Marvel's Spider-Man animated series premieres this weekend on Disney XD, and it promises to put an emphasis on Peter Parker's science knowhow, effectively turning it into another part of the burgeoning superhero's already impressive power set. The focus on science and technology is in keeping with the Spider-Man character – especially his current comic-book counterpart – but the new animated series will revolve around science in way no other Spidey animated series has before, making it the de facto currency of world in which the series is set.
That much will be made clear when fans tune into the Spider-Man premiere, as the young wall-crawler finds himself going up against a slew of science-based adversaries, all while balancing the hectic life of a teenage boy attending the prestigious Horizon High. Peter's education will help keep science in the forefront of the stories this new series aims to tell. And according to Cort Lane, Senior Vice President, Animation and Family Entertainment at Marvel, science will play into a very familiar aspect of Peter's maturation as a hero.
In a recent interview, I asked Lane about the importance of science in the show, and what fans can expect to see with regard to its depiction of Peter's science skills. Lane says those skills will more or less equate to a third set of powers for our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, but it will also serve to introduce Peter to his supporting cast. Lane said:
"The first lines of dialogue in the [series] are meant to establish that science is incredibly important to this show. It is the currency that heroes and villains in the show operate with. Also, we really feel that Peter's science smarts are his third set of powers. He's got his spider powers, he's got everything that he can do with his web shooters, but he is a scientist too. That power is perhaps the greatest one of all. He has a responsibility to use that power wisely."
[The series will explore] how various characters, not just [Peter], but… Anya [Corazon], Gwen [Stacy], and Max Modell and Miles Morales, use science versus how other characters use science. Even Harry [Osborn] goes down a dark road. It is an important moral lesson for the world that we live in today. How you use your smarts is an important thing."
The focus on science and education helps this new Spider-Man animated series stand out from versions that have come before, while also giving it something in common with this summer's Spider-Man: Homecoming. The film also saw a much younger Peter Parker dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a teenager caught between balancing school, friendships, and the occasional supervillain, but positioned the story within the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel's Spider-Man starts in a similar place but very quickly goes off in its own direction. As Lane mentions, some familiar characters from the comic books will join Peter and share in the young hero's spider-and-science centric adventures. That certainly gives this new Spider-Man animated series a distinctive platform on which to tell its superhero stories, and one that will likely make many a comic book fan very happy.
Marvel's Spider-Man premieres Saturday, August 19 on Disney XD.