Michael Andrews, editor of Across the Spider-Verse, discusses how he increased the tension, rhythm, and emotion of the film through editing.

Youtubers and editors Jordan Ohm and Hayden Hillier Smith recently sat down with Michael Andrews, lead editor of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

The interview provided tremendous insight into their collaboration on the production of the Spider sequel. It was essential for a film with three directors, Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, and Kemp Powers, and two screenwriters and producers, Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, who are known for their dexterity.

Before reading on, please note that this article contains serious spoilers for Across the Spider-Verse. If you have not yet seen the film but plan to do so, I suggest you bookmark this article and return to it later.

"Across the Spider-Verse" is a 20-minute scene set-up in which Gwen Stacy, a spider-person from another spider-verse, reflects on key points in the story of "Into the Spider-Verse" while inserting new discoveries from her own world The film opens with a sequence.

According to Andrews, the opening reel was modified during production based on reactions to tests of other scenes that would appear later in the film. For example, there is a very impactful scene in the film in which Mile's uncle Aaron appears. After the initial testing, they realized that the audience did not feel the impact of this character's appearance because they did not remember what happened to him in the first film.

So they went back and added a snippet of the Prowler's story to the opening of the film. Interestingly, rather than reuse the animation from "Into the Spider-Verse," the crew brought Aaron's scenes to life to fit the aesthetic of the re-recording.

"One of the things Phil insisted on was that if you're going to show something from the old film, don't make it look like the old film," Andrews explains. 'We don't want it to look cheap.'

In foreshadowing the later development of Across the Spider-Verse, Andrews said of Gwen's intro: "It's all there if you really pay attention."

Initially, there was to be only one sequel to the Spider-Verse. However, Andrews explained that as development of the sequel progressed, it soon became clear that one film would not be enough to tell the story that had been planned.

"We had been assembling the entire back half of the film very roughly for a long time," he recalled. "We had several previews, and we were like, 'How am I going to fit this into one film...?' "I was having a panic attack. So the next question was, 'Where do we divide it up?'"

He said, "We had a lot of fun."

He said that the final decision to leave Miles literally in the clutches of danger needed to add something to prevent the film from ending up completely depressing. He said, "And the perfect moment seemed to be to leave Miles in agony. 'We didn't want him to feel lost. We wanted him to feel like he was trying to do something, too."

Asked how he preferred the production pipeline to work, Andrews said, "In an ideal studio world, ...... I think the story does their work, kicks to editorial, and they cut the film together. Then it goes over to production, production produces, and you don't change anything. It just keeps moving."

Andrews prefers a less linear, more cyclical system where input can come from anywhere and anyone. He said, "Our approach was, if it needs to change, change it. If it needs to change, change it.

When the host asked how he keeps everything straight in his head with so many artists in so many departments bringing notes and images, Andrews laughed and then explained, "It's insane. There are moments when I think, 'Oh my God. I have a very calm and collected demeanor, and I just kind of ride it out whenever I can.

When sharp-eyed fans noticed a slight difference between the international and domestic versions, conspiracy theories flooded the Internet as everyone tried to figure out why there were two different versions. Lord and Miller later explained that the reason was quite prosaic: they were still working on the final mix of the film after sending the international version to meet a specific deadline. Not surprisingly, this part of the story did not spread across the Internet with the same pace and popularity that conspiracy theories had before it.

Andrews corroborated Lord and Miller's account by sharing a scene in which a large number of Spider-Men run through the web of a single Spider-Man posing in the Iron Cross between two platforms. In the storyboard version, the web breaks and they all fall together. According to Andrews, the gag worked in testing, but the animators sent back another version in which everyone is launched into the air like rubber bands.

"It was a nice, brave effort to embellish it. Then we screened it and it fell flat and we were like, 'Wait, we have to go back to the other one,'" Andrews explained.

"This was at a very late stage, and I think the international version has a [rubber] band [version] in it.

According to him, the film "wasn't finished. I've never worked that deeply [on any other film]. It's a different world now that it's digital than it was before. I'm sure the Sony execs and post-production people were freaking out, but we wanted to use every second we could."

"We were trying to use every second we could," he said.

One of the most memorable scenes in Across the Spider-Verse is the climactic battle on a galloping futuristic train.

According to Andrews, the sequence was originally "a chase, chase, chase, fight, fight, fight when we first got on board. There was a lot of cool action, but what I realized was that while it was all very cool, we lacked character and needed a moment to see what Miles was thinking and reacting to."

To that end, Andrew and his team added close-up shots where the action slows down or stops for a moment, bringing the overall focus to the characters involved.

"In every film I've worked on, I've always had to remember the main character, give him the ball, let him run, focus on him, put him in the center. Sometimes we forget that," he warned.

Another way the staff injected drama into this particular scene was through dialogue. Initially, all of Miles' and Miguel's conversations were to take place in one location. However, the staff realized that by spreading the dialogue between the two locations, it would create a more impactful character interaction. Because many of the characters in the Spider-Verse wear masks, they could add dialogue without having to make too many adjustments to the animation.

"The joy of working on this film," Andrews said half-jokingly, "is that I can put dialogue anywhere a character wears a mask.