With the news of X-Men ’97 coming to Disney+, Spider-Man: The Animated series showrunner John Semper weighs in on the chances of Spider-Man’s revival.
The showrunner behind Spider-Man: The Animated Series weighs in on the chances of a revival series. Airing on the Fox Kids block from 1994 to 1998, Spider-Man: The Animated Series ran for five seasons and was the first exposure to the web-slinger for an entire generation. The series was one of many Marvel animated series on the air at the time, including X-Men: The Animated Series, The Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man: The Animated Series that all connected in their own shared universe.
Since then, Spider-Man has had a number of other animated series, including the direct follow-up Spider-Man: Unlimited, a CGI series titled Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, the short-lived but critically acclaimed Spectacular Spider-Man, the long-running Ultimate Spider-Man, the Disney XD series Spider-Man, and most recently the preschool-aimed kids’ series Spidey and His Amazing Friends. Yet Spider-Man: The Animated Series remains a beloved fan favorite and many hoped it could someday return to wrap up the unfinished storyline with Mary Jane Watson lost in the multiverse. With the announcement that X-Men: The Animated Series would return to Disney+ with a revival series titled X-Men ’97, hope for Spider-Man’s return quickly followed.
John Semper, the showrunner on Spider-Man: The Animated Series, recently spoke to Comicbookmovie.com in an interview promoting his latest film Green Lantern: Beware My Power, and the topic of a Spider-Man: The Animated Series revival came up. Semper says he would happily do it but only if he had the same level of creative freedom he had on the original series. He does note he does not think a revival will likely happen, citing studio politics between Disney and Sony, as well as the fact that there is another Spider-Man series in the works. Semper said:
“I think, right now, they’re doing an updated Spider-Man. They’ve done a number of shows since mine and they’re doing another right now, I don’t think that the politics of the situation will allow for the 90s Spider-Man series to be revived. If they did revive it, I don’t know if I’d get to be involved. I was in a very good position because I was really able to have a lot of creative control over that show after episode 13 or 14. I don’t know if I’d ever have that situation again, so it would really make it a different kind of thing. I don’t know if I’d get that on a Spider-Man revival given it’s now a property that’s owned by two studios and there’s a lot of politics involved, but hey, if someone wants to call me and say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna do more episodes and we’re going to leave you alone,’ I’d be there in a heartbeat.”
The other Spider-Man series Semper is referring to is Spider-Man: Freshman Year, which is set in the MCU and will be a prequel to Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming, exploring Peter Parker’s origins as Spider-Man. The rights issue is a little less complicated, as Sony has control over the Spider-Man film rights and television rights for Spider-Man: The New Animated Series and Spectacular Spider-Man but not the original 90s series. Disney theoretically could produce a continuation series, unlike Spectacular Spider-Man, which has been ruled out by series creator Greg Weisman.
While a revival of Spider-Man: The Animated Series may not happen, that does not mean the universe cannot continue on in some way. There is a chance that the Spider-Man from the series could appear in either Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse or its sequel Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse. The sequel is already set to bring in Japanese Spider-Man, and rumors have circulated about the live-action Spider-Man actors appearing in the film. While the concept of the Spider-Verse was not introduced into Marvel Comics until 2014, the idea of multiple Spider-Man from different universes crossing over first happened in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, so featuring the universe in one of the films would be a great way for the films to pay tribute to the series’ legacy.
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