By the time the Spider-man series came on, there was a lot of censorship at Fox and they were very nervous about violence. Fox had very strict rules about violence and language in the show, including: "When Spider-Man lands on the rooftop, be sure that he doesn't harm any pigeons."
A sixth season was planned for "Spider-Man" which would have had Spider-Man find the real Mary Jane Watson from limbo with the help of Madame Web. Story editor John Semper said in an online interview that it purposefully left unresolved to see Spider-Man find the real Mary Jane because the crew thought they were going to get another season or two of "Spider-Man". However, Margaret Loesch, who was the president of Fox Kids network at that time, hated one of the show's executive producers, Avi Arad, due to the fights they'd usually have over the show and she wanted to put Arad out of business. When the sixty-five episode contract for "Spider-Man" was up, Loesch decided to cancel the show and had permanently shut down Marvel Films Animation, the company that provided the animation for Spider-Man. Loesch and the Fox Kids network had a better relationship with Saban Entertainment, who wanted to do animation for other series for Fox Kids, including ones for Marvel. Instead of continuing "Spider-Man", the Fox Kids network decided to go with a new, unofficial sequel series "Spider-Man Unlimited" with animation done by Saban to garner ratings that were as big, if not bigger, than "Spider-Man". The plan backfired, as fans disliked the new series because it deviated too much from the comics by sticking Spider-Man on a Counter-Earth. The ratings were also much lower than the network had expected, because "Pokemon" aired against "Spider-Man Unlimited" and clobbered it in the ratings. "Spider-Man Unlimited" was quickly pulled from the Fox Kids network after airing only its first three episodes of the thirteen they had made.
A mini-series was actually supposed to take place after the series finale, in which Spider-Man journeys with Madame Web backwards through time to find the missing Mary Jane Watson. He would have ultimately found her in Victorian England with amnesia and she would have been hunted by Carnage, who was also trapped in that time period and was impersonating Jack the Ripper. Once Spider-Man had stopped Carnage and had left with Madame Web and Mary Jane back to the present, Mary Jane would have regained her memory and ultimately admitted to Spider-Man that she had always known he was Peter Parker, which had been hinted at throughout several episodes of the animated series.
Spider-Man only throws a punch three times in this series, once at the Scorpion in the Season 2 finale ("The Final Nightmare"), then again at the Spot in Season 3 ("The Spot") and once again at the Green Goblin ("Turning Point"). Other than those episodes, Spider-Man never punches his enemies, nor does anyone fire a single gun that doesn't fire a beam or projectile instead of bullets.
The entire X-Men team were supposed to be included in "Secret Wars", but they were ultimately cut because, according to writer John Semper, it would have been too expensive to get the cast to fly from Canada to Los Angeles to record their dialog for the show. However, Storm was the only one able to appear because Iona Morris was the only X-Men cast member based in California.
At the end of episode 3.01 "Sins of the Fathers Chapter 1: Doctor Strange", Doctor Strange tells Wong that he senses someone whose powers dwarf even his. We see that they are being watched by Madame Web, voiced by Joan Lee, the wife of Spider-Man's co-creator Stan Lee.
Electro was supposed to appear in the series before his eventual debut in Season Five's "Six Forgotten Warriors" story arc. Electro was held back from appearing, however, because James Cameron tried for years to write and direct a theatrical "Spider-Man" movie with Sandman as the secondary villain and Electro as the main villain. The legal rights to the "Spider-Man" movie went into limbo for over a decade, with Electro and Sandman still intended to be the villains. However, writer John Semper was able to include him into the series, but not as Max Dillon and he was not an American. Instead, a new character was created for the show. On the animated series, Electro was really Rheinholt Schmidt, the second Red Skull who was the original Skull's son and the step-brother of the Chameleon, none of which was actually in the comics. Rheinholt's real last name was never revealed on the show, though he went by the assumed name of Rheinholt Kragov while the Chief of the Russian Police in the "Six Forgotten Warriors" episodes in season five, and the Red Skull later uses the Doomsday device to turn his own son into the ultimate weapon, Electro.
John Semper admitted in an on-line interview that a storyline with Dormammu and Mysterio was originally planned. However, plans for this were scrapped when the voice of Mysterio, Gregg Berger, had left the series.
