Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, as Mashable’s Kristy Puchko wrote, has reminded us of “the wonders animation can bring — even to the overexposed superhero genre.” Behind the scenes, however, animators describe unsustainable working conditions that may even delay the next movie, Beyond the Spider-Verse.
In a report by Vulture, four pseudonymous Spider-Verse animators say the relentless revisions(opens in a new tab) on the project delayed the release and made 100 animators quit. The release of Spider-Verse was pushed from April 2022 to October 2022, then again to June 2023.
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It’s typical that there are major changes with an animated story — in the early stages of development and storyboarding. Apparently, writer-producer Phil Lord (who wrote and produced the movie with his creative partner, Chris Miller) fiddled with the movie during the layout stage, when the first 3-D storyboard renderings are created. This led to a three-to-six-month time period where the animators couldn’t work, they say, which then caused them to work 11-hour days, seven days a week, for more than a year, to make up for the lag.
Lord allegedly demanded approval for every sequence of the film, as well. “Phil does have good ideas. He speaks creatively really well, and listening to Phil can be inspiring. But the process is not inspiring,” one animator claimed to Vulture. They described an analogy of Lord pulling together construction workers to make a building without a blueprint, then making them scrap work and start over.
These animators also doubt that Beyond the Spider-Verse will be released in March 2024 as announced. Another told Vulture, “There’s no way that movie’s coming out then.”
Sony executives that spoke toVulture denied these claims about Lord’s management style. They also declined to comment on whether Beyond the Spider-Verse will be delayed.