Spider-Man: Freshman Year Disney+ Logo

Marvel Just Revealed a Fitting New Title for ‘Spider-Man: Freshman Year’

Disney+’s new animated series, initially titled Spider-Man: Freshman Year, following Peter Parker’s early superhero career, is slated to arrive next year. Ahead of its release, Marvel announced a brand new title for the show.

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Spider-Man has long been one of Marvel’s most popular characters, so it isn’t surprising that the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to capitalize on his popularity. Prior to the MCU’s Spider-Man trilogy starring Tom Holland, Sony exclusively owned the film rights to the web-slinging hero. While Sony and Disney collaborated to bring Spider-Man into the MCU, Sony still owns the film rights to Spider-Man, which is why some fans may have been surprised when Disney announced the development of a Disney+ original animated series, Spider-Man: Freshman Year—without Sony’s involvement.

The reason this is possible has to do with the technicalities of Sony’s film and TV rights to Spider-Man. Essentially, the studio only has the rights to animated series with episodes that are 44 minutes or longer. With Spider-Man: Freshman Year slated for 30-minute episodes, Disney managed to avoid a rights issue. Since its announcement in 2021, though, the time between updates has left viewers worried about the show’s cancellation. Fortunately, Spider-Man: Freshman Year is still in development and recently received an exciting new update. Here’s everything we know about the show so far.

Marvel unveils a new title for Spider-Man: Freshman Year

During Marvel’s presentation of What If…? season 2, Disney revealed Spider-Man: Freshman Year‘s retitle. Disney confirmed that the series is part of its 2024 slate for animated shows, but it will be released under the new title Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. It is a fitting title for the animated series, given that Spider-Man often refers to himself by the term and has a comic book series of the same name. Although the series is confirmed for 2024, it does not have a specific release date. However, earlier reports suggested it would be released sometime in November 2024. A season 2 of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is also reportedly in development with no confirmed release date.

Who stars in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man?

Charlie Cox as Daredevil in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
(Disney+)

So far, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man has only two confirmed voice actors in the series. One of those names will be very familiar to Marvel fans: Charlie Cox. He’ll be reprising his role as Matt Murdock/Daredevil for the series. Cox previously portrayed the character in the Netflix series Daredevil but recently made his way into the MCU in Spider-Man: No Way Home and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. The MCU has made it clear that Cox is here to stay, as he’s now slated to star in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Echo, and Daredevil: Born Again.

In addition to Cox, comedian and actor Paul F. Tompkins has been cast as the voice of Bentley Wittman, a.k.a. the Wizard. Wittman is a supervillain from Marvel Comics who possesses a nearly superhuman intellect and is obsessed with defeating the Fantastic Four. However, Wittman also went against Spider-Man several times while teaming up with Mysterio.

A few unconfirmed castings were also outlined in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man‘s copyright listing. This includes Hudson Thames as Peter Parker, Zeno Robinson as Harry Osborn, Kari Wahlgren as Aunt May, Hugh Darcy as Otto Octavius, Eugene Byrd as Lonnie Lincoln, and Grace Song as Nico Minoru. However, these castings haven’t been officially confirmed and may be subject to change.

While the voice of Parker isn’t yet confirmed, Holland is not expected to voice the role. He did not voice Spider-Man in What If…? due to his busy schedule, and his contract reportedly ended after Spider-Man: No Way Home, which explains why he hasn’t been tied to the animated project.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man takes place in an alternate universe

Spider-Man: Freshman Year first look image
(Disney+)

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man will tell Spider-Man’s origin story and explore the adventures he had during his first year coming into his powers. Viewers will recall that Holland’s Spider-Man didn’t have an origin story in the MCU, mostly because it wasn’t necessary given fans’ familiarity with the story. As a result, some may think of the upcoming series as an untold story of the events before Captain America: Civil War. However, the plot of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is a little more complicated than that. The show will closely parallel the events of the MCU’s Spider-Man movies, but it probably won’t feature the Earth-616—or main timeline—iteration of the character.

To be clear, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is still canon in the MCU. However, since the MCU has introduced the multiverse and made it possible for the franchise to tackle alternate worlds and timelines, the animated series will do just that. Marvel’s Head of Streaming, Brad Winderbaum, shed some light on the plot and timeline while speaking to ComicBook.com. He stated:

It follows the pattern that you see in [Captain America:Civil War. 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 because of new, random occurrences, it’s not Tony Stark who’s waiting for him there. It’s Norman Osborn, and that sends his life in an unexpected trajectory that collides with many unexpected characters in the Marvel universe.

So, it takes place in an alternate universe where Norman Osborn became Peter Parker’s mentor instead of Tony Stark. This would explain why Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man has more freedom to introduce characters like Wittman, the Osborns, Cho, and Minoru and still be canon without messing up the continuity of Earth-616.

Given the popularity of Holland’s Spider-Man, some viewers might be disappointed that the show won’t actually tackle his origin story. However, as said above, the origin story of Spider-Man has been tackled in multiple films, from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Maybe it isn’t a bad idea to tell another Spider-Man origin story but with an unexpected twist. Additionally, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is expected to use a unique form of animation that will give it the appearance of being a hand-drawn comic—a nice tribute to Peter Parker’s real-life comic book origins.

(featured image: Disney+)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.