It was just two wordless cameos in a pair of stacked episode, but fans of ‘90s Marvel animation jumped for joy at the X-Men ’97 episodes “Tolerance is Extinction” Parts I and III. During a crucial moment, when Magneto powers down all electrical devices across the globe, we cut to several cameos of Marvel characters. One of them is our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. It’s not just any Spidey spinning his webs, though. As fans of ‘ 90s Marvel cartoons know, the Spider-Man in the X-Men cartoon is the same one from the Spider-Man: The Animated Series, that ran concurrently on Fox Kids at the time. We then saw Peter Parker and MJ together in the season finale. Could this mean a Spidey spin-off is on the way, picking up from Spider-Man: The Animated Series? Here’s what Marvel Animation’s Brad Winderbaum said when asked by Screen Rant about the possibility:

There is always potential, right? We don’t want to close the door on anything. But I think that for now, for the foreseeable future, X-Men ’97 will own the ’90s, and how much we bring in guest stars or tell stories from other Marvel characters from that era is TBD, but it will be seen through that lens of the X-Men.

Spider-Man's brief cameo in X-Men '97 episode eight.
Marvel Animation

The ’90s X-Men and Spider-Man Animated Series Were Connected

Spider-Man appeared only as a hand shooting web fluid in X-Men: The Animated Series. The X-Men: TAS producers snuck the cameo in, as technically they didn’t have the rights to use Spidey. However, the full X-Men team from the ‘90s cartoon appeared in the two-part Spider-Man episodes “The Mutant Agenda” and “The Mutant’s Revenge” in 1995. All the X-Men: TAS voice actors returned, and their designs were identical to those on their own show. This was the first connection between two Marvel ‘90s animated shows, showing that at least the X-Men and Spider-Man existed within the same continuity. As for the other Marvel cartoons from the ’90s, that’s up for debate.

Marvel Animation

Spider-Man: The Animated Series Left Lingering Questions X-Men ’97 Could Resolve

So what does this mean for ‘90s Spidey in X-Men ’97? Former showrunner Beau Demayo confirmed on social media that this version of Spidey is the same one originally voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes in the classic show. As fans may recall, Spider-Man: TAS ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. After a long and convoluted adventure through the Spider-Verse, Madame Web appears to Peter Parker. She takes him to find Mary Jane Watson, who found herself lost in the multiverse earlier in the season. Viewers never found out if Peter and MJ actually reunited, much less if their planned nuptials ever occurred. It was a bit of a giant question mark. But X-Men ’97 answered that question in the season finale, which shows that Peter did indeed find MJ, and the pair were reunited. Beau DeMayo also confirmed this on social media.

Marvel Animation

Could X-Men ’97 Lead to a Spider-Man ’98 Spin-Off?

One big thing is likely keeping Spider-Man’s appearance from being a “backdoor pilot” to set up a spin-off show. That’s the upcoming Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man animated series coming to Disney+ soon. This is the series formerly known as Spider-Man: Freshman Year. If anything, the upcoming new Spidey cartoon is probably the biggest obstacle in getting a full Spider-Man ’98 series. Would Marvel Animation have two competing Spider-Man cartoons concurrently? However, the massive success of X-Men ’97 may eventually cause them to rethink those plans. Spider-Man was just as beloved a cartoon hero for ‘90s kids as the X-Men.

Could Peter Parker Teach at Xavier’s School in Future X-Men ’97 Seasons?

Marvel Comics

Even if we don’t get a Spider-Man ’98 series, there is room for a continuation of that version of Peter Parker in future X-Men ’97 seasons. After all, in the comics, Peter Parker became a teacher at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters for a time (then renamed the Jean Grey School), in the series Spider-Man and the X-Men. Why not make the ’90s version of Spidey part of the supporting cast of X-Men ’97? Peter could teach several new mutants, teens discovering their powers during puberty as he once did. Original voice actor Christopher Daniel Barnes has not been contacted yet, but has said he’s into the idea.

Marvel Studios

Spider-Man is technically not a mutant of course. He got his powers as a teenager during a lab accident, as everyone knows. None of that stopped the comic book creators from giving him a teaching position at the school though. Of course, we’d love for him to have a revival series like X-Men ’97. But if the other Spidey series on Disney+ makes that unlikely, we’ll take option B. Whatever happens, Spidey is officially part of the X-Men ’97 world now. We highly doubt it’s the last time he swings through the New York skyline in this series.

Originally published on May 1, 2024.