While Marvel Studios is finally starting filming on its co-production with Sony Pictures on a live-action Spider-Man reboot, Sony is simultaneously continuing to forge ahead with Spider-Man projects of its own. Back in April 2015, Sony announced plans for an animated Spider-Man movie to be “masterminded” by The LEGO Movie and 21 Jump Street filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Development continued, but Lord and Miller were subsequently courted to direct a Han Solo Star Wars spinoff for Lucasfilm, so that left the director’s seat on this animated Spider-Man movie open—until now.
Sony Pictures Animation announced today that Bob Persichetti will make his feature directorial debut on the untitled animated Spider-Man feature, which is currently slated for release on December 21, 2018. Lord and Miller are still producing the project alongside Amy Pascal and Avi Arad, with Sony curiously noting that the sole screenplay credit for the film goes to Lord. Although, between producing The LEGO Movie 2 and a number of other LEGO Movie spinoffs as well as a 23 Jump Street/Men in Black crossover and the Han Solo movie, perhaps Lord and Miller opted to split duties to cover more ground, with Lord focusing on the screenplay for this animated Spider-Man feature.
Whatever the case, Persichetti makes for an interesting hire. He has plenty of experience in the animation realm, working in the animation department on films like Hercules, Tarzan, and Shrek 2, and he served as the head of story for Puss in Boots and The Little Prince in addition to writing the screenplay for Prince.
Details on this new Spider-Man film are under wraps, but recently rumors have swirled that it may be the first movie to focus on someone other than Peter Parker in the title role—namely Miles Morales, the first non-white Spider-Man. This would not only allow this film to further distance itself from the Marvel/Sony live-action reboot, but offer a unique story opportunity in presenting a Spider-Man whose origin audiences haven’t already had ingrained into their heads. It’s a win-win!