According to an on-line interview with John Semper, the reason that the Hobgoblin was added to the show in Season One before the Green Goblin was that plans for the character were being done before he arrived by writers and crew members that were no longer involved. By that time, the Hobgoblin had been made into an action figure for the animated series that was going to be released, so Semper admitted they had to let him stay on the series.
Dr. Robert Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk was actually supposed to make several guest appearances on the show, most notably the 3-part "Secret Wars" storyline in season five. However, the Hulk was unable to appear on the series in seasons four and five of "Spider-Man" because of "The Incredible Hulk" animated series on the UPN network. As a result of the Hulk, and later She-Hulk, being unavailable to the crew, the Lizard was written in the Hulk's place in the three "Secret Wars" episodes to make the story more "Spider-Man centric" than the "Secret Wars" comic mini-series. It remains unclear if the crew of "Spider-Man" were able to use the Hulk, yet simply never got around to using him, in the show's first three seasons before the Hulk got his own animated series.
When Peter gets the Venom suit, and he's trying out the "outfit switching" ability, he has it turn him into "that guy from Aerosmith." This is a reference to Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, who performs the series theme music.
Radioactivity and all uses of the word were removed and replaced on this show with a science called neogenics, including the spider that bites Peter to give him his powers. Ironically, though, Joe Perry's theme music uses the lyric "radioactive spider blood."
Mary Jane Watson's first appearance ("The Return of the Spider-Slayers") is based on her first full comic appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #42. She even says the line famous line, "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot".
Peter Parker's character design was originally intended to resemble the one seen in the comics. This design, however, was switched towards the final production of the show to a design clearly patterned after Nicholas Hammond though younger and more contemporary than Peter Parker seemed to look in a lot of the comics and wearing a short-sleeved rugby shirt. The crew ended up revising Peter's wardrobe in season two to make it better than the design they started with and give Peter a cooler look, as well as better hide his Spider-Man costume under his clothes.
Betty Brant was supposed to appear on the "Spider-Man" animated series. Instead of being J. Jonah Jameson's secretary, Betty was supposed to be the assistant of Joe "Robbie" Robertson and fond of Peter Parker. While a model sheet of the character was drawn for the show, the writers did not get the chance to use Betty because they had ran out of new episodes.
John Semper, the story editor/producer for "Spider-Man: The Animated Series", mentioned that a rejected chapter for the "Secret Wars" story line was going to include the entire X-Men team, would have featured Mr. Sinister as the villain, and that Spider-Man would have actually bonded with a new black symbiote costume after his classic red-and-blue costume was torn to shreds. The episode was written, according to Semper, but never used because it would have cost too much to get the entire cast of voice actors from the "X-Men" series to appear again on "Spider-Man".
Peter Parker/Spider-Man was actually supposed to marry Mary Jane Watson in the series finale, but story editor John Semper rejected the idea and instead had Peter marry Mary Jane in "The Wedding" episode in season five. Semper was against the two being married for real because he felt Peter Parker should "never get the girl" on the animated series.
The crime lord the Owl appears in the first chapter of season two's "Neogenic Nightmare" saga, "The Insidious Six". He is seated with other crime lords, including Hammerhead and Silvermane, during a meeting with the Kingpin. Though the Owl never speaks in the episode, this is the first and, to date, only time the Owl has ever appeared on a Spider-Man animated series.
John Semper said in an online interview that a proposed sixth season for "Spider-Man" would have had Norman Osborn, the original Green Goblin, return from limbo and take over the role of the Green Goblin from his son Harry. However, Fox Kids did not order another season and instead created Spider-Man Unlimited (1999).
Harry Osborn makes his first animated appearance in this series. Though he never appeared in any prior Marvel shows, Harry was mentioned as Peter Parker's friend and roommate in 1981's "Spider-Man" animated series.
The "Six Arms Saga" from Amazing Spider-Man #100-102 was adapted for the "Neogenic Nightmare" storyline in Season 2. Though in this series, Peter's transformation was not caused by his attempts to remove his powers, but a result of his body mutating further from the original spider-bite.
