The Big Picture

  • X-Men ’97
    marks a new era as the first Marvel Animation project separate from the MCU, setting up a unique universe.
  • The revival of Earth-92131 hints at a rich animated Marvel universe with the potential for more heroes.
  • X-Men ’97
    could be Marvel’s answer to DC Comics in animation, leading to a new animated renaissance for Marvel projects globally.



With X-Men ’97‘s premiere around the corner, fans will finally get the long-awaited continuation of X-Men: The Animated Series to television screens across the world. The first official trailer promised plenty of action from Marvel’s mighty mutants, as well as a bold new status quo. But the status quo being shaken up isn’t the only big change marked by X-Men ’97. For starters, it is the first Marvel project to be labeled under the Marvel Animation banner rather than the Marvel Studios banner. Showrunner Beau DeMayo further clarified on Instagram that X-Men ’97 will have no official ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “We are our own thing,” DeMayo said when asked how the project connects to the MCU.


This is big news for a number of reasons. Up to this point, the Marvel-themed projects from Disney+ have been official extensions of the MCU. Even What If…?, the first animated series from Marvel Studios, falls under this banner. X-Men ’97 being separate from the MCU isn’t a harbinger of doom, it’s the first step of the “quiet retooling” the studio is currently undergoing. X-Men ’97 being a standalone project is a good thing, as it fleshes out its own universe and could prove to be the entry point for fans both old and new.

Poster for X-Men '97

X-Men ’97

Continuation of X-Men: The Animated Series (1992) .

Release Date
March 20, 2024

Cast
Jennifer Hale , Cal Dodd , Chris Potter , Catherine Disher , Adrian Hough , Ray Chase , Lenore Zann

Seasons
2

Number of Episodes
10

Streaming Service(s)
Disney+

Franchise(s)
X-Men



‘X-Men ’97’ Is Already Part of Its Own Universe

When X-Men ’97 returns, it won’t just be continuing the story of X-Men: The Animated Seriesbut also reviving an animated version of the Marvel Universe. This animated universe is designated Earth-92131, and also grew to include Spider-Man: The Animated Series. This led to the two series crossing over in the Spider-Man: The Animated Series episodes “The Mutant Agenda” and “Mutants’ Revenge.” As Spider-Man (Christopher Daniel Barnes) slowly starts to lose his powers, he seeks the help of the X-Men, which leads to Spidey and the Beast (George Buza) being kidnapped by anti-mutant scientist Herbert Langdon (David Warner).

Spider-Man: The Animated Series and X-Men: The Animated Series would go on to feature other heroes throughout their respective runs. Like in the comics, Rogue gained her powers of super strength and flight from Carol Danvers. It’s implied that Gambit encountered Ghost Rider at one point, and during X-Men: The Animated Series‘ adaptation of “The Dark Phoenix Saga” Doctor Strange and Captain Britain are shown reacting to Jean Grey becoming the Dark Phoenix.


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Likewise, Spider-Man: The Animated Series featured heroes like Captain America and Iron Man while eventually doing its own take on the legendary Secret Wars storyline. Continuing this universe would be a great chance to see the Earth-92131 versions of other heroes, or another Spider-Man crossover as the Daily Bugle (featuring a byline from Spider-Man’s alter ego Peter Parker) is shown in the X-Men ’97 universe. It would also provide an alternative to fans who aren’t sure about entering into the MCU or need a break from its massive storyline. A great comparison would be how Star Wars Visions remains its own distinct entity while also utilizing the iconography from a galaxy far, far away.

‘X-Men ’97’ Could Be Marvel’s Chance To Match DC In The Animation Game


X-Men ’97 doesn’t just represent a rebirth of one animated universe, however. It could be the launchpad for a new animated renaissance at Marvel, an area the House of Ideas has often flirted with. In the wake of X-Men: The Animated Series and Spider-Man: The Animated Series there have been quite a few animated Marvel shows that’ve stood out. Chief among them is X-Men: Evolution, which reintroduced the Children of the Atom to a new generation; The Spectacular Spider-Man, which only further cemented that Spider-Man and animation are a match made in heaven; and The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which introduced the Avengers to the world prior to their big screen debut. Despite all of these series being beloved, Marvel hasn’t quite managed to match its rival DC Comics when it comes to animation. X-Men ’97 could be the key to fixing that.


In fact, Marvel Animation is looking to branch out into other projects. Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (formerly titled Spider-Man: Freshman Year) will feature a Peter Parker who’s just starting out, and will receive help from Norman Osborn (aka his longtime foe the Green Goblin). Eyes of Wakanda are also on the docket and will trace the history of the Black Panther’s kingdom. If X-Men ’97 is the success it’s gearing up to be, it will throw open a whole new set of doors for Marvel – no MCU tethers necessary.

X-Men ’97 premieres on Disney+ on March 20, while X-Men: The Animated Series is available to stream on Disney+ in the U.S.

Watch on Disney+

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