Hello, True Believers! Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, you’ve heard about Disney’s acquisition of Marvel Entertainment, all the details of which can be read here. Now, there have been a lot of panicky reactions shooting across the interwebs since this news has leaked, some concerned with the future quality of Marvel’s film properties, some concerned with the fate of the comic book wing of Marvel Entertainment, and some with Marvel’s preexisting television projects. Today, however, we have some potentially very good news for fans of TV’s “Spectacular Spider-Man” and for Spidey fans in general: Sony has relinquished all television rights for the web slinger in favor of some more favorable film options for the property. Not only does this open up the future for animated projects, but could possibly give us the opportunity for a Smallville-esque live action Spider-series. Is your spider-sense tingling? If so, hit the thwip…er…jump, for more.
IGN has learned from “Spectacular Spider-Man” Supervising Producer, Greg Weisman, that Sony no longer has any involvement in that series or any Spider-Man related television projects. For anybody who loves this fantastic animated series (just bought the complete first season myself), this should come as good news as Sony had a bit of a history with jerking this series around, shopping it around between the first and second season and holding out on ordering a third. The fact that the show already has a home on Disney XD could be a positive sign that the series will continue if Marvel wishes to produce it itself. Admittedly, this is not a given, with Weisman himself saying, “I’m informed that Marvel can now produce the series, but of course, they don’t have to”.
The show getting at least one more season would be good enough news, but the real treat comes from the new freedom a Spider-Man series (any Spider-Man series) would now have, able to guest star any character from Marvel’s extensive character library. Weisman admits that his dream first cross over would feature the Human Torch, the “Fantastic 4″‘s resident hot head (a franchise that’s getting its own recharge thanks in part to the Marvel acquisition). As a huge fan of this show, and a Marvel-head, I have to say that Spider-Man and Daredevil would be a great team up to have on the show. Spidey also always plays off well against The Hulk, but this is just me spit balling, suffice it to say there’s a lot of great opportunities here, with most of the Marvel Universe opened up for Spidey to play with.
Not the least of these opportunities, while it may be a very long shot, could be the possibility of a live-action Spider-Man television series, perhaps on ABC, something to fill the gap that will soon be left in people’s lives once “LOST” is off the air. Something in the vein of “Smallville”, but with Peter Parker in costume would be pretty damn cool. Imagine a cast of Harry Osbourne, Flash Thompsaon, Gwen Stacey with Peter in high school as he struggles to balance a normal life with his great power and great responsibility, having to choose between going after The Shocker, or getting Aunt May her prescription. Take the first season to build on the relationship between Peter and Gwen, only to add the sexy Mary Jane Watson to the cast in the next season. Establish Dr. Curt Connors as a friend and mentor, and turn him into The Lizard in a later season. The possibilities are enough to drive a fanboy crawling up a wall.
What I’m hoping for is that this deal sets a precedent and 20th Century Fox signs over the TV rights of its Marvel properties as well. If there’s one character that was made for a one hour, live action, action/drama series, it’s Daredevil, I feel justified in saying it would be the greatest thing ever. And get Michael C. Hall for Matt Murdock! But I digress. One thing is certain, and that is that our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man will have a lot to offer us on television over the next few years. Hopefully Marvel doesn’t bone us with another “Iron Man: Armored Adventures” style series. Nuff said.