When the Sony-Marvel animated juggernaut Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won for Best Animated Feature, directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman and producers Chris Miller & Phil Lord took the stage and before they could thank the masterminds behind the Marvel webslinger, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko they were interrupted by music playing them off the stage. When the quartet came backstage to talk to the press, they took the opportunity to honor the comic book legends.
Bob Persichetti said that the film reflects the essence of the duo’s artistry and that the play-off music started on stage before they could thank Lee and Ditko. He profusely thanked them and credits the film’s message of being “positive and making a difference in the world” is directly from Lee and Ditko. Persichetti adds that the two are the force that drives the belief that all of us have the capacity to be heroes.”
The forward-thinking animated feature moves the needle for inclusivity — more than many of the other films of 2018. The character of Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) marks the first Afro-Latino superhero and Lord says he and everyone else are proud of the character and his heritage and that it is an “interesting dimension of the character” that can add more to his narrative in possible sequels.
Ramsey, the first black man to win for Best Animated Feature, recognizes that there is a huge responsibility when it comes to representing Morales’s heritage authentically. “All of us deeply felt the importance of this,” he said. “Miles had a lot of back-ups — we knew how important it was going to be and show kids to be their best selves no matter who they are.”
Lord said they made so many important choices when it came to Morales, but giving him a tight, loving family was paramount and “the rest fell into place.”
Overall, the filmmakers celebrate the fact that Spider-Verse connected with audiences from a diverse and inclusive group of creators that is reflected in the film itself.
“To feel like you affected someone’s life one way or another,” said Miller, “it’s a very magical thing and we don’t take that lightly.”