[Update: It’s official – Animated Spider-Man coming 2018 from Lord & Miller]

We can now confirm that Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios did, at some point, discuss a deal that would allow Spider-Man to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, thanks to the recent hacking of Sony’s internal emails and communication. As of right now, though, that isn’t happening, and Sony has instead selected to keep pressing forward with development on multiple Spidey-related projects – including, surprisingly, an animated comedy featuring the webslinger.

Spider-Man, of course, is no stranger to the world of animation; he mades his debut in cartoon form in the late 1960s, and currently appears on the small screen in the 2D animated series, Ultimate Spider-Man, which airs on Disney XD alongside other Marvel animated TV shows (Hulk and the Agents of SMASH, etc.). Given the character’s longtime success as a cartoon superhero, perhaps what’s most surprising is that Sony hasn’t already attempted to move forward with an animated feature.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Sony have been planning a “Spidey Summit” for January 2015, to discuss what comes next for the Spider-Man franchise. So far, the developing animated spinoff – referred to specifically as being a comedy in the WSJ article – has lined up Phil Lord and Chris Miller as producers, but it’s not apparent yet whether the pair’s involvement would go beyond producing, to writing and/or directing too.

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LEGO Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) in ‘The LEGO Movie’

Lord and Miller, of course, have a strong track record in the animation medium, going back to their cult hit TV series Clone High over a decade ago; and, most recently, with their critical/financial smash hit feature, The LEGO Movie, which has now inspired multiple spinoffs of its own. The duo are currently working on the script for The LEGO Movie 2, but haven’t formally committed to directing the sequel yet. Meanwhile, on the superhero project front, they’re also serving as producers on a reboot of the 1980s TV series, The Greatest American Hero.

Spider-Man animated comedy helmed by Lord and Miller could be something quite special, mixing exciting web-slinging action (perfect for being animated) with the filmmakers’ now customary mix of heart and self-reflexive humor (maybe even poking fun at the Spider-Man live-action franchise’s real-life woes in the process). If they’re just producing, though, then it might be best to temper expectations a la the Lord and Miller-produced Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 – a decent, but nonetheless more generic 3D animated comedy/adventure, in comparison to its predecessor (which Lord and Miller directed).

The Amazing Spider Man 2 Movie Spoilers Spider Man Animated Film Being Developed by LEGO Movie Directors [Updated]

Spidey vs. Electro in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’

The Amazing Spider-Man franchise has been criticized for what’s been perceived as studio interference (something that composer James Horner alluded to, in a recent interview), so the concern is this would only carry over even more on all future Spider-Man projects – now that the property is regarded as being less than bullet-proof, post-Amazing Spider-Man 2 – making it hard to get too excited about any Sony-backed Spidy films for now. At the same time, though, the proposed spinoffs like an animated comedy or a Sinister Six film, are interesting enough to demand some attention.

In short, it’s best to wait and see what happens at this “Spidey Summit” – even if it reveals that a young Aunt May spy thriller (you read that correctly) is being developed after all – before getting too worked out either way, as far as the future of Sony’s Spider-Man universe is concerned.

[Update: It’s official – Animated Spider-Man coming 2018 from Lord & Miller]

NEXT: Is a Spider-Man Female Superhero Teamup On the Way?

We’ll keep you updated on the various developing Spider-Man spinoffs (including the animated comedy) as more information becomes available.

Source: WSJ

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