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After X-MEN ’97, We Need A SPIDER-MAN ’98 Revival

Spider-Man ‘98


It’s been 27 years since X-Men: The Animated Series bowed out, and while some worried a modern revival would be little more than a nostalgic cash grab, we die-hards always knew it would be a hit. Still, few expected X-Men ’97 to be a near-perfect return that put the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s recent output to shame. After all these years, it seems our brightly colored spandex still fits. As the dust settles on X-Men ’97 and we look ahead to the confirmed season 2, there are already talks of season 3 and an even wider Marvel Animated Universe.

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Mary Jane Where Are You?

Marvel Entertainment


For those who grew up with the vibrant colors of Marvel cartoons in the ‘90s, it’s likely a close call on whether X-Men: The Animated Series or Spider-Man: The Animated Series was your favorite. For those disappointed Spidey hasn’t had the X-Men ‘97 treatment, Disney could be weaving one into its grand plans for the MAU. 

Running from 1994 to 1998, Spider-Man: The Animated Series fell just short of X-Men: The Animated Series’ 76 episodes but long outlived the likes of the Iron Man, Fantastic Four, and Silver Surfer standalones. Back then, showrunner John Semper confirmed there were plans for more, but with Fox refusing to stump up the money and production company New World Entertainment going bump, this is where the story ended.

Whereas X-Men: The Animated Series went out on its own terms and delivered the epic “Graduation Day”, Spider-Man was left on a cliffhanger for the ages. After polishing off its epic “Secret Wars” arc, 1998’s “Chapter II: Farewell, Spider-Man” ended with Madame Web promising she’d help Peter Parker find Mary Jane Watson, who had been shoved through a portal by the Green Goblin in the season 3 finale. This sounds primed for exploration in a potential Spider-Man ‘98 series.


What a wicked web we weave

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Far from being a fannish pipe dream, X-Men ‘97 sowed the seeds of a potential Spider-Man ’98. A surprise cameo from Spider-Man in episode 8 confirmed we’re still one big happy family. Doubling down on the hype for a Spider-Man revival, the finale features a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from Peter Parker and MJ. X-Men ‘97 showrunner Beau DeMayo already confirmed this is the same Spidey played by Christopher Daniel Barnes in the ‘90s and has now stirred the pot by confirming, “Yes, Peter Parker found MJ.”

pidey has always rivaled Batman as having one of the best rogues galleries out there, and Spider-Man: TAS’s enemies outshined most live-action portrayals. Alongside the all-star roster of the Insidious Six, there were brilliant portrayals of Hobgoblin, Alistair Smythe and Black Cat, as well as everyone from Blade to Doctor Doom. As the X-Men ‘97 finale featured a smorgasbord of cameos winking to a wider world, a Spider-Man revival can do the same.


Mysterio, Dormammu and … Jack the Ripper?


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In terms of where we go next, there were whole plans for an unprotected sixth season that seem too good to pass up on. Aside from the obvious trip across the Multiverse with Madame Web, Peter was going to team up with Ghost Rider to take on Mysterio and Dormammu. Richard Fisk was going to become a new villain called the Rose, Hulk was tipped to appear, and there were plans for a more serious take on 1981’s Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon.

Season 6 was pitched as a race across the Multiverse to find MJ, with a possible clash in the past with Jack the Ripper. Semper claimed he once wanted a much bigger Secret Wars crossover that could’ve seen the entire roster of X-Men and Spider-Man clash. Even a handful of these ideas would be more than enough to stock a Spider-Man ‘98 series to fill in the gaps between the events of “Chapter II: Farewell, Spider-Man” and a proposed revival. 

Beyond the Spider-Verse 


More than just the bones being laid some 26 years ago and fans asking for a mythical Spider-Man ‘98, Semper has discussed the idea with ComicBookMovie.com. Admitting there are a couple of hurdles, Semper cheered, “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.”

Similarly, Barnes seems more than ready to swing from the rooftops, thanking fans on X (formerly Twitter) for the support surrounding Spider-Man ‘98. Despite teases from DeMayo and Semper, Barnes confirmed what we all suspected and says that he hasn’t been contacted about a revival series. Then again, he would, wouldn’t he? But that’s just the problem: it’s not as easy as dusting off these characters and plonking them back into their own series.

As Semper noted, the rights for Spider-Man are currently split between Disney and Sony, which led to the infamous 2019 fallout where it looked like Tom Holland’s hero would be annexed from the MCU. If that wasn’t enough, there’s already a Spider-Man cartoon in the works in the form of Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (previously known as Spider-Man: Freshman Year).


Peter Parker Pop-Ups?


We don’t see two cartoons running in tandem, but that doesn’t mean Spider-Man ‘98 won’t eventually suit up for action. One possible wrench in the works is that DeMayo is no longer attached to X-Men ‘97. Details surrounding his departure remain sketchy. But just because he envisions Web-Head’s further adventures to explain how he rescued MJ across the Multiverse, it doesn’t mean other writers do. 

While we’re not too hopeful for a full-blown series just yet, Barnes seems primed to appear in Beyond the Spider-Verse (TAS Spider-Man was MIA in the last movie). If not, there’s an even bigger chance that Peter, MJ, and some of those rotten rogues will pop up again in X-Men ‘97 season 2.

Whether Spider-Man ‘98 can rise from the ashes like a Phoenix Force remains to be seen. But either way, we’re crawling the wall with excitement that the Marvel Animated Universe could be at the start of its very own Phase 1. 


Author Bio:


Based in Manchester, UK, Tom Chapman has over seven years’ experience covering everything from dragons to Demogorgons. Starting out with a stint at Movie Pilot in Berlin, Tom has since branched out to indulge his love of all things Star Wars and the MCU at Digital Spy, Den of Geek, IGN, Yahoo! and more. These days, you’ll find Tom channelling his inner Gale Weathers and ranting about how HBO did us dirty with Game of Thrones Season Eight.





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