William Baker, a.k.a. the Sandman, was supposed to appear in several episodes of the cartoon series, but was held back from appearing because James Cameron tried for years to write and direct a theatrical "Spider-Man" movie with Sandman and Electro as the villains. However, the legal rights to the movie went into limbo for over a decade and the character is the only major classic Spider-Man villain to have never appeared on the series.
John Semper, the story editor/producer for "Spider-Man: The Animated Series", revealed in an online interview that Richard Fisk was going to return if the show had been picked up for a sixth season. Semper said that Richard Fisk was going to become the crime lord known as the Rose, like he did in the Spider-Man comic books, and was going to try to frame Daily Bugle reporter Ned Leeds.
The villain Puma was supposed to appear on "Spider-Man: The Animated Series". Story editor John Semper mentioned in an online interview the character was not used because they had simply ran out of new episodes to produce for "Spider-Man".
Martin Landau was the original voice for Mac Gargan, a.k.a. the villain Scorpion. However, after he recorded dialog for the three episodes featuring the Scorpion in the show's second season, Landau had won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "Ed Wood" and was not able to do voice-over acting work anymore. He was replaced by Richard Moll, who provided the voice for the Scorpion in seasons four and five.
Eric Braeden was originally supposed to be the voice actor for the character Herbert Landon. However, Braeden was uncomfortable with voice acting and story editor John Semper said Braeden gave "a very wooden performance" as Landon. David Warner ultimately took the role as Landon.
Story editor/producer John Semper said in an online interview that the Fox Kids network did not allow Spider-Man to punch anyone because other countries, such as Canada, were banning Fox Kids shows that featured fantasy violence like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993) and Batman: The Animated Series (1992). This is why no one is ever punched in the gut or punched on the face on this series. Semper admitted he got lots of fan mail from confused viewers wondering why Spider-Man never threw a punch at his enemies.
Neil Ross, who provided the voice for Norman Osborn/the first Green Goblin, is the only voice actor to date to voice the same character on two different Spider-Man cartoon series. Ross had previously done the voice of Norman Osborn, but not the Green Goblin, on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981).
Kathy Garver, the voice of Firestar on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981), will appear on several episodes of "Spider-Man". She does the voice for the lizard woman Gila in season four's "The Lizard King" episode and the voice of Madeline Joyce/Miss America in the five-part "Six Forgotten Warriors" storyarc.
In an online interview, John Semper felt that Carnage should have appeared more on the series because there was so much more potential for him story wise. However, he didn't feel he needed any more episodes devoted to Venom because he felt the character was "starting to show his age" during his two episodes in season three and didn't want to use the character anymore.
While the X-Men, Iron Man and the Fantastic Four would appear on the show as guest heroes on "Spider-Man" at different points in the series, John Semper confirmed in an online interview that Spider-Man was forbidden from appearing on the other super hero series on the Fox Kids network, as well as UPN's "The Incredible Hulk" series later on. However, Spider-Man's hand can be seen shooting a web in part five of the Phoenix saga in season two of "X-Men" and an in-the-shadows Spider-Man can be seen in Bruce Banner's mind during a season two episode of "The Incredible Hulk".
In the comics, the Insidious Six are called the Sinister Six. The Fox Kids network had the name changed to "Insidious Six" because they thought the name "Sinister Six" sounded too menacing for a cartoon series for children. Only two of the members of the Sinister Six make it into the team's roster: Doctor Octopus and Mysterio. Shocker, Chameleon, Scorpion and The Rhino substitute for the Sinister Six's absent members - Sandman (who doesn't appear in the series at all), Electro (named Max Dillon in the comics, but appearing in season five as Rhienholt Kragov, the stepbrother of The Chameleon and the Red Skull's son), The Vulture (who joins the Six to take Mysterio's place in season five) and Kraven the Hunter (the stepbrother of the Chameleon in the comics).
Episode 3.02 "Sins of the Fathers Chapter 2: Make a Wish along with episode 3.03 "Sins of the Fathers Chapter 3: Attack of the Octobot," episode 3.04 "Sins of the Fathers Chapter 4: Enter the Green Goblin," and episode 3.05 "Sins of the Fathers Chapter 5: The Rocket Racer," were released on video and DVD called "The Ultimate Villain Showdown" during the run of the Spider-Man movie.
