Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is a brilliant piece of cinematic art. The style is bold and unique, presenting its characters in ways neither general audiences nor fans had ever seen before, and it delivers a story that is both beautiful and hilarious. It's kind of a miracle of a movie... and that's especially true when you get a glimpse into the total chaos that existed behind the scenes as it was getting made.
Such a glimpse was recently revealed by the filmmakers behind the movie, and weirdly enough we have the on-going COVID-19 pandemic to thank. It all started when writer/producer Phil Lord decided to dig out his old whiteboard while spending time in self-isolation, and discovered that the surface was still entirely covered with notes about the making of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse:
As noted by Phil Lord in his post, this isn't a breakdown that was created early in the film's development, but instead originated from just about a year out from the animated blockbuster's release (so December 2017-ish). While a great amount of work had already been done on the movie, Lord and directors Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, and Bob Persichetti evidently felt the need to reconstruct the whole thing based around particular sequences, and went as far as to totally change the third act.
Seeing this post inspired some of the other Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse filmmakers to also join in the fun of reliving the behind-the-scenes work on the project... though "fun" might not be the operative word. Peter Ramsey found himself struck with flashbacks and a degree of PTSD, offering a funny response to a fan curious about what the numbers mean on Phil Lord's white board:
Rodney Rothman contributed his own photos for the trip down memory lane, and in doing so revealed that Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse wasn't just made in computers and on whiteboards. There was also reams of paper involved, specifically numerous yellow legal pads filled with various ideas and sketches.
That all seems rather crazy and chaotic by itself... but then Andy Leviton entered into the conversation with his own special reveal. The Associate Editor of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse delivered a white board photo of his own... from July 2018. Evidently what was accomplished while "rebreaking" the third act of the movie in December 2017 didn't fully solve all of the issues that the filmmakers found, and so less than six months before the film was set to come out the end of the movie was fixed up again.
Just from viewing these photos and seeing the comments it seems like the making of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse was an intensely stressful endeavor, but as acknowledged at the beginning, the story of the production has a joyful ending. Not only is the finished film a spectacular piece of moviemaking that hit big at the box office, but all of the hard work was rewarded with an Academy Award win for Best Animated Feature.