Disney+ Asks, “Does a Mall Babe Eats Chili Fries?” Announces a 2023 Revival for ’90s X-Men: The Animated Series
We’ve been getting an ongoing stream of announcements for Disney+ Day, aka, “Why aren’t you subscribed yet, you should get on that, bub.”
Bub, in this case, is a timely frame of reference, as Disney just revealed the upcoming release of a new X-Men animated series.
Not just any animated series, no, this series is a revival of a true classic of 90s animation.
The award for the best announcement image of all time goes to Marvel Studios’ “X-Men ’97,” a revival of the cartoon classic coming to Disney+ pic.twitter.com/tcnlHbiLRk
— The Mary Sue (@TheMarySue) November 12, 2021
CUE THE EPIC THEME SONG!
I’ve been curious to see what direction the X-Men would go in now that they are part of Disney, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that it would be a return to the 90s series that introduced me to the team. A lot of my comic book knowledge started with these 90s cartoons, with X-Men being one of my absolute favorites.
Previously on X-Men
After five seasons, X-Men: The Animated Series came to an end in 1997. Professor Xavier has to leave Earth with Lilandra (of the Shi’Ar Empire) because he’s dying, having been attacked by Henry Gyrich, one of those “no more mutants” a-double s-holes. Meanwhile, Magneto is making plans to finally take over Earth, but when he hears that Charles is dying/leaving Earth, he puts all of that aside to bid farewell to his longtime partner (take the word partner as you see fit).
Everyone stands together to watch Charles leave the planet, and Charles gives one last, touching narrative, about how his spirit will remain with everyone.
This actually isn’t the ending that was planned. According to Screen Rant, the series was supposed to end in the 4th season with the 4-episode arc “Beyond Good and Evil” which are, admittedly, some pretty intense episodes. Apocalypse is kidnapping psychics so he can DESTROY ALL OF TIME ITSELF so he can make a universe where he’s in charge, unchallenged by anyone.
The stakes are ridiculously high, and it definitely feels more like a grand finale than watching Charles almost dying at the hands of Gyrich and a disrupter gun.
Had X-Men: The Animated Series stuck with the original plan, the series finale would have been the four-part Cable storyline “Beyond Good and Evil,” which aired during season 4. However, rather than ending there the series instead more or less wound down over the course of an additional season. According to X-Men showrunner Eric Lewald, “Some of the quality controls were lifted [in season 5]. The budgets went down. They were cranked down.”
The final episodes were animated by a cheaper studio in the Philippines, which is why season 5 looks a little different to earlier seasons. However, the show remained popular right up until the end, and Meugniot says that it was never actually “cancelled” per se. “What I think people don’t understand is X-Men wasn’t cancelled. It had actually been scheduled to be 65 episodes and had been extended past the original order. When it was done, it was like ‘well, contract fulfilled. We did it.'”
What is X-Men 97?
— Disney+ (@disneyplus) November 12, 2021
According to The Wrap, X-Men 97 will pick up right where the original series left off. I imagine the “97” is because that’s the year the series ended. Here is a list of returning cast members along with the character they portrayed in the 90s series.
Keep in mind that, according to Marvel, some cast members are reprising their original roles while others are voicing brand new parts. The following list is just of who these actors and actresses were before, there’s no word on if that’s who they’ll be portraying now.
- Cal Dodd, who was Wolverine
- Lenore Zann, who was Rogue
- George Buza, who was Beast
- Adrian Hough, who was Nightcrawler
- Christopher Britton, who was Mister Sinister
- Catherine Disher, who was Jean Grey
- Chris Potter, who was Gambit
- Alison Sealy-Smith, who was Storm
- Alyson Court, who was Jubilee
New cast members will include Jennifer Hale, Anniwaa Buachie, Ray Chase, Matthew Waterson, JP Karliak, Holly Chou, Jeff Bennett, and AJ LoCascio, but there are no details on who they will be portraying.
The head writer and executive producer on the series is Beau DeMayo (The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf). The supervising director is Jake Castorena (Justice League Action, Batman Unlimited) and supervising producer is Charley Feldman (who has written episodes for Owl House). Consulting on the new series is X-Men: The Animated Series writers Eric and Julia Lewald, and director Larry Houston.
According to Comicbook.com, Houston once said that he would come out of retirement if X-Men: The Animated Series were to get a revival. “Whatever they wanted to do if we had all the original team,” he said. “That’s what I would come out of retirement for.”
Using Cerebro to make some speculations
I suppose this would depend on where the series starts. If it picks up right where it left off, we have Professor Xavier gone and the X-Men having to function without him. When asked about it a couple of years back, Eric Lewald had this to say about what could’ve possibly happened next:
“Season 6 could open, months later, with the X-Men in disarray – a few gone, the ones remaining at each other’s throats. They miss their leader. Then somehow they are called to – and transported to – an existential crisis on Lilandra’s distant world. The team grudgingly reunites ‘for Charles,’ heads off to space, solves the crisis, and a somehow-healed Charles Xavier is either able to return to Earth with them or, if he can’t, his heroic final sacrifice heals the team’s wounds and they return to Earth as the proper X-Men again.”
This is definitely a possibility for what the new series could do, but I’m curious about whether it’ll pick up from the end of season 5, or ignore that season altogether to pick up from the end of season 4, which was the original plan.
What I’m most curious about, though, is the aesthetic of the series. The year will, presumably, be 1997, and I honestly hope we stay in the 90s and get all of the vividly colored malls, Jubilee frying the VCR by accident, and the holiday specials where Gambit and Jean Gray are about to throw hands over who gets to make dinner.
The opening theme.
Are we just keeping the original or…?
To this day X-Men: The Animated Series is still my favorite depiction of them outside of comic books. That’s not to say I’m not a fan of (some of) the movies, but something about the animated series has really stuck with me after all these years. Is it the team dynamic? The fact that it has my favorite Storm moment of all time where she laughs at the thought of “skin-colored prejudice” because she’s seen some shit in her lifetime?
Is it because of Cyclops’ absolute burn of a comeback to a Sentinel? “Of course … NOT!”
Whatever it is, this is a series announcement I didn’t expect, but I am definitely looking forward to coming back to the X-Men in 2023.
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