X-Men ’97’s Spider-Man Cameo Completes A 26-Year-Old Unresolved Story

x-men 97 cyclops and storm with spider-man from spider-man the animated series

X-Men ’97‘s thrilling Spider-Man cameo has resolved a decades-old Marvel cliffhanger from Spider-Man: The Animated Series. Spider-Man appeared in X-Men ’97 season 1, episode 8 “Tolerance is Extinction – Part 1,” swinging onto a rooftop as Magneto unleashes the electromagnetic pulse. With this very brief scene, X-Men ’97 has confirmed a resolution to an old Spider-Man: TAS mystery that has perplexed audiences since it concluded in 1998.

Spider-Man: The Animated Series was a part of Marvel’s shared animated universe from the 1990s. Like its contemporaries, Spider-Man: TAS originally aired as part of a block of Saturday morning cartoons. The series ran from 1994 until 1998, boasting five seasons and 65 episodes. Spider-Man: TAS enjoys a comparable popularity and legacy as X-Men: TAS, with many people calling for a Spider-Man revival in line with X-Men: The Animated Series and X-Men ’97.

X-Men ’97’s Spider-Man Cameo Resolves Spidey’s Animated Series Cliffhanger

Spider-Man: TAS Ended With Spider-Man Traveling To A Different Dimension

Spider-Man in X-Men '97 Episode 8

Spider-Man’s appearance in X-Men ’97 has finally resolved the cliffhanger from Spider-Man: TAS‘s final episode. Spider-Man: TAS season 5, episode 12 “Spider-Wars – Chapter II: Farewell Spider-Man” depicted Spider-Man’s continued efforts to find Mary Jane. MJ has previously been lost to an alternative dimension, which Madame Web offered to help Spider-Man locate. Following a multiverse adventure with numerous Spider-Men from different dimensions, Spider-Man ventured forth to rescue Mary Jane from another universe.

This is where the episode, and Spider-Man: The Animated Series, ended, leaving no indication of whether Spider-Man found MJ or returned to his original dimension. However, X-Men ’97 has finally confirmed that Spider-Man returned to his original Earth, presumably with Mary Jane in tow. However, according to writer John Semper, the original ending wasn’t intended to be as vague.

Why Spider-Man: The Animated Series Ended On A Cliffhanger

It Wasn’t Actually Meant To Be A Cliffhanger

Shot from Spider-Man The Animated Series of Spider-man in front of some New York buildings

Spider-Man: The Animated Series was never supposed to end with a cliffhanger. This was partly because a sixth season was hoped for and partly planned. As Spider-Man: TAS writer John Semper explained, the ending was intended to wrap up many of the narratives while remaining open-ended enough for the series to continue. Semper stated that he believed audiences would understand that Spider-Man would find Mary Jane and live happily ever after. Speaking in a now defunct interview with Syfy Wire (available on the fandom page, Marvel Animated Universe Wiki), Semper elucidated, saying:

Coming at it from an adult perspective, that, for me was, enough finality. I felt like I had done the whole hero’s arc for Peter. But unfortunately, that’s a very adult way of looking at things. And really, I momentarily forgot that I was catering to kids, and that they wanted to see if Peter got the girl. Yeah… so I left you all with a horrible feeling of incompletion.

Semper evidently believed that Spider-Man’s fate in the Spider-Man: TAS finale was obvious. However, it has posed much confusion in the years following its airing. The cliffhanger is often cited as the main justification in petitions for a Spider-Man: TAS revival, with fans imploring Marvel to proffer a definitive conclusion. The revival seems more likely following the X-Men ’97 cameo and the show’s widespread acclaim – though ironically, the primary justification has now been addressed. Spider-Man worked with the X-Men previously in Spider-Man: TAS, so his cameo could indicate a collaboration in the future.

Other Unresolved Spider-Man: The Animated Series Storylines A Revival Could Address

Spider-Man: TAS Season 6 Would Have Resolved Several Stories

Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Lizard standing together in Spider-Man: The Animated Series

Numerous unresolved plots could be finally addressed in a Spider-Man: TAS revival. The biggest narrative teased was a follow-up to Spider-Man: TAS‘s Secret Wars adaptation. In Spider-Man: TAS season 5, episode 8 “Secret Wars – Chapter III: Doom,” Spider-Man and his cohort of heroes completed the Beyonder’s challenge by defeating the troupe of Marvel villains. However, upon completion, the Beyonder tells Spider-Man that it was a test to see if Spider-Man was worthy of another challenge.

This subsequent challenge was never depicted in Spider-Man TAS and could provide for another dynamic team-up with numerous animated Marvel heroes. Other unresolved Spider-Man: TAS narratives include Spider-Man’s burgeoning romance with Black Cat. Spider-Man shared a kiss with Black Cat at the end of season 5, episode 10 “Secret Wars – Chapter II: The Gauntlet Of The Red Skull.” While Spider-Man’s love for Mary Jane drove many of his actions, the outcome of his potential relationship with Black Cat has also not been fully addressed.

Additionally, Norman Osborne is still trapped in Limbo, having disappeared along with Mary Jane in Spider-Man: TAS season 3, episode 14 “Sins of the Father – Chapter XIV: Turning Point.” Norman is confirmed to have survived, as he later telepathically calls out to his son Harry, encouraging him to assume the Green Goblin mantle in season 4, episode 8 “Partners In Danger – Chapter VIII: The Return of the Green Goblin.” These would each make a thrilling narrative that could be depicted in a Spider-Man: TAS revival following the success of X-Men ’97.

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