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Spider-Man: Freshman Year will finally solve a 5-year-old MCU mystery

How does the upcoming Disney+ series affect Marvel's plans for Tom Holland's Peter Parker?

This year’s Disney+ Day celebration either announced or officially confirmed several Marvel TV shows, but few were more unexpected — or initially perplexing — than Spider-Man: Freshman Year.

A new animated series coming to Disney+ “soon,” Freshman Year is said to reveal how Peter Parker became Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The studio released no other major details about the series yet, other than that it’ll feature animation directly inspired by Marvel’s early Spider-Man comics.

All of this forces us to ask: How the heck does Spider-Man: Freshman Year factor into Marvel’s broader MCU plans? And what does it tell us about the future of Spider-Man in the MCU?

A Journey Into The Past — It’s hard to speculate about Spider-Man: Freshman Year’s story right now, given just how little has been officially revealed about it so far. That said, the confirmation that it’ll show viewers Peter Parker’s transformation into Spider-Man in the MCU suggests that it’ll tell the origin story of the Tom Holland version of the character.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Holland will voice the character or that the actor will be involved in the project in any way. But Marvel.com’s confirmation that the series takes place in the MCU feels intentional and, at the very least, sets Spider-Man: Freshman Year up to be the project that finally answers some of Marvel fans’ biggest questions about Tom Holland’s Peter Parker.

But to what end?

Coming soon to Disney+.Marvel Studios

Peter Parker’s MCU Future — There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the future of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man right now — and for good reason. However, one recent rumor argues Holland will very much remain an active player in the MCU in the coming years and that Spider-Man: Freshman Year will be part of an ongoing Disney+ exploration of the character, which will release in conjunction with a new trilogy of Spider-Man MCU movies.

That’s certainly a possibility, though; it’s hard to know just how certain a plan like that is considering how tenuous Marvel and Sony’s partnership seems to be still. Assuming the rumor is true, Spider-Man: Freshman Year may be part of a deeper, multi-platform Spidey story from both Marvel and Sony — one that’ll begin by journeying into the past to explore the origins of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker on-screen for the first time.

Alternatively, Spider-Man: Freshman Year could be the cap to a story that first began with 2016’s Captain America sequel. Indeed, Marvel may simply use Freshman Year as a way to round out the journey of the MCU’s Peter Parker by telling the one part of his story that the films never did.

Marvel Studios

The Inverse Analysis — At this point, it’s hard to know for sure what the greater function of Spider-Man: Freshman Year is going to be. Odds are, we won’t be able to make any accurate predictions about the Disney+ series until Spider-Man: No Way Home hits theaters this coming December. That film will, hopefully, offer some much-needed clarity about Tom Holland’s future as Peter Parker and, thus, give us a better idea of how Spider-Man: Freshman Year fits into Marvel’s plan for the character.

Until then, all we know about Spider-Man: Freshman Year is that it will finally show us how Tom Holland’s Peter Parker became the “Spider-Guy” who ended up catching the attention of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark.

Spider-Man: Freshman Year does not yet have a Disney+ release date.