When sitting down to speak to the stars of the latest superhero blockbuster Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, GamesRadar+ quickly learns that it isn’t quite clear where Shameik Moore ends and Miles Morales starts. Which is something actor Moore recognises himself, telling us: “I feel so many parallels with Miles, which is why I feel like I was chosen to play him. His heart is the same heart that I have.”
Moore returns to voice the Wall-Crawler in the critically acclaimed sequel which sees Miles reunite with Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), only to be catapulted across the Multiverse on an epic adventure. Just like with previous feature Into The Spider-Verse, the relationship between Miles and Gwen is at the beating heart of this sequel, especially as we see it grow and become more complex. To help capture this the actors recorded their lines together for the first time, a process Moore describes as being incredibly rewarding. He also adds that he sees parallels between their real relationship and the bond between their characters: “We did a lot of work together on it and working with Hailee is just so easy. She loves to laugh but is also very professional, being a lot like Gwen as she’s playful but she ain’t to be played with. It’s inspiring to work with someone like that. You know, it’s just like how Miles is with Gwen. Hailee just did a billion streams on one of her records [Let Me Go] which is so inspiring to me, which is like Gwen popping up with a watch from another dimension, impressing Miles. It’s the definition of anyone can wear the mask, it just takes that leap of faith. Seeing those parallels between Hailee and myself has been quite the honor.”
Expanding the Spider-Verse
Gwen introduces Miles to a whole Spider Society, an elite team of Spider-People tasked with protecting the existence of the Multiverse. That strike force is led by the one and only Miguel O’Hara, a.k.a. Spider-Man 2099, voiced by the ever brilliant Oscar Isaac. As we see in the movie, Miguel and Miles don’t see eye to eye, having different philosophies when it comes to what role Spider-Man should play. However, despite being positioned as the antagonist of the story in the film’s marketing, Moore is keen to emphasize that he doesn’t see Miguel as a villain: “We all have a duty as humans to follow a moral compass, to do what we feel is right - and what feels right to you might not feel right to me. That might cause a little friction, hence Miguel and Miles. But Miguel is there to do what Miguel is supposed to do - he’s not the bad guy, he’s just not on the same side of the fence as Miles is. And that’s okay, that’s good, it goes back to inclusivity. We can’t shun Miguel, he’s there for a reason as is Miles. That’s what makes the Spider-Verse what it is - we need more than Miles, we need more than Miguel, we need more than Peter because together, that’s when we really make a difference, that’s when true impact and change comes. Power lies in unity.”
That Spider-Verse is continually growing, with this movie featuring around 280 Spider-Man variants at the filmmakers’ count. These are voiced by a rather stacked cast that includes cameos from the likes of Jack Quaid, Andy Samberg, and Yuri Lowenthal. The question is then, who will be joining the Spider-Verse next? Moore reveals that he already has some ideas as to which celebrities should join the ensemble: “Snoop Dogg would be sick. Maybe even Rhianna would be really cool. Conor McGregor could be really interesting.” An MMA fighter Spider-Man, now he would kick some serious ass.
The battle has just begun
If we do get these new additions Moore best hope that they are on Miles’ side as he has quite the battle on his hands having to face off against both supervillain The Spot (Jason Schwartzman) and Miguel. The latter really does awaken something in Miles as O’Hara tells him he should never have become Spider-Man, which goes against everything our young hero believes in. It fires him up, as seen when Miles says the film’s stand-out line: “Everyone keeps telling me how my story is supposed to go. Sorry, I’m gonna do my own thing.”
This scene is not only hugely impactful but a crucial turning point for Miles, which Moore discovered upon reading the script. He was therefore determined to absolutely nail this moment, playing around for months with how to perfectly deliver the line: “I feel like we were on that for a couple of months. There are variations of that line, there’s definitely a more aggressive one and light-hearted ones. It really has to come from the right place as representation, assertiveness, and sticking up for yourself is important. But also Miles isn’t menacing, although when I first read it I think I might have been a little more menacing. You just had to play with that, the dynamic of somebody telling you you’re not this and you’re not that, beating you down, pounding you down, holding you back.”
The next chapter
We will see Miles’ fight against Miguel continue in the next chapter Beyond The Spider-Verse, which is currently due for release in March 2024. Naturally Moore has to hold his cards close to his chest, but he did tease a bit about what we can expect from the upcoming movie: “You can expect it to be progressive, we are setting those precedents now. You can expect twists and the third movie is probably going to be a lot pacier. It felt like at the end of this one we were about to get to some good stuff, so it’s going to get real Spider-Man like.”
For now though we can just enjoy Across The Spider-Verse over and over again, which is exactly how Moore recommends you watch it, as he concludes: “It’s definitely a movie you have to see a few times to really get the meat of it. It’s like looking at a painting, every time you come back to it you see something new as it’s so textured.”
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is available to buy on digital platforms.