Why Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Made This Major Change to Doctor Octopus

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s co-writer and co-director revealed why they made that change to Doctor Octopus. Rodney Rothman joined our Quarantine Watch Party this week to discuss the film. Making Octavious a woman is a move that delighted a lot of fans, but the change came about for a couple of reasons. In the end, Kathryn Hahn helped Rothman and the crew come to that decision, and the film definitely benefitted from the inclusion. An audible gasp rose up in my screening when the audience discovered that the doctor that popped up earlier was one of Spider-Man’s trademark villains.

Kathryn Hahn added, “When you first meet Doc Ock you think it's just this nerdy kind of mild mannered, brilliant but socially awkward scientist. 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.”

Total Film also spoke with Rothman about the switch last year as well. “In the end, we found the movie played fine without us tagging every single possible thing,” he said. “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 Spider-Verse Art of the Movie book talked a lot about the visual design of Doc Ock in the film. “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 explained.


“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 continued. “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.”

Did you love Spider-Verse’s Doc Ock? Let us know in the comments!