-42’s Miles G. Morales may actually be a heroic version of the Prowler, fighting as a vigilante against an oppressive system that was allowed to grow because this reality’s Peter Parker never became Spider-Man. While this could hint at Miles Morales and his alternate self actually teaming up in Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, they will still surely need the help of Gwen Stacy’s Spider-Woman and her interdimensional team. Gwen’s team consists of the likes of Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, Peter B. Parker and Mayday, Spider-Man: India, Spider-Punk, and Peni Parker’s SP//dr, forming a formidable team of heroes ready for action in the upcoming sequel.
During their interview with Empire Magazine, Across the Spider-Verse’s creators revealed that Gwen’s team originally didn’t appear, with their big reveal being saved for Beyond the Spider-Verse. However, after test screenings, they realized this wasn’t the ideal way for this chapter of Miles’ story to end. Miller mentioned, “In the case of the ending, it was about giving us a little bit more hope that help was on the way.” The original plan would have meant Across the Spider-Verse ended on a dire note, with Miles captured by his alternate self with seemingly no chance of escape, but Gwen forming her team proves that there is still hope for Miles.
Across The Spider-Verse’s Theatrical Ending Mirrors The Empire Strikes Back
Surprisingly, Lord and Miller revealed that they took inspiration from the ending of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back when changing their ending for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Initially, the connection between these two films seems non-existent, but upon closer inspection, both had the opportunity to end in uncertain moments, yet avoided leaving their audiences in hopeless wondering until the next films’ releases. Gwen Stacy’s team of Spider-People appearing at the end of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse proves help is on the way, while Luke, Leia, C-3PO, and R2-D2 looking out across the stars in The Empire Strikes Back had the same effect. Read Miller’s quote below:
We learned the same lesson that Empire Strikes Back learned. That movie used to end after he finds out the big twist and Han Solo gets taken away. They didn’t have the scene where he gets the new hand and they stare out at the star field. They did that as a reshoot, because they felt like they needed a little bit of hope for the next film. We learned that lesson. We were like, “It’s a cliffhanger, it’s supposed to end on a thing where you’re like, ‘Oh no!’” So it ended with Miles meeting his alternate self and he’s trapped in an alternate dimension, oh no. But the audience really did need that moment of hope. Help is on the way. They’re gonna figure something out. It we were smarter, we would have learned that earlier.
While Across the Spider-Verse’s reveal of Gwen Stacy’s heroic team may have stolen a brilliant moment from Beyond the Spider-Verse, it allows the 2023 film to have a slightly happier ending, though that doesn’t mean Miles and his friends are out of danger. The villainous Spot has acquired enough power to threaten the stability of the multiverse, Miles’ father Jefferson Davis’ life could be on the line to complete one of the Spider Society’s “Canon Events”, and the Spider Society are still keeping their watchful eye over Miles after his escape. This perhaps means that a moment of hope at the end of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was necessary.
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