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The movie Spider-man: into the Spider-verse focus on Miles Morales as the new Spider-man.

What surprised me when watching the movie is that his father Jefferson Davis-Morales is a policeman working for PDNY, not the iconic NYPD. This obviously stands for Police Department of New York, but the PDNY does not seem to exist.

The acronym can be seen in most scenes where Jefferson is on duty, like in the picture below, so it is difficult to miss and I am led to think it is intentional.

enter image description here

Is there any reason why Jefferson is not working for the NYPD?

The film is full of references to comics and previous Sony movies, so it may be a reference to a comic. But I couldn't find anything by googling PDNY.

My possible interpretations:

  1. The multiverse and various versions of Spider-man are central to the movie. Maybe it is here to imply that Morales' universe in the movie is not our universe, hence that universe is not more important than the other universes (Spider-man Noir, manga version,...) that are depicted in the movie. The end of the movie hints a possible sequel.
  2. The movie intentionally has some blurry images, where red and blue colors are not perfectly aligned, as a reference to comic books that are not always perfectly printed. Maybe the PDNY is an intentional typo, as a nod to typos in comics?

Any Word of God on the matter?

  • 2
    Not into-the-spider-verse tag yet? I think I don't have enough reputation to create a tag. – Taladris Dec 14 '18 at 1:47
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    Oh, it's "PDNY"! I totallyi read it as "PONY". (It's in a film with "Trust Us Bank", so it didn't seem too impossible. – b_jonas Dec 26 '18 at 18:40
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It's definitely a different universe. To quote the Alternate Universe TV Tropes entry for the movie:

  • The Bland-Name Product(s) are this universe's equivalent to the brands they're clearly references to.
  • New York City's police department is given the acronym PDNY, suggesting that they're called the Police Department of New York instead of simply the New York Police Department.
  • Taxicabs are green, similar to the Boro Taxis which run fares outside Manhattan, and use the "NYC Taxi" livery design introduced in 2007 instead of the current black circle with a negative-space "T". In addition, taxis and police cars are still predominately second generation Ford Crown Victorias, which have become increasingly rare since the model's discontinuation in 2011 and the increasing diversity of what are used as both since then.
  • New York is shown to be much larger in Miles' universe. In the first scene of the teaser trailer, much of the Manhattan skyline is taller than the Empire State building, currently the fourth tallest building in New York. Some of these skyscrapers are lit with projected advertisements.
  • Miles doesn't know what Comic-Con is, suggesting it either doesn't exist in his world or it has a different name than the one in Peter's.
  • The Yugo brand is alive and well in both Miles' and Peter's universe, as evidenced by a pretense-free marketing campaign from a glimpse of Times Square with the tagline "It'll get you from A to B." The billboard even features the original logo and what looks to be a modern take on the infamous GV hatchback, complete with a polymer insert and alloy wheels. Not bad for an infamous shorthand for The Alleged Car.
  • Inflation hit this world like a truck, as Peter and Miles' burgers and fries at a small restaurant totals up to $30,000.

It's unlikely that it's a trademark issue. While it is true that that "NYPD" is a trademark, it's not one that's been defended aggressively, and I don't believe most movies pay to include it. Even so, this would have been fair use since it's not trying to confuse anyone into thinking this fictional police force in any way represents the NYPD.

Griffin added in the comments:

They also mentioned "PDNY" is used because it's an "alternate universe" in the Blu-Ray extras.

  • 1
    Thank you. I am not American nor New Yorker so I was oblivious to the other elements (Comic-Con, Yugo, size of NYC,...), or didn't pay attention to them (burger price). As for the NYPD trademark, doesn't it fall under "fair use"? That's hard to have a movie in NYC with cops without using NYPD letters. – Taladris Dec 14 '18 at 4:15
  • @Taladris: Yeah, this would be a case of fair use, and is unlikely to confuse people on usage. I'll clarify. – FuzzyBoots Dec 22 '18 at 14:18
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    I missed noticing this myself, but a friend pointed out that the backstory clips for Peter B. Parker did use brand names we know, such as Coca-Cola. This implies even more that Miles's universe is not ours, and that maybe Peter B. Parker's is, and that this was not a trademark issue. – David K Feb 4 at 16:04
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    They also mentioned "PDNY" is used because it's an "alternate universe" in the Blu-Ray extras. – Griffin W. Mar 19 at 22:09

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