Forget Avengers: Secret Wars is the Marvel announcement I’m most excited about

Christmas came early for Marvel fans this weekend as Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige took the stage at San Diego Comic-Con 2022 and unveiled the next two phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Among the many announcements that have fans around the world squealing with delight was the confirmation that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will return in Avengers: The Kahn Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. Not to mention the confirmation that Netflix’s Daredevil is fully transferring to the MCU and that Anthony Mackie will take on the mantle of Captain America in his own solo movie in 2024.

However, the recent Marvel announcement that got me the most excited is actually a Disney Plus show that appears to be set outside of the MCU. Spider-Man: Freshman Year is an animated show about Spider-Man, who is, you guessed it, a freshman in high school. While this was originally supposed to be canon for the MCU, the latest details revealed at Comic-Con suggest that this may no longer be the case, and it definitely piqued my interest.

Plus, given the webhead’s track record when it comes to starring in his own animated shows, there’s every reason to be cautiously optimistic that Spider-Man: Freshman Year could be one of Marvel’s best Disney Plus shows.

Free from MCU network

Not much is known about Spider-Man: Freshman Year to date. It has been confirmed to be an animated series and is currently set to premiere in 2024. It was also announced that Charlie Cox would reprise his role as Daredevil in the series, and that Doctor Strange would also be involved in some form.

Spider-Man: Freshman Logo of the Year

(Image credit: Marvel)

As you might expect, the series will follow Peter Parker shortly after he gains his superhuman spider powers and must handle crime-fighting duties while trying to juggle a normal teenager. It’s the classic Spider-Man story we all know and love, and it’s unlikely the show will deviate too much from the established formula.

However, this is where things get interesting. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man first appeared in Captain America: Civil War before he became the star of his own trilogy starting with 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. While these films hushed up the specifics of his origin story, we got confirmation that he didn’t have his powers for long and was far from a recognized hero – in Civil War, Parker didn’t even have a proper Spider suit to wear in front of Tony. . Stark made him one.

Logically, this suggests that Spider-Man: Freshman Year would need to be set outside of MCU canon so as not to conflict with the current timeline. After all, it wouldn’t have made any sense for Spider-Man to date Daredevil and Doctor Strange prior to his appearance in Civil War. In fact, we even see Spider-Man and Stephen Strange first meeting in Avengers: Infinity War. Additionally, it is stated in “Homecoming” that Michael Keaton’s Vulture is the first supervillain that Parker has ever faced.

Spider-Man and Doctor Strange in Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Matt Kennedy)

It’s very likely that Marvel is going to enter the multiverse and allow Freshman Year to exist in its own separate timeline. Assuming this theory is true – and it seems almost unbelievable that it isn’t – some fans might be disappointed, but a show freed from the increasingly complex web that is MCU canon isn’t all that bad in my book.

Removing Spider-Man: Freshman Year from the main MCU timeline will give the show’s creative team more freedom. They can tell new and familiar stories with classic characters like Norman Osborn and Doctor Octopus without fear of conflicting storylines or character details from a previous or future MCU project.

The interconnected Marvel Universe was a cinematic revelation, but it’s getting more and more unwieldy, and I’m much more intrigued by the show’s idea of ​​Spider-Man existing outside of his limitations. It might even open the door for Peter Parker, not portrayed by Tom Holland, who is reportedly considering hanging up his web shooters.

Spiderman has a shape in an animated arena

It’s also worth noting that when it comes to animated superhero shows, Spider-Man is second only to Batman in successful series. Sure, there have been a few flops over the years—Ultimate Spider-Man in particular was a failure—but Spidey’s best work on the small screen is one of the best superhero shows ever made.

Frame from The Spectacular Spider-Man

(Image credit: Sony/Disney/Marvel)

For example, the ’90s animated show Spider-Man ranks alongside shows like Batman: The Animated Series and X-Men on the nostalgia scale, and it’s still surprisingly holding up well. Also, The Spectacular Spider-Man is truly phenomenal and was canceled too early due to a frustrating character rights dispute. Its entire episode has just been added to Netflix, so be sure to check it out if you missed it the first time.

When it comes to comic book characters, Spider-Man is perfect for a serialized animated show thanks to his good-natured approach to fighting crime and his iconic villain gallery. So, if Spider-Man: Freshman Year can capture even half the magic of the web builder’s best animation efforts, then we could be in for one of the best Disney Plus shows of all time.

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