Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse introduced a plethora of new characters to the cinematic franchise launched in 2018. Plenty of them had their time to shine and played key roles in the second chapter of Miles Morales’ story. One particular player who made a serious impression, however, is Spider-Punk, voiced by Oscar winner Daniel Kaluuya. The ultra-cool, anti-establishment superhero proved to be one of the most complex figures within the multiversal tale. Believe it or not though, he could’ve been left out of the film, and the producers explained the reasoning for that.
Let’s be honest. There’s a lot going on in this particular 2023 new movie release. It features a packed story and, as mentioned, there are a lot of characters in the mix. So in theory, it would make sense that some would need to be cut for the sake of time and/or to free up narrative real estate. However, you may still wonder how in the world could a hero as awesome as Spider-Punk (a.k.a. Hobie Brown) nearly be omitted from the final cut? Writer-producer Phil Lord explained to EW that it all had to do with how Brown meshed with the creative team’s storytelling plans. He also revealed what ultimately helped keep the hero in the sprawling and colorful tale:
He was in and out of the picture for a little while because we weren't sure which elements we were going to stick in this part and which were going to migrate to the next movie. When we met Daniel Kaluuya, we realized that he had to be Hobie Brown, no matter the cost. And Hobie had to be in the movie because that personality needed to be part of the story.
Though it may be hard for some to imagine a version of Across the Spider-Verse that doesn’t feature Spider-Punk (who was tied to a wild Easter egg), Phil Lord’s logic makes sense. Every element of a film must work in harmony if it’s to ultimately convey its story as intended. As mentioned, the Spidey sequel has plenty of moving parts, so even a slight shift could’ve meant a character deletion or narrative change. Thankfully though, the stars aligned for the British web-slinger to remain in the picture.
More on Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Hobie Brown is one of the more enigmatic members of the Spider-Society and is established as a friend (and possible love interest) of Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman. While that latter detail initially makes Miles uncomfortable around him, the two eventually form a mutual respect for one another. It’s that relationship that encourages Brown to help Morales escape the society when he seeks to return home to prevent the death of his father, Jefferson, which is said to be a “canon event.” Shortly after, the UK-based superhero quits the society and is last seen alongside Gwen and other costumed do-gooders as they seek to locate Miles.
The writers and animators deserve a lot of credit for crafting this version of Dan Slott and Olivier Coipel’s Spider-Punk. However, Daniel Kaluuya deserves props for helping to further flesh out the role and establish the vigilante’s backstory and more. In fact, the filmmakers ultimately felt compelled to make Camden Town Hobie’s place of origin not only because it’s viewed as the birthplace of punk but also because it’s Kaluuya’s hometown. Writer-producer Chris Miller further emphasized how it was the actor’s approach that convinced them to keep SP in the movie:
Is there a way to simplify this? There's so many characters. Do we really need Spider-Punk? But once we got to know Daniel, we rewrote the part so it became more necessary.
As mentioned, the ending of Across the Spider-Verse essentially confirms he’ll be back in the game for the upcoming trilogy capper. However, it’s currently unclear as to when we’ll get to see more of Daniel Kaluuya’s portrayal. Some wondered if Beyond the Spider-Verse might be delayed from its early 2024 release date and, weeks ago, Sony officially removed it from its schedule amid the SAG-AFTRA actors and WGA writers strikes. While I’m champing at the bit to see what lies ahead for Hobie, Miles and co., I’m just glad the anti-authoritarian wall-crawler exists in this cinematic form.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is now available to own on Digital HD and will be released on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on September 5.