While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is set to break new ground when Marvel Studios and Sony team up for the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017, the animated TV series Ultimate Spider-Man is wrapping up its fourth season on Disney XD.
Now, a number of characters from across the many Marvel mediums, will be joining Peter Parker in order to close out Ultimate Spider-Man season 4.
IGN reports Spidey is about to team up with some interesting characters. Season 4 will conclude with a four-part storyline, called "Return to the Spider-Verse." While we will see the return of some old friends, like Miles Morales and Spider-Man Noir, perhaps even more exciting is the debut of other Marvel characters, like Rocket Raccoon, Howard the Duck, and Spider-Gwen. IGN additionally revealed a first look at Spider-Gwen on the series:
While Ultimate fans are no stranger to the Spider-Verse, in which Spider-Man encounters multiple other characters with spider superpowers, the show's addition of characters like Spider-Gwen promises an engaging arc. Spider-Gwen, an alternate reality Gwen Stacy with spider superpowers, was added to Marvel's print canon in November 2014 for the Spider-Verse arc. She later landed her own series, first published in February 2015. Since, Spider-Gwen has become a fan favorite, with critics praising the series' striking artwork and fresh writing. Her on-screen debut is certain to add an interesting twist to Ultimate Spider-Man, as Gwen Stacy has not shown up in the series yet.
Spider-Gwen will not join the Ultimate storyline until the fourth and final episode of "Return to the Spider-Verse." Dove Cameron, of Descendants and Liv and Maddie, will voice the super-powered Stacy. Vague plans for the rest of the season finale have been revealed, as well. Spider-Man, along with Miles Morales, will meet Wolf Spider and Blood Spider in part one. Part two promises some hijinks, with the Ultimate debuts of Rocket Raccoon, Howard the Duck, Web Beard (pirate-Spidey) and Webslinger (cowboy-Spidey). The third episode will reintroduce Spider-Man Noir from season 3's "Web Warriors."
Ultimate writers appear to be using this finale as a chance to nod to Marvel series besides Spider-Gwen. Last year, Guardians of the Galaxy reinvigorated fan interest in characters like Rocket Raccoon and Howard the Duck, who will appear in the second part of the finale. Fans may also recognize Rocket Raccoon from the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series. Trevor Devall, who voices Rocket Raccoon in that series, will lend his vocal talents to his Ultimate Spider-Man cameo as well. The unmistakable Seth Green will appear as Howard the Duck. Green also voiced the character in his post-credits Guardians of the Galaxy scene.
The decision to add Spider-Gwen to the Ultimate canon shows a real attention to fan interests, as the comic series has long been praised for its universality. More specifically, Spider-Gwen's addition to an on-screen Marvel canon may be an attempt to draw in more female viewers. Additionally, this news may lead fans to ask if there is room for Gwen Stacy, alive and super-powered, on larger screens.
In the end, adding Spider-Gwen to the Ultimate canon may not change much. This may just be a temporary cameo, or simply not big enough news to affect other on-screen Marvel projects. Still, it's exciting to see such a new comic arc gain on-screen traction so quickly, and hopefully Ultimate Spider-Gwen will be as vibrant on the TV screen as she is in print. Maybe she'll even earn a spot in the upcoming animated Spider-Man movie.
The four-part Ultimate Spider-Man season finale "Return to the Spider-Verse" will kick off with Part One on Saturday, August 27th at 8 PM on Disney XD. The subsequent three parts will air weekly on Saturdays, until the fourth and final part - starring Spider-Gwen - airs September 17th.