During the middle of the 5th season of Spider-Man, Fox Kids was thinking about keeping the series on a little longer but then Marvel and Fox Kids decided to ended after 5 seasons and show a 2-hour series finale. The reason why Fox Kids and Marvel canceled the show had nothing to do with ratings. The reason was the fact that Saban Entertainment wanted to Marvel's animation for their cartoon series. So after Spider-Man was canceled, Marvel and Saban made another cartoon that continued where Spider-Man left off, the series was called Spider-Man: Unlimited.
Story editor/producer John Semper said in an online interview that three of the Fantastic Four characters were given new voice actors for the "Secret Wars" three-part story line because he did not like the Fantastic Four (1994) animated series that ran on the Fox Kids network. The only cast member to reprise his role from "The Fantastic Four" on "Spider-Man" was Quinton Flynn, who returned as the voice actor of Johnny Storm/the Human Torch.
Linda Gary was the original voice of Aunt May Parker for the first three seasons. Gary would provide the voice for Aunt May for the last time in season four's fourth chapter of the "Partners in Danger" saga, "The Return of Kraven". Julie Bennett took over the role of Aunt May starting with season four's eighth chapter, "The Return of the Green Goblin", when Linda Gary died of brain cancer.
This series was originally going to have Norman Osborn become the Hobgoblin because, due to a decision made by crew members who ultimately left the "Spider-Man" show, the Hobgoblin was going to make his debut before the Green Goblin. However, Spider-Man's co-creator Stan Lee, rejected the idea of Norman becoming the Hobgoblin and Norman would instead create the Goblin equipment for the Hobgoblin.
Supervising Producer Bob Richardson said that of all the show's seasons, season five was the most problematic. The mistakes in those episodes, as well as the animation's poor quality and overtly-repeated scenes for season five, were a result in a three-month delay in writing the season five scripts. When the scripts did finally arrive, most of which were written by John Semper, the season five stories were the most complex scripts the "Spider-Man" animated series had. Richardson said the season five scripts "went against everything we were trying to do in an effort to keep the workload on all of the production at a reasonable level", due to the new characters, locations and guest hero and villain powers included. Semper wrote most of the stories in season five himself due to several writers, including Brooks Wachtel and Stan Berkowitz, leaving the series during the three-month delay for season five.
Story editor/producer John Semper said in an online interview that the villain the Beetle was supposed to appear on "Spider-Man: The Animated Series". Semper said he had meant to include the Beetle in an episode of the animated series, but he simply never got around to using the character.
Despite the show being based in the Marvel Universe, there are a few subtle nods to DC universe characters. In "Make a Wish" the young girl asks Spiderman how he got his powers, saying that a friend thought he was "from a dying planet, and his parents sent him here on a little spaceship" and spiderman replies that her friend has him confused with someone else. This is a nod to Supermans origin. Also in the episode that showcases Tombstones origin, when Spiderman rescues Tombstone from falling into the chemical vat again, he comments that if he fell in his hair "might turn green". This is a nod to the origin of DC villain The Joker
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Ghost Rider was scheduled to appear on "Spider-Man" some time in the fifth season of the show. In the story, written by John Semper, it would have been revealed that Mysterio was alive after his off-screen demise in season four's episode "The Haunting of Mary Jane Watson", and he would have used a Time Dialation Accelerator device to commit a series of robberies. Mysterio would have been discovered by Baron Mordo, who wanted Mysterio to use the Time Dialation device to free his master, Dormammu, from another dimension. Spider-Man would have teamed-up with Ghost Rider to stop their plans from bringing Dormammu out of his dimension, though it is not known what the fate is of the Time Dialation Accelerator or how there was a new one since the previous was destroyed on-screen in season three's "Turning Point" episode when the Green Goblin is banished to limbo. However, Marvel was trying to get a "Ghost Rider" animated series done on the UPN network at the time and the Fox Kids network did not want to give exposure to a character who would have appeared on a rival network. According to story editor John Semper, the Ghost Rider episode for "Spider-Man" was actually written but never used, and the "Ghost Rider" series for UPN ultimately was rejected. Ghost Rider did, however, appear as a guest star on the UPN animated series "The Incredible Hulk".