Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse co-director Rodney Rothman hints Doctor Olivia Octavius (Kathryn Hahn), the multi-armed scientist-slash-super villain known as Doc Ock, will play a grander role in coming sequels.
“In the end, we found the movie played fine without us tagging every single possible thing,” Rothman told Total Film. “But we definitely think of Liv as someone who is not gone from the story, and who in many ways, is our most powerful bad guy. She’s manipulating a lot of things to achieve her own grand ambitions.”
The Alchemax CEO and head scientist worked as an underling of the criminal kingpin Wilson Fisk (Liev Schreiber) and was responsible for creating the inter-dimensional device that accessed the multi-verse, allowing alternate Spider-People — including an aged Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) and a superpowered Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) — to cross over into the universe occupied by the newest Spider-Man, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore).
Rothman previously explained Olivia Octavius was originally Otto Octavius, as depicted in traditional Spider-Man comics, until late in the process: “We were taking elements of the classic Spider-Man story and twisting them,” Rothman reveals in the Spider-Verse home release special features.
“When you first meet Doc Ock you think it's just this nerdy kind of mild mannered, brilliant but socially awkward scientist,” added Hahn. “Like all great villains, not everything isn’t always what it seems. There are some nods to the classic character, such as her glasses and trench coat. But this Doc Ock does really kind of look like me.”
Instead of the traditionally metallic “octopus” arms wielded by most versions of Doc Ock, this version was given arms made out of “semi-transparent silicon material that expands and contracts like membranes,” as explained in the Spider-Verse Art of the Movie book.
“When you look at real experimental, cutting edge science you’ll see that most of the early prototypes aren’t actually that slick. The technology isn’t covered up with slick plastic and doesn’t look like an iPod. We wanted Doc Ock’s world to feel cold, sanitized, utilitarian, and experimental, which gives everything a heightened sense of eeriness for an animated movie,” production designer Justin K. Thompson said.
The intention, Thompson added, was for the audience to feel “genuinely disturbed by how unrefined [Ock] seems” with a costume that “hasn’t been finished.”
“She is overly excited about the Multiverse and isn’t really aware of how crazy she looks. She has wild hair with purple highlights,” Thompson said. “And I really wanted her organic, slimy tentacles to freak the audience out when they slide across Spider-Man’s face. She’s creepy and intimidating and she stands in high contrast with Spider-Man who is just a guy in tights.”
A Spider-Verse sequel and a female-centric spinoff are now in development at Sony Pictures Animation.
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