There's no doubt about it – Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has one of the best endings in cinema this year. Jaws dropped on the floor when it was revealed that not only is Miles Morales in the wrong dimension having been sent to Earth-42, but the Miles here is actually the villainous The Prowler. Since Spider-Man doesn't exist in this world, the city is riddled with crime, with Earth-42's Miles being right at the center of it as the villain.
It's a great twist which is not only shocking, but neatly sets events up for upcoming sequel Beyond the Spider-Verse. Surprisingly, though, that wasn't part of the original plan for the finale, as director trio Kemp Powers, Joaquim Dos Santos, and Justin K. Thompson revealed in an interview with GamesRadar+.
When asked about the film's ending, Powers explained that initially in this dimension it was Uncle Aaron (who is still alive in Earth-42, with Miles' dad Jeff dying instead) that was The Prowler, not Morales. However, during a Zoom meeting quite a way into production, the new idea suddenly struck Powers, who couldn't wait to share it with his colleagues.
As he told GamesRadar+: "So, Aaron was still The Prowler and this is rather far along into development too. I remember we had a meeting over Zoom and something just came to me – that Miles should be The Prowler. I felt bad as someone was presenting, but I texted the guys and we were all so excited. There was already a design for that Miles, but we sent our wonderful designer back to the drawing board, asking him to redesign the character as The Prowler.
"It's like a Pottersville or It's A Wonderful Life kind of moment. It was always thematically the same – if Miles never got powers, what would become of him – but the original wasn't as impactful. We had Miles as Aaron's sidekick, his Robin, but him becoming The Prowler evoked a whole different emotion. When we screened the original, people wouldn't get it, they just saw another Miles with cornrows and wondered what the deal is. But with that Prowler twist, that made people go, 'Woah,' as it's symbolic of so much. And after that, we threaded in all the references to The Prowler throughout the movie."
Co-director Santos added that once they heard Powers' idea, there was "no debate" that they had to change the ending to feature that twist. And they were certainly right to do so, as it really does deliver an incredible gut punch. Now, it will be interesting to see how the team follows up on that with Beyond the Spider-Verse!
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is out now to buy or rent on digital.