Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse writers Rodney Rothman and Phil Lord knew exactly how they wanted the opening scene with the film's young hero Miles Morales to unfold. "We had this idea that if he sang a song that was out of his register, it would make the audience laugh," Rothman and Lord recall in an interview with Vulture.
Up until one year ago, they settled on having a "foolproof laugh" where Morales attempts to sing along to "Redbone" by Childish Gambino. It was a perfect choice, especially when you consider how Donald Glover has been linked to playing the character in a live-action movie as far back as 2011. It was almost too perfect because they were ultimately forced to change course when Get Out came out.
In the Jordan Peele-directed film, our first introduction to Chris Washington, played by Daniel Kaluuya, and his previous works of photography features "Redbone" playing in the background. "It was critical that the song gag landed. We had a feeling it was because people knew the song, and they knew how he was messing it up," they said. "We were in big trouble when we couldn’t use it anymore — we needed to replace one of the greatest songs of the year, and we had to do it in time to spend the three months we would need to animate that shot."
"We also liked the metaphor this presents: Miles is singing a song that theoretically he’s a little too young for and he doesn’t know the words yet," they said. "That’s the metaphor we’re going to be working with for most of the rest of the movie. He’s going to be asked to step into shoes that he feels he’s not ready for, he’s not going to know the words, and he’s going to feel very self-conscious and nervous about that."
Into the Spider-Verse was still able to pay homage to Glover with a blink-or-you'll-miss-it moment of him wearing the Spider-Man costume on the TV when Miles visits his uncle Aaron’s apartment. The scene comes from Community. "We basically wanted to tip our hat to Community and the groundswell of support for the Spider-Man of color that came out of that, and we just thought it was a neat little nod," Lord told Fandango.
Head over to Vulture to read the full piece.