Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse Phil Lord And Chris Miller Clarify The Sequel Having Multiple Versions

Costumed Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
(Image credit: Sony Pictures Animation)

Usually when a movie is shown in theaters, everyone around the world is seeing the exact same final product, aside from dialogue being dubbed in other languages, of course. Not so with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, as a few weeks into the sequel’s theatrical run, it was confirmed there were multiple versions of the movie playing on the big screen. Now that Across the Spider-Verse is available for digital purchase, producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller have clarified what was going on with these various tweaks to the 2023 new movie release.

While promoting about their latest movie, Strays, Lord and Miller, who also co-wrote Across the Spider-Verse’s script with Dave Callaham and had previously directed Into the Spider-Verse, spent some time talking with The Wrap going discussing Across the Spider-Verse, specifically how the immediate months leading to the wide release, though a full cut of the movie had been put together, aspects of it were altered in the aftermath. As Miller explained:

It’s a little bit overblown, but the main thing that happened was when we made the international version of the movie, it had to be done almost two months before the movie came out for translations. And there’s a French censor board that has to see the film as it is to decide what the rating of the film is that is used throughout Europe. And so, we had to turn it in by a date almost two months before the movie came out. And we were not allowed to change that version. But the other versions kept improving. And so when people compare it to the most frequently pirated versions [online], those are those first international ones. That was the version that some people who don’t go to the movie theater to see the movie saw and that’s the version of the movie they know the best.

So in order for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse to be presented in Europe, the movie’s team had to put together a complete version that could be played for these French censors, and once delivered, it couldn’t be changed. However, the animators discovered some ways to improve Across the Spider-Verse afterwards, and while that resulted in their preferred version of the movie, a lot of people internationally haven’t been able to see it. Miller continued:

And so the remaining weeks [before release], Sony Pictures ImageWorks was like, ‘There’s a bunch of shots that we would love to keep working on and tweaking and things.’ And there was more sound editing that happened along the way. And so in the intervening weeks, we just kept working on the movie to make it, it was locked for length and whatnot, but there were little changes that were made to improve it along the way.

Phil Lord then added that these tweaks amounted to “mostly improved effects shots and a couple of audio fixes,” as well as “a couple of things that we did for our own vanity here and there.” However, he and Chris Miller consider the movie that’s now available to digitally watch and will soon come out on Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD to be the “posterity edition.” He and Chris Miller also asserted that they they wouldn’t describe this as multiple “versions” of Across the Spider-Verse being out there, which makes sense given that the main story unfolds the same way no matter where you’re watching it. As Lord put it:

No, that never happened. But we did think like, oh, there’s going to be this version that’s playing internationally, and then there’s going to be a domestic version and a posterity version, but it is a multiverse, so it’s alright.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’s theatrical run has arrived at the finish line, and with a $684.4 million worldwide haul, it currently stands as 2023’s fifth highest-grossing movie. If you want to acquire a copy of the sequel in disc form, you’ll need to wait until Tuesday,. September 5. Let’s also not forget how Across the Spider-Verse left audiences with a wild cliffhanger ending that sets the stage nicely for Beyond the Spider-Verse. Sadly, the threequel was recently removed from Sony’s release calendar, so it’s anyone’s guess for now when this trilogy will conclude.

Meanwhile, you can learn what movies will be coming out soon by looking through our 2023 release schedule and 2024 release schedule. Also, don’t forget that streaming-wise, Across the Spider-Verse will first be made available to Netflix subscribers.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.