While Batman and the X-Men lay claim to having the greatest animated superhero shows of the ‘90s, the decade was actually replete with comic book superhero cartoons. Arguably the most underrated is Spider-Man, which ran for five seasons between 1994 and 1998.
Never checked it out? You might want to fix that, because the latest rumors for the sequel to 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse indicate the Spider-Man of the ‘90s is making a comeback.
What Happened? — On March 31, That Hashtag Show reported that voice actor Christopher Daniel Barnes, who voiced Spider-Man/Peter Parker in Spider-Man, was “in final talks” to reprise his role for the untitled Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel.
That Hashtag Show clarifies that the role would be a minor one, and that Barnes’ Peter Parker “is not a part of the script in a major capacity.”
“He will make a few appearances and show up in the finale. It’s not a major appearance, but something like 5-10 minutes,” That Hashtag Show reported. “However, he will appear in a style that incorporates his look from the cartoon.”
Not So Fast... — Almost exactly one week later, on April 7, Barnes shared a video on his Instagram page putting rest to rumors about appearing in “the next Spider-Man movie.” Barnes said that the rumors are false. “I wish it was true,” he says in the video, “That would just be super cool. Unfortunately it’s not true at all. There’s no truth to the rumor whatsoever.”
What’s curious is that Barnes never specifies what “next Spider-Man movie” he’s actually talking about. Literally speaking, the next Spider-Man movie is 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, the third (and possibly final) movie with Tom Holland in the role of Spider-Man, who will also find himself at the center of a multiverse-centric plot. Into the Spider-Verse 2 is scheduled to release ten months after No Way Home, in October 2022.
Barnes only saying the vague “next Spider-Man” and not explicitly pointing out the sequel to Into the Spider-Verse 2 could be plausible deniability, assuming the actor is still in negotiations or simply not at liberty to speak on the next Spider-Verse.
The Inverse Analysis — Let’s acknowledge first how crazy it is that “the next Spider-Man movie” is vague enough to mean not one but two different Spider-Man film franchises. If you told a Spider-Man fan this in 1989, they would tear up their Todd McFarlane covers in disbelief.
Secondly, it’s still possible Barnes is telling the truth. He may be actually referring to Spider-Verse 2 and not Spider-Man: No Way Home. His phrasing of “next Spider-Man” was not meant to be literal but contextual.
Still, Barnes’ Spider-Man is a fan favorite portrayal (one that is streaming right now on Disney+), and the Spider-Verse movies are nothing if not fan service to an extreme. There are a lot of secrets in the Marvel multiverse. This might still be one of them.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 will be released in theaters on October 7, 2022.