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SUNDAY, MARCH 1, 2009

WONDER CON: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN

SAN FRANCISCO -- With a Happy Meals program that launched on Friday, the build-up for The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series' debut on Disney XD continued on Saturday with a panel at Wonder Con.

Panelists included supervising producers Greg Weisman and Victor Cook, character designer Sean "Cheeks" Galloway and Josh Keaton, the voice of Peter Parker/Spider-Man.

Following are highlights:

Never-before-seen footage from Season 2 was shown, with Ned Leeds interviewing Peter Parker, Norman Osborn, Curt and Martha Connors, Flash Thompson, prisoners, Eddie Brock and George Stacy about Peter being Spider-Man. Interspersed were Black Cat breaking through a laser-guided security system; the Shocker battling Ricohet; Molten Man fighting Spidey and Jameson going on a tour of the Vault, where Spidey apparently is imprisoned; Spidey fighting "Pumpkinheads," member of Green Goblin's mob; and a Venom/Spidey throwdown.

* Season 1 rebroadcasts will begin on March 23 on Disney XD and will air until Season 2 episodes begin this summer.

* Weisman said response to the show was gratifying and "a huge relief."

* Keaton said it's "extremely cool" to be the voice of Spider-Man. He noted he has a lot of friends in the comic-book industry. Keaton has the Season 1 poster on top of his car and his license plate is "THWIP."

* Galloway said he wanted to push Green Goblin's look to make it more sleek.

* Cook said that he wanted to capture the over-the-top action of Steve Ditko's art.

* Weisman said the fact the show is already airing in Season 2 in Canada and Bulgaria "has a lot to do with contracts" but he hopes it will be worth the wait for Disney XD.

* Weisman said almost every Silvermane, Silver Sable, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Master Planner and a few othe suprises. The Master Planner arc harkens back to the Lee/Ditko. There will also be a Venom arc, a gang war arc and a Green Goblin arc to end the season.

Weisman said it will be a big year for Flash Thompson and J. Jonah Jameson / John Jameson. "It will also be a big year of Peter's love life," Weisman said.

* Gwen or MJ? "That's a tough one. I don't think any other show has had Gwen," Keatson said. "I also like the way Mary Jane is portrayed. It's close to the spirit of the character."

* Weisman said that creators are borrowing from all of the eras and it's important to be true to the spirit of the original stories and characters.

* There will eventually be a Season 1 DVD boxset this summer.

* Season 2 will have the same arc structure as Season 1, with each arc taking a month's worth of time in the story.

* The Gang War will involve Tombstone, Hammerhead, Doc Ock and Silvermane.

* Season 3? "We have tons of ideas for Season 3. We just don't have a pick-up yet," Weisman said.

* Weisman said he doesn't want to race ahead in telling the story of Peter Parker's current 16-year-old life. "I would love to do this show for 10 years," he said. "Given enough episodes, the possibilities are endless."

Weisman said a possible Season 3 would at, a minimum, introduce Hobgoblin and Scorpion. "We have had lots of conversations," he said.



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