When Marvel Studios announced Spider-Man: Freshman Year during last year's Disney+ Day, we were led to believe that the series would be a prequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Well, at last weekend's Comic-Con, it became clear that we were wrong to jump to that assumption. Between the web-slinger squaring off with villains like Doctor Octopus and Scorpion, not to mention Norman Osborn being the teenager's mentor, it quickly became apparent this animated series isn't set in the MCU. However, a press release was then shared by Disney saying that it is!
Now, though, we have an explanation from executive producer Brad Winderbaum.
Talking to ComicBook.com, he explained that this story will play out in an alternate reality, similar to what we saw from What If...? last year. "It follows the pattern that you see in [Captain America:] Civil War," Winderbaum started. "Down to Peter getting the broken Blu-ray player from the trash, and he walks into his apartment for the famous moment where Tony Stark is waiting for him to offer him the Stark internship and take him to Berlin."
"But because of things that happen in the Multiverse [and] because of new, random occurrences, it's not Tony Stark who's waiting for him there," he continued. "It's Norman Osborn, and that sends his life in an unexpected trajectory that collides him with many unexpected characters in the Marvel Universe."
So, the series is basically "What If...Norman Osborn was Peter Parker's mentor instead of Tony Stark?" It's an admittedly cool idea, and at least we finally have some clarification about how Spider-Man: Freshman Year fits into the wider MCU and, more specifically, the Multiverse.
It does ultimately make more sense for the show to have its own continuity. There's still a lot of uncertainty surrounding Spider-Man's MCU future and as that Peter was only a hero for a short amount of time before crossing paths with Iron Man, Marvel Studios would potentially be very limited with what they can do with the character and how many stories they could tell.
We can't help but wish that a proper prequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming had been the plan, but this show should still be a lot of fun. It's already been confirmed that, after this launches in 2024, we're getting a second season titled Spider-Man: Sophomore Year.