Spider-Man: The Animated Series’ Writer Is Willing To Do A Revival Of The Classic Marvel Show, But It Comes With A Major Condition

Spider-Man: The Animated Series' version of Spider-Man
(Image credit: Marvel)

In addition to live-action superhero TV shows being more plentiful than ever, there also remains a steady stream of animated small screen tales spotlighting Marvel and DC characters. And yet, there are some classics that still stand the test of time, such as Spider-Man: The Animated Series, which aired on the Fox Kids Network from 1994 to 1998. I recently had the chance to talk with John Semper, the main writer on Spider-Man, and he told me he’d be willing to do a revival of the Marvel TV show, but it comes with a major condition.

In case you missed the news back in November 2021, there’s a revival of fellow Fox Kids Network show X-Men: The Animated Series, which aired from 1992 to 1997, that will premiere to Disney+ subscribers in 2023. So with fans having X-Men ’97 to look forward to, a revival of Spider-Man: The Animated Series doesn’t sound so farfetched. However, the only way John Semper would return is if he had the same amount of creative control as he did in the ‘90s. The writer explained:

Everyone asks me that, and my answer now that’s well rehearsed is, ‘If they gave me the same kind of creative control.’ I had a ridiculous amount of creative control after we did the first 13 [episodes] on my series. So the first 13 they were beating me up left and right, it was very difficult, but after the first 13, and it wasn’t a gift, it was just sort of like, ‘Just go do your job,’ and they left me alone. And I had the entire Marvel universe to play with. I was the early version of Kevin Feige. So if I had that kind of freedom, I would love to do it.

I don’t blame him for feelings this way. If you had the kind of creative control John Seamer did for the majority of Spider-Man: The Animated Series’ run, then returned for a revival and were forced to deal with being micromanaged and implementing all sorts of executive notes, that would sound restricting. John Semper continued by explaining that the Marvel of the ‘90s is a far cry from the one nowadays, particularly when it comes to Spider-Man, who’s not only been part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2016, but continues to be one of Sony Pictures’ most valuable pieces of film IP. In Semper’s words: 

I doubt that I would ever get that kind of freedom because Spider-Man is now a major franchise for not one, but two studios, not to mention Marvel in the comics, which is now a big entity. Back in my day, Marvel was practically bankrupt, and I didn’t have to deal with them at all. So now there’s Marvel, there’s Disney and there’s Sony; I can’t imagine those three titans of industry coming to little ol’ John Semper and saying, ‘Here’s our flagship character, do whatever you want!’ So the circumstances that I would prefer would probably not happen. But I love the character and if anybody ever let me have that kind of freedom again, I would do it in a heartbeat.

These days Marvel is an entertainment juggernaut, but in the mid-late ‘90s, the company was in dire financial straits. So making sure Spider-Man: The Animated Series was sticking to certain rules and guidelines was the last thing on the executives’ minds, especially given how popular the show was under John Semper’s guiding hand. But times have changed, and if a Spider-Man revival were to be greenlit, it would be following nine theatrically-released “solo” movies, three movies where Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is part of an ensemble and an entire shared universe based specifically on characters from Spidey’s lore, not to mention all the other Spider-Man animated shows that have followed over the decades.

Still, if the powers-that-be were to give John Semper the control he had on Spider-Man: The Animated Series, however unlikely that may be, he’d be all in to return to this take on the popular superhero. Rest assured either way that if a Spider-Man revival is announced, CinemaBlend will pass along that news. In the meantime, Semper’s latest project, the animated DC movie Green Lantern: Beware My Power (which he co-wrote with Ernie Altbacker) will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on July 26.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.