"What If...We got a Spider-Man 2099 cartoon instead of Spider-Man Unlimited?
In 1999, the last vestiges of what is now known as the "Marvel Animated Universe" were broadcast on TV, both short-lived with just 13 episodes each. One show was the much-maligned and toyetic "The Avengers: United They Stand", and the other was the half-maligned "Spider-Man Unlimited", an attempt to cash in on the success "Batman Beyond" over at their Distinguished Competition was having. (More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider-Man_Unlimited)
A fancast for an animated series based on the web-slinger of tomorrow.
What not many people know, however, is that Spider-Man Unlimited was originally going to be an animated series based on the flagship title of Marvel's 2099 imprint--Peter David's Spider-Man 2099.
(For more on Spider-Man 2099, check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider-Man_2099)
A bit of backstory on this character and backdrop: the Spider-Man of 2099 is Miguel O'Hara, the head of the genetics division of the megacorporation called Alchemax. In 2099, corporations have pretty much taken over the entire world--it's not the world of the Jetsons, let me tell you. "Miguel O'Hara is born in New York City, many years after the end of what his people's history calls the "Heroic Age", which is the modern day era of Marvel heroes. He grows up with his mother Conchata, his younger brother Gabriel, and the abusive father George O'Hara. A rebellious boy with prodigy-level intelligence, Miguel is an adolescent when he is awarded enrollment into the Alchemax School for Gifted Youngsters (heavily implied to be a renovated version of the X-Men's headquarters) in Westchester, owned by the powerful Alchemax megacorporation which also controls local law enforcement agencies. Here, he befriends Xina Kwan, a girl of similar intelligence who specializes in computers. Xina helps Miguel defend himself against the bully Kron Stone, son of Tyler Stone, Vice President of R&D for Alchemax. As adults, Miguel and Xina date seriously until Miguel cheats on her with Dana D'Angelo, who originally is the girlfriend of Miguel's brother Gabe. Later on, Miguel and Dana are engaged. Though seemingly arrogant and confident in all walks of life, Miguel is a very private man and trusts almost no one save for his apartment's holographic aid Lyla, an artificial intelligence programmed by Xina. Miguel eventually becomes head of the genetics program of Alchemax, intended to create new corporation-controlled super-powered soldiers called "corporate raiders." Miguel is specifically inspired by surviving records concerning Spider-Man and hopes to one day create a similarly powered person. But after a human test subject dies during an early experiment, Miguel tells Tyler Stone he wishes to resign from Alchemax and discontinue his genetics research.
Rather than let Miguel leave, Tyler Stone tricks him into taking Rapture, an addictive drug that genetically bonds to the user. Tyler reminds Miguel that only Alchemax is allowed to legally distribute this drug, so if O'Hara does not remain with the corporation then Tyler must assume he is getting the drug from the black market and will be forced to tell the police. Not wishing to be a blackmailed addict, Miguel recalls that he entered his own genetic code into his machine's databanks during initial experiments, using it as a human DNA test sample. Intending to use this older template of his pure genetic code to write over his current biology and free himself from the Rapture, Miguel sneaks into Alchemax and uses the gene alteration machines on himself. After Miguel turns on the machine to rewrite his DNA, his jealous subordinate Aaron Delgado sabotages the machines, causing them to alter Miguel's genetic code to be "50% spider DNA." Miguel survives the process, but realizes he now has spider-abilities. Realizing that there is now a person with abilities similar to Spider-Man, Tyler Stone sends agents to hunt this person. To conceal his identity while he fights his pursuers, Miguel dons a bodysuit with a mask that he once wore for the Mexican Day of the Dead festival. Miguel chooses this costume in particular because it is the only clothing he has that is made from "UMF" (Unstable Molecule Fabric), meaning it is the only clothing he owns that will not be torn or shred by the spider-talons that now occupy his hands and feet. After seeing him operate in public, a group of Thorites (worshipers of the Marvel hero Thor) come to believe that Miguel is the legendary Spider-Man back from the dead and that he is the harbinger of Thor's eventual return."
The reason the show's concept got changed into what became Unlimited was that it was felt that the general public would know more about the present Spider-Man and his supporting cast more than this new one (though the comic originated in 1992). But learning about this (and reading the first three issues of the comic) made me wonder...
WHAT IF WE GOT A SPIDER-MAN 2099 CARTOON INSTEAD of SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED????
With that in mind, I planned this fancast. I think it actually would've been a fun cartoon, and actually be a good rival to Batman Beyond. Here's how it would work:
-The art and animation style, as well as the voice talent and opening theme music, would be the same as Spider-Man Unlimited. I've added a few other VA's who are part of the same voiceover group (Ocean Group) as some of the Unlimited cast.
-Peter David would help adapt some of his scripts for the animated series format.
-The second season would feature guest appearances by other 2099 heroes (the "Marvel Team-Up" season), and culminate in a three-part adaptation of "Fall of the Hammer", the big 2099-verse crossover in 1994 that pitted the heroes of 2099 against the Alchemax-manufactured "Asgardians".
