My fellow fans of The Spectacular Spider-Man have been waiting for months to find out whether a third season of the show would be ordered â and wondering what the holdup was on an announcement. Like the Spider-Man movie series, Spectacular has been produced by Sony, but yesterday, Spectacular's Supervising Producer, Greg Weisman, made a surprising revelation â Only days before the huge news broke that Disney was buying Marvel, he had been told that Sony had relinquished all television rights to Spider-Man, including animation, in exchange for "some concession vis-a-vis the live action Spider-Man features."
I contacted Weisman via email to find out where this major turn of events leaves The Spectacular Spider-Man. Did this mean Sony could continue producing Spectacular Spider-Man, but had no further claim to Spider-Man on TV beyond that? And if Sony had to step aside immediately, was it possible for Marvel to fully take over production of the show so it could continue?
Weisman explained, "Sony is NO LONGER involved with The Spectacular Spider-Man. I'm informed that Marvel can now produce the series, but of course, they don't have to." Weisman noted he had "no clue" as to what Sony gained regarding Spider-Man's film rights that they didn't already have that led them to give up the TV rights to the character.
In the best case scenario for The Spectacular Spider-Man, not only could the show continue with Marvel producing, but some of the restrictions Weisman, fellow Supervising Producer Victor Cook and their team have had to work with could be lifted â including the fact that up until now, they could not use any non-Spider-Man characters on the series. Pondering that fact, Weisman said, "I'd be very excited at the prospect of adding Kingpin to our cast. And as I've mentioned before, I'd love to do the occasional crossover, starting with the Human Torch. But the bigger concern is whether or not we get new episodes, not who guest stars in them."
So does Spectacular Spider-Man already airing on Disney XD -- the only current Marvel project already directly tied to Disney before the new Disney/Marvel deal -- help the show's prospects? Weisman said, "It can't hurt."
He noted, "A number of folks at Marvel have said kind things about the show in the past, but as you can imagine they have a LOT on their plates right now, so no one's talked to me about any potential pick-ups since the world turned a bit upside-down. What hasn't changed, I imagine, is that we're still waiting to hear whether Disney XD even WANTS a new season. If Disney XD decides they don't want any episodes, it's no longer likely that we'd shop the series around to XD's competitors. So any decision begins at XD, I would think. And before you ask, no, nobody at Disney has talked to me about the series. "
So there you have it. It seems the ball is now in Disney and Marvel's court on this one. Spider-Man being the hugely popular character he is, I'd imagine they'd certainly want an animated series starring the character to be on the air, but the scary part for us Spectacular fans is knowing they could decide to simply start from scratch with a new series rather than continue forward with one originally produced with Sony's involvement.
But as all of us who watch The Spectacular Spider-Man know, this is an excellent series that has delivered two great seasons so far â and Weisman and Cook have made it clear they have plenty in store for future seasons. The show has gained critical acclaim and a loyal following, despite the long delay between seasons here in the United States (and currently, between new episodes). It would be a huge shame to end it now, when there is so much more the series could explore with Peter Parker and his alter ego. On top of that, there's the fact that The Spectacular Spider-Man has been heavily branded and has an accompanying toy line filling toy store shelves right now â all of which I'm hoping will help influence Marvel and Disney to do the right thing and continue this truly excellent show.