Spider-Man: The Animated Series came out in 1994, ran for a total of five successful seasons, and is still considered among the highly acclaimed animated shows. However, despite being extremely loved by fans, the makers deliberately ignored one prominent figure throughout the series.

Gwen Stacy
Gwen Stacy

Another fan-favorite, and prominent character, in Spider-Man’s world is Gwen Stacy. Her absence in the animated series was highly missed. Due to Gwen’s unfortunate death, and easily predictable narrative, the makers decided to abandon the web-slinger’s first love.

Since every road led to Gwen Stacy’s death, the show creator John Semper proved to be a creative genius and focused on other love interests of Peter Parker like Mary Jane and Felicia Hardy. Though Gwen was absent in the whole animated series, fans could see her through a brief cameo in the series finale.

Why Makers of Spider-Man: The Animated Series Deliberately Excluded Gwen Stacy

Similar to the Avengers in Marvel, another significant character that has always paved the way for the MCU is Spider-Man. It’s no secret that along with the web-slinger, his major and first love interest Gwen Stacy is equally special to fans. Ignoring her in the massive hit animated series might not sit well with every enthusiast who expected the appearance of Gwen in some of the episodes of Spider-Man: The Animated Series.

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Gwen Stacy dies
Gwen Stacy dies leaving Spider-Man heartbroken

However, there lies a prominent reason why Gwen Stacy was excluded throughout the series, and why her place was filled by Mary Jane and Felicia Hardy. Despite being one of the important characters in the Spider-Man universe, Gwen Stacy couldn’t escape her death. Introduced in the Marvel comics in 1965, the character was brutally killed by Green Goblin in the comic that came out in 1973.

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Even though Spider-Man saved her from falling off the bridge, his web strand resulted in her broken neck. Following her tragic death, the creator of Spider-Man: The Animated Series John Semper decided not to include this predictable fate of Gwen Stacy, leading fans to believe in her eventual demise.

Spider-Man: The Animated Series Creator Focused on Felicia Hardy and Mary Jane To Fill Gwen Stacy’s Spot

John Semper didn’t want the viewers and fans to predict Gwen Stacy’s fate and expect her death. Since the series was mainly crafted for kids, there were significant challenges like censorship and what content was suitable for them.

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Felicia Hardy and Mary Jane
Felicia Hardy and Mary Jane with Spider-Man

Felicia Hardy or Black Cat is also one of Peter Parker’s lovers, whose storyline provided a fresh take on the animated series’ narrative. While speaking to Marvel Animation Age (via The World’s Finest), Semper said:

“I chose to go with Felicia Hardy instead of Gwen Stacy because all roads with Gwen lead to death, which we couldn’t really do on [a] Saturday morning [cartoon]. But Felicia in our series was really a completely new character. She wasn’t the Felicia of the comics at all. So I guess I can take some credit for ‘creating’ the version of her that we used.”

The creator of Spider-Man: The Animated Series didn’t completely follow Felicia’s story from comics and incorporated his imagination. Semper also included Mary Jane, who mirrored Gwen Stacy’s death in the final episode of season 3, Turning Point.

In that episode, Green Goblin’s missile resulted in her falling off the bride and reflecting on Gwen’s unexpected fate. This incident causes immense pain and emotional damage to Spider-Man, featuring dense and emotional themes of the animated series.

Watch Spider-Man: The Animated Series on Disney+.

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