Recently, a rumor started doing the rounds of the internet that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 would feature the version of Spider-Man who appeared in the iconic nineties Spider-Man: The Animated Series cartoons, to be voiced by the same actor, Christopher Barnes. But before fans could start getting their hopes up, the writer and producer of the show, John Semper Jr., revealed through a Facebook post that he has spoken to Barnes' wife, and the rumor is false.
"An article was posted here yesterday supposedly having the inside story that Chris Barnes is reprising his role in the sequel to "SPIDER-MAN - INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE." I heard today from Chris's wife that this is absolutely FALSE. Chris has not been approached by Sony/Marvel to reprise his role as nineties Spider-Man, which means that the Spider-Man from my series will NOT be in this upcoming movie. So spread the word. The rumor is FALSE."
And there you have it. Can't get much more definite than that. Of course, fans are going to be disappointed, but the absence of Barnes from the Spider-Verse movies does not negate the immense popularity his version of Spider-Man/Peter Parker has garnered since the nineties.
One person who has an issue with the current Spider-Verse is Semper himself. In his Facebook post, the writer/producer points out that the basic premise of the franchise, which involves different Spider-Mans from alternate realities coming together to battle a threat, was first envisioned in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, an idea that Marvel was happy to use in the new Spider-Verse films without crediting Semper.
"I do mention that I created the Spider-Verse whenever the subject comes up, mostly because I enjoy needling Sony/Marvel, and I hope word will get back to them that I'm mildly pissed at not even being thanked at the end of their first film... Finally, a few of you seem to be irritated that I even assert that I created the Spider-Verse. Yeah...tough. I can't help you there. I know what I originated, and how much of it I saw in that movie and my stance is unchanged. The whole narrative underpinning of that film - that a group of Spider-Men from different realities had to band together to prevent a rift in dimensions created by the Kingpin from destroying all of reality - yeah, I thought that up. If you can't accept that, I can't waste time arguing with you. The proof is in my series itself."
Of course, the idea of heroes from different realities coming together to battle a threat has been a staple of comics much before the nineties, so it can be argued whether the Spider-Verse movie writers are lifting Semper's ideas, or both were inspired by the same source material. For now, all we know is nineties Spidey is probably not going to be appearing in the Spider-Verse any time soon. Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 arrives in theaters Oct. 7, 2022.