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5 Marvel Cartoons That Deserve A Reboot

Let's tie up some loose ends.

By Kristy AndersonPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 7 min read
Credit: Marvel

Fans of 90s classic X-Men: The Animated Series have been filled with nostalgic excitement at the release of the trailer for the upcoming sequel series, X-Men '97, set to hit Disney Plus on March 20.

The hype surrounding X-Men '97, as well as a few well-placed Easter Eggs, have some fans theorising that if the series does well, other incomplete animated series from the Marvel universe could also be revived for Disney Plus.

While X-Men: The Animated Series was open-ended enough for the upcoming revival to work, the ending was at least somewhat conclusive, at least by cartoon standards. The same cannot be said for many other Marvel branded cartoons, airing at both the same time as X-Men, and in the years since. Often, the teams behind animated shows are not aware that they are not getting another season until it is too late, meaning, on more than one occasion, these shows have ended on a cliffhanger.

Let's look at a few Marvel cartoons that deserve a reboot, even if only long enough to see their cliffhangers resolved.

1. Spider-Man: The Animated Series

Spider-Man: The Animated Series aired for five seasons from 1994 to 1998, and was enjoyed by children and older fans alike, as one of the most comic accurate adaptations of the character. Around the mid-point of the final season, Peter Parker discovers that Mary-Jane Watson, who he had recently married, has been replaced by a clone, with the real MJ still lost in interdimensional limbo after being sucked into a portal the previous season.

After the MJ clone's death, the psychic Madame Web promises to help Spider-Man find the real MJ if he completes a particular task. This turns out to be leading the heroes of Earth, including X-Men's Storm and The Fantastic Four, in a crossover adaptation of the 'Secret Wars' story arc. In the season five finale, Madame Web agrees to fulfill her promise to find MJ, guiding Peter through a portal.. But the series never received another season, leaving MJ's whereabouts unknown.

The 'Secret Wars' arc, as well as an earlier crossover, confirmed the X-Men and Spider-Man animated series' as taking place in the same universe, and a Spider-Man easter egg in X-Men '97's trailer implies this may still be true. This gives fans hope that Spider-Man: The Animated Series could also return. Writer Jon Semper has claimed that a sixth season would have involved Peter finding Mary-Jane in Victorian England, where he must battle Dormammu before they can return home. Such a story could be easily adapted into a mini-series or special on Disney Plus, allowing Spider-Man: The Animated Series to reach it's proper conclusion.

2. The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!

Airing from 2010 to 2012, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! was one of the inaugural shows of Disney XD's Marvel Universe programming block. Over the course of it's two seasons, Earth's Mightiest Heroes adapted many classic comic book stories, including the birth of The Avengers, their first battle with Kang the Conqueror, the Secret Invasion, and the rise of Ultron and birth of The Vision, among many more. The series became a fan favourite, but unfortunately ended on a cliffhanger, teasing an adaptation of the 'Ragnarok' storyline that never came to pass. It was replaced in the Marvel Universe block by Avengers Assemble, a cartoon made to more closely resemble the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The cancellation came as unpleasant surprise to writers Christopher Yost and Josh Fine, who had already begun writing the third season, and had outlines as far ahead as season five. Their plans would have included the introduction of the X-Men, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch joining the Avengers, further storylines with the New Avengers, the origin of the West Coast Avengers, and eventually, an Infinity Stone storyline.

Yost and Fine have expressed willingness to return to the series, and with no other Avengers animated show currently in production, now could be the perfect time for Earth's Mightiest Heroes to rise again.

3. Silver Surfer

An animated series based on Marvel Comics' Silver Surfer aired on the Fox Kids Network for a single season in 1998. The series, presented in a serial format and rendered in the visual style of the character's creator, Jack Kirby, began with the tale of how Norrin Radd became the Silver Surfer, giving himself up to become the herald of Galactus in exchange for the protection of his home planet, Zenn-La. The rest of the series follows the Surfer after he has left the service of Galactus, as he tries to locate Zenn-La, which Galactus has hidden from him as punishment, and reunite with the love of his life, Shalla-bal. Along the way, he encounters various characters from the more cosmic side of the Marvel Universe, including Drax the Destroyer and Pip the Troll.

In the final episode, the Silver Surfer is summoned by omniscient siblings Eternity and Infinity, and chosen to defeat Thanos, who has gained the power to make time flow backwards, potentially bringing about the end of the universe. The series ends as the Surfer rushes to stop Thanos as time and space contract around him, leaving the fate of the universe, and the question of whether the Silver Surfer ever made it home unresolved.

Eight episodes of the second season had apparently been written before the series was scrapped. The reason for the cancellation was supposedly a legal dispute between Marvel and co-producer Saban Entertainment. While Silver Surfer is not quite as remembered or iconic as other series on this list, many would still like to see the story resolved.

4. Iron Man: Armored Adventures

Beginning in 2009, a year after the release of the first live-action Iron Man film, the CGI animated Iron Man: Armored Adventures ran for two seasons. The series, story edited by Christopher Yost who later became a lead writer on Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, follows a teenage Tony Stark after he becomes Iron Man, and begins with Tony and his friends James 'Rhodey' Rhodes, Pepper Potts, and Gene Khan searching for the Makluan Rings (this universe's version of The Ten Rings). A late season one twist sees Gene betray his friends and steal the Rings, becoming villain The Mandarin.

Over the course of it's two seasons, Armored Adventures also adapted the Madame Masque saga, the 'Armor Wars' and 'Stane International' comic arcs, and culminated in the assembling of a future Avengers team. While this series has a slightly more conclusive ending than others on this list, there are a few plot threads left unresolved, and some fans believe the concept of a younger Tony has potential for a continuation.

5. The Spectacular Spider-Man

The Spectacular Spider-Man ran from 2008 to 2009, with the first airing on The CW network's Kids' WB programming block, while season two moved to Disney XD. The series follows a teenage Peter Parker shortly after the spider bite that made him Spider-Man, with each season taking place over the course of a semester at Midtown Manhattan Magnet High School, where Peter has just entered Junior Year. The series incorporated stories from various points in the history of Spider-Man comics, and was praised for it's continuity, often introducing characters as series regulars before the events/accidents that made them villains.

Unfortunately, the series ended on a cliffhanger, when The Green Goblin, believed dead after Spider-Man blew up his glider, was revealed to be alive.

Series creator Greg Weisman had planned five seasons of The Spectacular Spider-Man, with direct-to-DVD movies to be released between the remaining seasons. However, the series was produced by Sony Pictures Television, and sadly, Sony gave up their license to produce any Spider-Man TV content with an under twenty-five minute runtime as part of their deal with Disney/Marvel Studios to allow Spider-Man's inclusion in the MCU. While Weisman was prepared to continue the series under Disney control, Disney opted to cancel Spectacular and replace it with their own series, Ultimate Spider-Man.

Nearly fifteen years later, fan campaigns to revive The Spectacular Spider-Man are still going strong, and recently, those fans saw a glimmer of hope when the show's version of the character was included on the big screen in Spider-Man: Across The Spiderverse.

The love for X-Men '97 proves there is an audience for animataed series revivals. Time will tell if Disney chooses to meet the demand.


About the Creator

Kristy Anderson

Passionate About all things Entertainment!

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