And now, our voice cast for this series. Again, I'm using the VA's from Unlimited, but will also note what their role on Unlimited was. You may recognize these names from shows such as Reboot, Beast Wars Transformers, and, fitting with this site's comic book emphasis, X-Men: Evolution. For more information about the VA's, check out behindthevoiceactors.com:
Rino Romano as the voice of Spider-Man 2099/Miguel O'Hara
Role on Unlimited: Spider-Man/Peter Parker, Counter-Earth Green Goblin/Hector Jones
Romano's voiced Spanish-American characters before, with two I can think of being Prototype/Jimmy Ruiz on the short-lived "Ultraforce" cartoon and Eduardo Rivera on "Extreme Ghostbusters". And of course, he voiced Spidey on Unlimited, but if 2099 was made, he'd still be the first actor to portray both Spider-Man AND Batman in his career.
Jennifer Hale as the voice of Lyla, Miguel's holographic aide
Role on Unlimited: Mary-Jane Watson, Lady Vermin of the Knights of Wundagore, Karen O'Malley's mother, Helen Wing
Akiko Morison as the voice of Xina Kwan, Miguel's first girlfriend
Role on Unlimited: Dr. Naoko Yamada-Jones
Kathleen Barr as the voice of Dana D'Angelo, Miguel's second girlfriend
Role on Unlimited: Alice, Prima
Brian Drummond as the voice of Gabriel O'Hara/Goblin 2099, Miguel's brother
Role on Unlimited: Venom/Eddie Brock
*Note: In the comics, Gabriel was framed for being the Goblin of 2099, but turned out to be a red herring.
Ron Halder as the voice of Tyler Stone, CEO of Alchemax
Role on Unlimited: Sir Ram of the Knights of Wundagore
Scott McNeil as the voice of Venom 2099/Kron Stone, Miguel's older, unstable half-brother
Role on Unlimited: Counter-Earth Vulture, SFX for Man-Wolf, Lester
Christopher Gaze as the voice of Venture, cybernetic agent of Tyler Stone
Role on Unlimited: Daniel Bromley, Karen O'Malley's father
Jim Byrnes as the voice of Siege 2099, future version of a character from Marvel Comics Presents #62
Role on Unlimited: Fire Drake
David Sobolov as the voice of Vulture 2099, a mentally unstable cannibal
Role on Unlimited: Lord Tyger of the Knights of Wundagore
*Note: Voiced Lobo in the season two premiere of Young Justice.
Blu Mankuma as the voice of Mutagen, a mad geneticist bent on purifying the gene pool of any genetic flaws.
*Note: Mankuma is one of three actors who did not have a role on Spider-Man Unlimited that I am using here.
Andrew Francis as the voice of Flipside, a flawed Spider-Man android
*Note: Francis is one of three actors who did not have a role on Spider-Man Unlimited that I am using here.
Richard Newman as the voice of Brimstone Love, a recurring foe of the X-Men of 2099
Role on Unlimited: the High Evolutionary, J. Jonah Jameson, Dr. Brofski
OTHER "HEROES" OF 2099
Mark Gibbon as the voice of Hulk 2099/John Eisenhart
Role on Unlimited: Nick Fury (episode 1 only)
*Note: Gibbon would go on to voice the present-day Hulk in two cartoons using Ocean Group VA's--Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes and Iron Man: Armored Adventures.
Paul Dobson as the voice of Doom 2099/"Victor Von Doom"
Role on Unlimited: The Hunter (Counter-Earth's Kraven the Hunter)
*Note: Dobson would go on to voice Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes and Marvel vs. Capcom 3/Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Michael Donovan as the voice of Thor 2099/Cecil McAdam
Role on Unlimited: Carnage/Cletus Cassidy
*Note: Donovan voiced Grey Hulk in the 1996 Incredible Hulk animated series, and Prime in the short-lived Ultraforce cartoon. I picked him to voice this Thor because of a character he would voice in the Mike Young Productions version of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe--King Randor.
John Payne II as the voice of Punisher 2099/Jake Gallows
Role on Unlimited: John Jameson
Kimberly Hawthorne as the voice of Strange 2099 (that era's sorcerer supreme)
Role on Unlimited: Karen O'Malley
Sam Vincent as the voice of Ghost Rider 2099/Kenshiro Cochrane
*Note: Vincent is one of three actors who did not have a role on Spider-Man Unlimited that I am using here. He did later voiced a similar techno-minded character, Forge in X-Men: Evolution.
Garry Chalk as the voice of Ravage 2099/Paul-Phillip Ravage
Role on Unlimited: Mr. Meugniot (the owner of the newspaper The Daily Byte), The Reverend, Durwood Bromley (Daniel's brother)
Who voices who--Paul Dobson as Desert Ghost, Kathleen Barr as Cerebra, Andrew Francis as Skullfire, Sam Vincent as Meanstreak, Jennifer Hale as Serpentina, Kimberly Hawthorne as Krystalin, Scott McNeil as Metalhead, and Brian Drummond as Bloodhawk.
And that is that! Hope you liked this lil' What If?... of mine, and as thanks, here's the intro to Spider-Man Unlimited:
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