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See the Messy Dry-Erase Board That Guided the Storytelling of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The Spider fam.
The Spider fam.
Image: Sony Pictures

Storytelling is hard. Crafting a strong narrative can require complex planning and a lot of adaptational skills. Also, it helps to have giant whiteboards full of notes.

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At least, it seemed to help Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman who put together the story for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, guided by the complex scribbles of a couple of whiteboards that definitely look like a really messy college presentation. That’s according to Phil Lord himself, who recently showed off the fruits of the team’s whiteboard efforts on Twitter.

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Wow. The most interesting revelation here is that much of the film was apparently shuffled fairly late in production, forcing the writers to figure out how to re-purpose scenes and rebuild the third act in a way that worked. For a product that heavily relies on detailed animation, that is a late time to be making changes to the script. Changes that, apparently, relied on these messy whiteboards to happen.

There are a couple of good lessons to draw from this. One, the creative process is messy and ridiculous and sometimes things happen way later in the process than they should. Two, maybe keep your whiteboards neater than the Spider-Verse team managed.

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Correction: A previous version of this article also credited Christopher Miller, Peter Ramsey for Into the Spider-Verse’s story when in fact it was just Lord and Rothman. We regret the error.


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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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