SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES Showrunner John Semper On The Show's Legacy and Possible Revival (Exclusive)
Talking to us about writing Green Lantern: Beware My Power, Spider-Man: The Animated Series showrunner John Semper discusses that show's legacy and the chances of it being revived like Disney+'s X-Men '97.
John Semper is a legend in the world of animation, with credits that range from The Jetsons to Rugrats, Static Shock, Spider-Man: The Animated Series, and this month's Green Lantern: Beware My Power.
The latest DC Animated Universe movie arrives on Digital and Blu-ray on July 26, and follows recently discharged Marine John Stewart as he becomes Earth's newest Green Lantern and is forced into the midst of a galactic war alongside unexpected allies like Green Arrow and Hawkgirl.
We're sure that many of you will have grown up watching Spider-Man: The Animated Series, and there's no denying that the show put the wall-crawler on the map in a big way in the '90s. The comic book industry was struggling at the time, but stores were full of toys based on the hit series, and for many fans, this is how they first encountered Peter Parker's amazing world.
Earlier this week, we caught up with John to discuss co-writing Green Lantern: Beware My Power alongside Ernie Altbacker (Injustice). Needless to say, we had to take the opportunity to ask for his thoughts on the legacy of the show he served as Head Writer and producer on across the course of its five seasons.
"Well, it feels spectacular," he said of the love Spider-Man: The Animated Series continues to receive. "I am, right at this moment, very happy to be me [Laughs]. I do get wonderful feedback from fans. Just about every other day I get an email or a letter out of the blue from someone saying about what the series meant to them. I always hoped the show would have longevity and an impact down the line, and that people would appreciate the kind of drama we brought. It was threading that needle of appealing to fans, older people, and introducing Spider-Man to a new generation of kids who were totally unfamiliar with him."
"I think we did a really good job on that series doing that and working on this Green Lantern movie is the first time I’ve felt a similar feeling. I feel like this movie is going to resonate with fans and have real longevity, and I hope it stacks up as one of the better DC Animated Universe movies," John continued. "The same thrill I get watching one of the really good episodes of Spider-Man is the thrill I’ve gotten each time watching this one. I’ve watched it three times now. I really love it."
As we're sure you'll be aware, X-Men: The Animated Series is being revived by Marvel Studios for Disney+ as X-Men '97. This has led to many fans wondering if other shows from that era could follow suit, but the prolific writer doesn't seem overly convinced there are any plans to head down that route with Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
"I think, right now, they’re doing an updated Spider-Man. They’ve done a number of shows since mine and they’re doing another right now," he explained, likely referring to Spider-Man: Freshman Year. "I don’t think that the politics of the situation will allow for the 90s Spider-Man series to be revived. If they did revive it, I don’t know if I’d get to be involved."
"I was in a very good position because I was really able to have a lot of creative control over that show after episode 13 or 14. I don’t know if I’d ever have that situation again, so it would really make it a different kind of thing. Strangely enough, the kind of creative freedom I would like to have is the kind of creative freedom Ernie and I had on this Green Lantern film. I might point out that myself, Ernie, and Jim Krieg are all alumni of Spider-Man: The Animated Series. Jim and Ernie were on staff, so we really had a similar kind of situation here."
"I don’t know if I’d get that on a Spider-Man revival given it’s now a property that’s owned by two studios and there’s a lot of politics involved," John concluded. "But hey, if someone wants to call me and say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna do more episodes and we’re going to leave you alone,’ I’d be there in a heartbeat."
We'd love to see more of this Spider-Man, and while it does seem unlikely that the show will return, there's always a chance Christopher Daniel Barnes' Peter Parker could swing into something like Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (this show arguably created the concept of the Spider-Verse during its later seasons).
Would you like to see more of Spider-Man: The Animated Series? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section and be sure to watch the Green Lantern: Beware My Power trailer below. You'll also want to check back here later this month for our full conversation with John about telling this action-packed - and long-overdue - John Stewart story.