Spider-Girl, noir Spider-Man, Spider-Ham and Spyder-Knight are swinging into the neighborhood.
Disney XD’s animated series “Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors” is taking a page from the comics, delving into Marvel’s popular recent Spider-Verse story line in a four-episode arc starting March 5.
FOR THE RECORD
Christopher Daniel Barnes was the voice of Spider-Man in “Spider-Man” from 1994-1998, and was not in the earlier show “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.”
“Spider-Verse gave us a special opportunity to play alongside what publishing was doing,” said Harrison Wilcox, director of development and production for Marvel Television. “The fun of visiting all these worlds, teaming up different versions of Spider-Man from different realities. At the same time both the publishing event and the animated series event stand on their own and tell their own complete story.”
In the comics, a group called the Inheritors traveled between dimensions, killing off Spider-men, but the show takes a different approach, focusing on one of the many story lines to come out of the multidimensional arc. In it, the Green Goblin seeks to obtain the DNA of alternate versions of Spider-Man to enhance his own strength.
The first three episodes introduce the alternate Spider-men. The March 5 episode reintroduces Spider-Man 2099, whose real name is Miguel O’Hara (voiced by Freddy Rodriguez) — a geneticist from the future who debuted in comics in 1992 — and introduces Spider-Girl (voiced by Olivia Holt), who is from a world where the gender roles are reversed. The March 12 episode brings a noir, trenchcoat-wearing Spider-Man (voiced by Milo Ventimiglia) and the comical Spider-Ham (voiced by Ben Diskin). March 19 unveils a medieval version of Spider-Man called Spyder-Knight, voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes. Barnes could be in his own alternate timeline: He was the voice of Spider-Man in the ’90s cartoon series, “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.”
The episode also gives us a glimpse of fan-favorite Spider-Man Miles Morales, from the Ultimate universe where Peter Parker died. Morales is voiced by Donald Glover, who spearheaded a campaign to become the newest wallcrawler in 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” film, a role that eventually went to Andrew Garfield.
There could still be hope for Glover, though. As Sony and former-studio-head-now-producer Amy Pascal prepare their newest reboot of Spidey, the Spider-Verse story line provides numerous paths to go down and diverse Spider-men to explore.
In the final episode of the “Web Warriors” arc, the alternates are brought together to take down an enhanced Green Goblin. The episodes are animated in different styles to reflect the times and universes they portray — a black-and-white Spider-Man in the noir episode, a computer-generated 2099, an overtly cartoonish world for Spider-Ham. And for those who were maybe wondering why one popular version of Spider-Man — a Spider-Woman known in the comics world as Spider-Gwen — was not included? Well, the series itself was started long before readers got a glimpse of Gwen Stacy.
“For the timing to work out for the comics and the animation, we had to start on these episodes over a year and a half ago. We had no way of knowing how much certain parts of the comic book story were going to pop with the fans,” Wilcox said. “But I love what publishing and Dan Slott have done with Spider-Gwen in the comic series and the fan reaction to it, and it has definitely put me on the lookout for a way to use her in the future. ”
Other guest stars in the Spider-Verse arc include Wendie Malick as Norma Osborn, and recent “Whiplash” Oscar winner J.K. Simmons as J. Joanna Jameson and J. Jonah Jameson Robot.
With the popularity of the comics, Wilcox understands that there could be opportunities for the show to expand upon the newly introduced characters as well.
“Our head writers for the series — Henry Gilroy, Eugene Son and Paul Dini — found something different for each Spider-Verse character to bring to the event,” he said. “Anyone who watches the episodes will see that there’s a lot more fun to be had with these characters. Not much I can say right now, but we’ll be seeing more than one of these characters in the future.”
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