When Marvel Studios first announced Spider-Man: Freshman Year, it was said the animated series was set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but is it? Recent announcements made at San Diego Comic-Con 2022 cast doubt on the canonicity of Freshman Year and left Marvel fans scratching their heads in confusion.
During Marvel’s animation panel, the studio revealed several of the Spider-Man villains Peter will be battling in his first year as a superhero. Included in the line-up were The Rhino, Tarantula, and Speed Demon, but interestingly so were Scorpion and Doctor Octopus. What’s interesting about their inclusion? Well, canonically, in the MCU, Peter Parker first met Doc Ock during the events of No Way Home, while Mac Gargan (The Scorpion’s civilian identity) appeared in Homecoming but not as a supervillain.
Complicating matters further was the announcement that Doctor Strange was going to make an appearance. We saw Peter introduce himself to Doctor Strange in Infinity War, so we know they hadn’t met before. So what’s going on? What’s the reason for this discontinuity, and is Spider-Man: Freshman Year set in the MCU? Well, don’t worry all has been explained.
Spider-Man: Freshman Year is Set in the MCU, But not on Earth-616
Spider-Man: Freshman Year is set in the MCU but not on Earth-616. The series instead exists in the infinite Marvel Cinematic Multiverse and is set on a parallel Earth where Peter Parker’s history is different to the Tom Holland incarnation of the character.
“Like we said, in the panel, it follows the pattern that you see in Civil War,” said Marvel producer Brad Winderbaum told ComicBook.com. “Down to Peter getting the broken Blu-ray player from the trash, and he walks into his department for the famous moment where Tony Stark is waiting for him to offer him the Stark internship and take him to Berlin.”
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“But because of things that happen in the multiverse, because of new, random occurrences, it’s not Tony Stark who’s waiting for him there,” he continued. “It’s Norman Osborn, and that sends his life in an unexpected trajectory that collides him with many unexpected characters in the Marvel Universe.”
So there we have it, Freshman Year isn’t set in the MCU we know and love but one where the Marvel villain Norman Osborn was his mentor. If you can’t wait for Freshman year, you can read our breakdown of the best Spider-Man actors here.