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'Spider-Verse' Directors Ask for Respect For Animation and Tease Third Movie

Spiderman: Across The Spider-Verse
directors Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson are back on the promotional trail. This time they're trying to attract votes for the Best Animated Feature Oscar. They'll be hoping to replicate the success of their movie's predecessor- and the momentum certainly seems to be in their favour.

The three have been talking with Variety's Awards Circuit Podcast, where they talked about the challenges facing the animation industry and what we can expect from the third Spider-Verse film.

Dos Santos notes that animation is a big business for the industry."We bring a ton to the table; without it, everybody hurts. I also want to add that doing an animated film shouldn’t be a sacrifice for the artist doing it.” The global animation industry was worth more than $300 billion in 2023, up from $391 the previous year. Despite this fact, animated films are not automatically by the PGA (the Producer's Guild) and is not covered by the DGA (The Director's Guild), and animation writers are not included in the WGA (Writer's Guild).

Powers adds "“I do both [writing and animation], and it’s hard to convince a writer who’s in WGA to write on an animated feature for the simple reason it doesn’t pay into their medical insurance. I hope the industry understands that animation is important to this entire cinema ecosystem. There’s been this great narrative on ‘what’s going to save movies, and when will they come back?’ The truth is that movies can never come back unless animation comes back.”

Thompson wants to see animators invited to join the WGA and DGA."It should have been from the beginning. There are many complicated reasons why it isn’t, but at some point, the WGA, DGA, and studios must accept that. They’re also creating a barrier entry for filmmakers who would love to use this medium but won’t because of the lack of WGA and DGA representation."

As an example of the kind of disrespect animation gets in the industry Dos Santos was not included as a nominee on the Oscar nomination. Nominated along with Powers and Thompson are producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller and Amy Pascal.

On the third movie Beyond The Spider-Verse, the directors were emphatic that the film is "not done" and declined to comment on what percentage complete it is. They warned audiences to "expect the unexpected".They revealed that some ideas cut from the second movie would instead be in the third. For further details, including the release date, we'll just have to wait a bit longer.

In the podcast, the directors talk about their individual paths to animation, their inspiration from What's Opera Doc? to Akira and the audience reaction to that ending.

You can listen to the full podcast here (the interview starts about 0:34 minutes in)