‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Sequel Snares New Directing Trio (EXCLUSIVE)

By Adam B. Vary

Popular on Variety

A new directing team has joined the Spider-Verse.

Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers (a current Oscar nominee), and Justin K. Thompson have been tapped by Sony Pictures Animation to direct the sequel to the Oscar-winning animated feature “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

Although Dos Santos’ directing role had been previously reported, the trio have been working together on the project from the start.

Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Amy Pascal, Avi Arad and Christina Steinberg are all returning to produce the project, with Alonzo Ruvalcaba co-producing. “Spider-Verse” director Peter Ramsey will executive produce, along with Aditya Sood.

Lord and Miller are also joining David Callaham (“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”) as credited screenwriters.

“The crew behind the ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ set such a ridiculously high bar, and we’re humbled to take on the challenge of charting the next chapter in the story of Miles Morales,” the directing team said in a joint statement.

Dos Santos and Thompson are both Sony Pictures Animation veterans making their featuring directing debuts with the “Spider-Verse” sequel. Dos Santos’ previous credits include Nickelodeon’s “The Legend of Korra” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” DreamWorks Animation’s “Voltron: Legendary Defender,” Warner Bros.’ “Justice League Unlimited” and “Teen Titans.” Thompson’s work as the production designer for the first “Spider-Verse” film won an Annie Award, and he was also the production designer on Sony Animation’s “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.”

Powers is currently nominated for the Oscar for best adapted screenplay for the civil rights drama “One Night in Miami,” which Powers adapted from his play by the same name. He’s also the co-director of Pixar Animation Studios’ current Oscar nominated feature “Soul,” making Powers the first Black filmmaker to reach director or co-director status at Pixar. “Soul” has already won Producers Guild, Golden Globe, Annie, Critics’ Choice and NAACP Image awards for best animated feature. Powers also wrote on the first season for the CBS All Access series “Star Trek: Discovery.”

The first “Spider-Verse” — directed by Bob Persichetti, Ramsey and Rodney Rothman from a script by Lord and Rothman — was a groundbreaking film in multiple dimensions. It was the first Spider-Man movie to focus on the story of Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), whose parents are Black and Latino, rather than Peter Parker (Jake Johnson). To achieve an aesthetic that evoked a comic book come to life, Sony Animation effectively re-engineered its computer animation systems, and the film’s box office success — earning $373.5 million worldwide — proved that animated films aimed at adult audiences could be major hits. It was Sony’s first movie to win the Oscar for best animated feature, and many consider it to be the best Spider-Man movie ever made.

“We are so lucky to have Joaquim, Justin and Kemp on the ‘Spider-Verse’ team,” Lord and Miller said in a statement. “We are huge fans of Joaquim’s work — he makes his characters so heartfelt and unique, and he can tell an emotional story with an action sequence the way a musical does through a song. Justin is a maverick filmmaker who relentlessly pursues visual innovation and surprise but always in support of the emotional storytelling. Kemp’s work is incisive and ambitious and funny — with a writer’s wisdom and a director’s heart — he just knows what matters in every scene. All three of them elevate every project they take on, and they are certainly raising our game. We honestly just like them and want to be their friends and we’re hoping working on this movie together for the next few years will totally make that happen.”

The sequel to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is scheduled to open in theaters on Oct. 7, 2022.

Dos Santos is repped by UTA. Powers is repped by Gersh, Media Talent Group, Gang Tyre and ID. Thompson is repped by Verve.