Gladiator and Charles Xavier in 'X-Men '97'

‘X-Men’ 97′ Has Brought Gladiator Into the Fray, and That’s Both Good and Bad News for the X-Men

With every new X-Men ’97 episode, we are once again sounding the gong for how exquisite of a show this is, even if we still haven’t quite recovered from the most crushing gut-punches it’s delivered.

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Episode six may not have given us much in the way of high-octane combat as the major highlights mostly consisted of Storm regaining her strength and Charles Xavier’s musings on coexistence. But whenever the gloves did come off, that particular charge was led by the powerful Kallark.

We all know Kallark as Gladiator, of course, but what’s his deal exactly?

Who is Gladiator?

Gladiator is the leader of the Shi’ar Empire’s Imperial Guard, whose prime objective is to protect and serve the leader of the Shi’ar—in this case, Empress Lilandra. A member of the Strontian race, Gladiator possesses extreme strength, speed, and durability, along with the ability to fly, shoot lasers from his eyes, and pretty much do whatever Superman can do, really. (The similarities between Kallark’s name and “Clark” and “Kal-El” are absolutely no coincidence.) The catch is that his powers only work if he’s entirely devoted to a cause, which he has found in the Shi’ar Empire.

Since Lilandra is the current Empress of the Shi’ar, the X-Men can count on Gladiator as a powerful ally for the time being. But if a more antagonistic figure ends up taking the throne (such as Deathbird, Lilandra’s sister who played a suspiciously prominent and mischievous role this episode), then they’ll have to add him to their list of headaches as the world threatens to plunge into a mutant-human war courtesy of Mister Sinister.

That’s assuming, of course, that the Shi’ar will get involved with the incoming conflict at all, but given the empire’s extra-prominent ties to the X-Men in the comics (to say nothing of how closely involved Xavier is with them in this specific canon at the moment), it’s probably a safe bet.

(featured image: Disney+)


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Charlotte Simmons
Charlotte is a freelance writer at The Mary Sue and We Got This Covered. She's been writing professionally since 2018 (a year before she completed her English and Journalism degrees at St. Thomas University), and is likely to exert herself if given the chance to write about film or video games.