‘Marvel’s Spider-Man’ Lead Robbie Daymond on His Fresh, Exciting Take on Peter Parker
Spider-Man fans have seen a lot of iterations of Peter Parker over the years, both in live-action and animated form, but the new Disney XD series Marvel’s Spider-Man aims to deliver something fresh and new. Leading that effort is Peter Parker himself, voiced by Robbie Daymond. I got to speak with him ahead of the series’ hour-long premiere that airs on Saturday, August 19th at 7:00 am ET/PT on Disney XD (and on the Disney XD App and VOD).
A big fan of the Spider-Man comics, Daymond was drawn to this new series’ take on Peter Parker as a teenage science enthusiast (genius, really) who’s struggling to balance being a superhero with being a student. It keeps the spider-powered hero grounded and keeps him relatable to audiences, whether this is their first time watching Spider-Man’s animated adventures or just the latest in a long line of stories. We got into what makes Marvel’s Spider-Man different, how science plays into the equation, what sort of relationships viewers will get to experience, and appearances by heroes and villains alike down the road. (Some spoilers follow!)
For many of us, the Marvel comics were our first introductions to Spider-Man. It’s the same for Daymond, but the particular story he gravitated to might surprise you:
Robbie Daymond: When I transferred schools when I was really young in middle school, I was an outsider, I didn’t have any friends from elementary, or anything like that. My parents got me into comics and that was a way for me to trade comic book cards with friends in the schoolyard. I started reading the “Maximum Carnage” series. That just really hooked me as an 11 or 12-year-old boy. Spider-Man quickly became my favorite superhero. That was my introduction into it.
That’s a strong story to start your Spider-Man fandom with! (Don’t expect Cletus Kasady to show up anytime soon.) But it’s that bold kind of storytelling from the comics that Daymond is most excited to bring to the small screen:
Daymond: I’ve always wanted big, sweeping story arcs for Spider-Man and that hasn’t been around as much in the animated stuff. There are some good examples, but I feel like a really exciting thing about this show is the relationships and what’s going on in Peter’s life. I think that’s always been the greatest thing about the character. He’s not Bruce Wayne, he doesn’t have unlimited resources. He’s not Clark Kent, he’s not super-powered and godlike. He’s a regular guy with some powers trying to do the right thing, and I think they do a really good job in this series about, how does Peter pay his tuition to go to Horizon? How does he make sure there’s not too much pressure on Aunt May to facilitate the life that he wants to live? How does he become self-sufficient?
I think that’s one of the coolest parts about the dynamic between Peter and his life as Spider-Man. The show does a great job of focusing on that. A lot of the writers, producers, and character designers really have a deep understanding of Spider-Man’s history and pedigree. They really know the sweet spots and tone that they want to hit and they do a great job of bringing that to the surface in a new and exciting way.
That new and exciting way of doing things is certainly a tough challenge since Spidey’s been around since 1962. So what makes this version of Peter different?
Daymond: The challenge is to take a familiar story and make it fresh and new. Every time I’d get a new episode arc, I would get excited. “Oh, this is that arc!” And I knew them from the comics, but the way that it’s handled is completely new and unique. It’s evocative without being derivative, it’s a fresh approach of a story we know with familiar characters. They hit all the right touchstones for where the story should go but in a really new and exciting way for a new generation. I don’t think anybody watching the show is ever going to feel like there’s something that doesn’t feel like Spider-Man or feels unfamiliar, but they’ll never feel bored either because everything’s approached in a brand new way.
One major change (and major improvement, in my opinion) is the focus on science in this series:
Daymond: It was really clear from the beginning that the creators wanted to really focus heavily on the idea that he’s a scientist, that he’s a genius. In different comic iterations he works at Horizon Lab and that’s where he should be. I always thought that was a strange arc that he had in the comics, that he was a photographer to make ends meet but he was also a scientist; he created these web-shooters, he has all this tech at his disposal. So on this show, they really wanted to make that a central theme for the episodes. Shouting science terms in the middle of an action scene can be tough, but I think they handle it pretty darn delicately in the show.
Believe it or not, this isn’t Daymond’s first time voicing Peter Parker or Spider-Man. He had a chance to do a dub of an anime for a toy tie-in called Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers a few years back, but there’s no crossover between the two performances in his mind.
Daymond: I don’t really connect them. I even did a slightly different voice; I think Peter was college-age or post-college in that show. The Peter in our show is [a teenager] so there’s definitely a different delivery, different tone, different style. But this series is, by far, the most fleshed-out, most story-driven, deepest experience I’ve had with this character.
Daymond anchors a stellar cast that is comprised of newcomers and veteran actors alike:
Daymond: I hate to pick favorites in a show that you’re working on because they’re absolute friends. Josh Keaton’s a great friend and a great Spider-Man. Working with him was exciting and intimidating all at the same time, but he was nothing but kind and gracious and supportive. Getting to go up against him as Norman was just an awesome sort of full-circle experience that I think the fans are really going to enjoy.
I love John DiMaggio as The Jackal. He’s just such an iconic and veteran voice actor. He has a really great take on The Jackal. I’ve got to love newcomer Nadji [Jeter]; he’s an on-camera kid who got the role of Miles Morales and we have a pretty strong friendship as the show continues on. He’s just the sweetest kid. It’s a great cast to work with. One of my really good friends is Harry Osborn, Max Mittelman. I think our relationship in this first season is maybe my favorite part of the show as a whole. They did a great job of fleshing that out in this first season.
And as for guest stars:
Daymond: I think they’re saving a lot of them for future announcements, so there’s going to be some familiar on-camera actors you’ll see on the show and some voiceover icons. I love working with Laura [Bailey] every time she comes in to play Gwen [Stacy]; she’s a guest star I always look forward to. I think a few familiar faces from the Marvel universe will be in there, too, so there’s going to be a lot of exciting characters this season, for sure.
Marvel’s Spider-Man is just getting started, but fans would be forgiven for looking ahead to future seasons of the series. What does Daymond hope to see further down the road?
Daymond: The “Maximum Carnage” or a Carnage arc of some kind. I would love to see that. I have not seen it as of yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s not on the back-burner; they keep me in the dark sometimes, too. Before Carnage, you gotta have Venom. I know that’s been announced and I really think fans should be pumped about his appearance in the show. That’s a really exciting arc; the black suit arc is really a blast. They should be on the lookout for really familiar arcs from more recent comics. I’m really, really excited about all of that.
There are some really big, sweeping comic arcs that are going to take place in this show and I think it’s what the fans have been asking for and it’s what I’m most excited about, too. Granted, there are going to be a lot of different villains and exciting things happening week to week, but it definitely isn’t just a one-off monster-of-the-week kind of show. It has a strong character arc and a strong story arc, and I hope the fans are going to enjoy it.
Once you’ve checked out the premiere of Marvel’s Spider-Man, be sure to let us know your thoughts! And if you want more from the series, be sure to check out the following links: