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“Spider-Man ’94”? John Semper Jr. Is Ready To Return.

X-Men ’97 may have started a domino effect. While The X-Men dominated the Fox Kids syndication block from 1992-1997, many fans still have fond memories of Spidey. Spider-Man: The Animated Series ran for 65 episodes from 1994-1998. It remains controversial among fans. While X-Men was given a long leash to work with to put the subject matter of the show into context, Spider-Man was not given the same creative liberties. 

Fox executives imposed a lot of limits on Spider-Man. When compared side by side with X-Men, it is reasonable for a fan to view these creative limits as censorship. Some rules made sense, such as not having guns or blood in a children’s TV program. Other rules were bizarre, like not allowing the word “sinister” to be said out loud or prohibiting scenes with broken glass.

The show also suffered due to the tension between Margaret Loesch and the show’s executive producer Avi Arad. Said tensions led to the show’s cancellation. John Semper Jr. the Producer and head writer of the series had a pragmatic view of the cancellation. The image below from a Facebook thread shows a quote from Semper stating that the series had run its course and it was time for it to end.

John Semper Jr. Downplayed The Tension Between Margaret Loesch and Avi Arad. He Provided Fans With A More Pragmatic Reason For The Show’s Cancellation.

Apparently, Semper is changing his tune and is ready to continue the series where it left off. 

A Spider-Man Series Would Have No Contractual Hang-Ups

While Sony retains the film rights to The Amazing Spider-Man, Disney can do whatever they want with an animated series. There will be no hurdles to clear, should Disney choose to greenlight the continuation of the series. The only caveat is that the runtime can’t go over a certain amount of minutes. 

The original series finale is extremely meta. There are multiple versions of Spider-Man. This includes one version who is an actor that explains to the real Spider-Man that he is a work of fiction in the actor’s universe. Then he meets Stan Lee, takes him web swinging for a minute and thanks him for creating him. Then Madame Web (too soon?) shows up and leads Spidey to Mary Jane Watson. I swear to God, this is all true. Although the finale is slightly on the bizarre side, there is something endearing about it. It is also left ambiguous enough for there to be a return should a season six ever occur.

Spidey And Stan Lee Swinging Through New York City In The Series Finale.


The difference between this continuation and X-Men ’97 is that John Semper Jr. is the original producer and writer of the original series. While the recently departed Beau DeMayo is an X-Men fan, X-Men ’97  has the disadvantage of having a showrunner who had no ties to the original show. This leads to the showrunner having to interpret the original material and put their own brand on it. The fans may or may not like the new interpretation and balk at future installments of the series.

You won’t run into that with a Spider-Man continuation because this is Semper’s baby. He knows how the story works and exactly where everything needs to be for the show to succeed.

This Is All Hypothetical For The Moment

While Semper’s enthusiasm is admirable and a Spider-Man continuation would be welcome among the fans, there is a lot for Disney to consider. For one thing, animation is expensive. While it’s practicality during the COVID pandemic led to a boom in the medium, animation is not seen as necessary anymore.

An episode of The Simpsons costs about 1.5 million dollars to animate. That is well below the average of the 3.6 million dollar price tag for one episode of a series. That is just for animation. Casting, writing and advertising are not factored into that figure. Assuming you’re running a ten episode season, you are spending up to 36 million dollars just on animation. This makes a new Marvel series somewhat of a risk, considering that the current animated series being marketed hasn’t aired yet.

The Cost Per Episode Of A New Spider-Man Series Might Be More Than Disney is willing to spend,

Let’s think optimistically and presuming that Disney is 100 percent on board with Semper continuing the show. One has to ask if Disney and Marvel will retain their confidence in such a project if X-Men ’97 winds up being a failure. Between the firing of Beau DeMayo and Charley Feldman openly attacking the show’s core fanbase, the success of X-Men ’97 isn’t a lock.

Disney has been down this road before with Star WarsSolo was a disappointment at the box-office and as a result, the highly anticipated movie focusing on Boba Fett was unceremoniously cancelled

So as of now, this is a nice idea to think about. Whether or not it happens is for Disney to decide.

Final Takeaway

If Bob Iger is serious about getting the fans back and improving the quality of his product, this would be a smart play. Spider-Man is Marvel’s blue-chip franchise and Disney is hamstrung by Sony’s reluctance to give up the film rights to the character. Having new Spider-Man material on Disney Plus would be a shot in the arm for the company, and the ailing streaming service.

Having Semper Jr. attached to the project would build confidence in the brand among the fans. This is something that Marvel sorely needs. An old face and consistent storytelling will go a long way for a division that is having trouble finding success as of late. Will Semper’s willingness turn into a legitimate project?

We’ll find out in due time.

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Thank You for reading! When I am not writing I enjoy spending time with my wife Barbara, my four year old daughter Frances, and my loyal hound Marbles.  For more hot takes, follow me here.  You can also check out more of my content on my author’s page.

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