By far one of the most exciting announcement made during Disney Plus Day was the revival of the 90’s X-Men animated series. The new animated series will be titled X-Men ’97. It is honestly a perfect title to get my nostalgia going. Already throughout the weekend I was thinking of the possibilities there are with the revival of the 90s X-Men animated series. With over 20 more years of X-Men stories having been told since the X-Men animated series ended there are even more things to mine from on top of other classic stories in the franchise’s history. Because of that I decided to put together a list of five things I would like to see X-Men ’97 do when it returns in 2023.
IGNORE SEASON 5
The final season of the original X-Men animated series run is by far the worst of the history of its show. A major reason for that is Saban decided to not work with Graz Entertainment for the final six episode and instead cut cost by outsourcing the animation. And it was not just the dip in animation quality that Season 5 of the X-Men series suffered. The storytelling in that final season was not at all at the level expected from the show. Especially considering how well Season 4 wrapped up since Beyond Good and Evil arc was originally produced as the series finale.
But now that we are returning with X-Men ’97 the new series should start by making that entire Season 5 to be something that did not happen. That could easily be done by using Shadow King or Cassandra Nova to mentally manipulate Charles Xavier to believe the events of that season happened. It would even play into the focus on Xavier’s status quo in that final episode. And they could even make the change in art style as an in-joke for why there was such a drastic change as it was part of Shadow King or Cassandra Nova’s plot.
From the Dark Phoenix Saga to Days of Future Past the animated series was well known for adapting iconic storylines from the X-Men comic books, with a deep focus on Chris Claremont’s run. The show even tackled the Age of Apocalypse before that became an event in the comic books. Now after over two decades of X-Men storylines there is a whole new set of popular storylines that can be adapted or inspire several seasons of the show.
The move to Disney Plus will also open the opportunity to tackle these storylines and characters in a more mature manner. Even though we likely won’t see any blood or Wolverine cursing up a storm there is a lot more room to play with a PG-13 for the show. The Star Wars: Visions anthology series is an example of how you can have a balance between mature and fun content that can target multiple demographics. The X-Men animated series can follow that with how it explores new storyline possibilities based on comic book stories while keeping its same charm.
STOP CYCLOPS-JEAN GREY-WOLVERINE LOVE TRIANGLE
One of the most overplayed plotlines in X-Men’s history is the love triangle between Scott Summers, Jean Grey, and Logan. Even the comics sort of address this with going away from making this a big conflict. While the newly restarted X-Men series should not follow the current path of Scott, Jean, and Logan’s romance it should do away with the love triangle angle of their characters. It would be for the best for all of them.
Because we have seen how the show in general did paint Scott and Jean as supportive couple. The new season can further explore their dynamic and delve more into the complicated family tree that they have. Its something the recent X-Men ’92 comic book series that Marvel published that showed Scott and Jean learning the truth about Cable. Maybe if the new X-Men season plays more into the different timelines we could see Rachel Grey be brought into the animated series continuity.
As for Wolverine, the character was honestly at his best in the animated series when the writers explored the different parts of his past. Going further into his past will help the character break away from being the meme that even Disney recognizes this version of the character has become in the mainstream. And of all the X-Men characters Wolverine has he deepest history that could be mined for content which the revived show can further tap into. In the process we can see the cool character he is known to be rather than the sad puppy pining after someone who is in a committed relationship that’s just become a meme at this point.
FOCUS ON NEXT GENERATION X-MEN
Its clear based on the small promo Disney Plus released for X-Men ’97 that the core roster will one again be Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Storm, Beast Rogue, Gambit, and Jubilee. It is the roster that both the animated series and Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s comic book run made so iconic. And it with what looks to be an updated art direction from the first four seasons of the show, this X-Men roster will sure bring back a lot of nostalgia behind it.
At the same time, this roster should not be the only focus for the new X-Men ’97. The fun of the X-Men franchise is the vast cast of characters that the franchise has to choose from for different rosters. This is something I trust those behind X-Men ’97 to understand since the original run showed it knew how to best adapt the characters within the franchise.
A greater focus on more of the next generation of X-Men will also help bring this series to new generations. Jubilee was a great entry point for many fans. Finally adding in Kitty Pryde to add more youth to the team would be a great thing for the series. Adding in the roster from the Hellions and New X-Men will also further help freshen up what the Xavier Mansion is supposed to represent the future for mutants.
EMBRACE X-MEN MULTIVERSE
The X-Men is a franchise that made the Marvel Multiverse cool way before Marvel started embrace that as being a thing for their comic books and other forms of entertainment. The X-Men animated series already set up similar multiple timelines thanks to how Bishop and Cable were integrated into the show. Now with its return the new series could further tap into exploring the different universes created by how the X-Men are constantly diverging and creating multiple timelines in the process.
What would be cool to see is X-Men ’97 have their own version of House of X and Powers of X. In doing things their own way X-Men ’97 could integrate other X-Men cartoons as part of the Multiverse. Because how cool would it be if we saw in X-Men ‘97’s version of House of X that we would see Wolverine and the X-Men, X-Men Evolution, and X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men cartoons being used. That would be incredibly epic that would further excite fans who also liked those adaptions.
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