Fans of Marvel’s Mutants are eagerly anticipating the early 2024 arrival of X-Men ’97, the new Disney+ continuation of the classic ’90s X-Men: The Animated Series. The original show adapted many classic storylines from the pages of Uncanny X-Men over its run. At least, stories that were written up until that point. But since it went off the air in 1997, many new and seminal X-Men stories have been added to the canon in the Marvel Comics. And we think these would make for perfect animated episodes in the upcoming revival series. Here are our top picks for X-Men stories we’d love to see adapted next.
X-Men: Onslaught (1996)
Onslaught is not from a particularly creative high point for the X-Men titles. This story was mainly a function to remove the Avengers and Fantastic Four characters from the 616 Universe for a year in the Heroes Reborn event. But the basic premise would still be great for animated episodes. In the Fatal Attractions story a few years prior, Xavier had mind-wiped Magneto, in an attempt to put an end to his schemes once and for all. But a seed of Magneto’s mind lived on in Xavier, becoming the unstoppable and ridiculously huge psychic entity called Onslaught. This story is maybe too over the top and too ’90s for live-action, but would be perfect for the world of X-Men ’97.
X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills (1982)
This early ‘80s original graphic novel by Chris Claremont and artist Brent Anderson was the template for X2: X-Men United. But that film changed some key elements of the story, such as changing the villain William Stryker from a televangelist to a military general. The original story dealt more with the concept at the very core of the X-Men comics, which is how people use religion and politics to justify bigotry. It represents key X-Men writer Chris Claremont at his creative peak. Some elements of the story haven’t aged well. However, the core ideas would still work in the animated format. Plus, this might be the perfect excuse to bring in key characters from that story, like Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler. This storyline was a bit too mature for Saturday morning audiences, so it was never adapted then. But it’s perfect for today.
X-Men: Inferno (1988-1989)
Rumors persist that the clone of Jean Grey, Madelyne Pryor, is making her way into X-Men ’97. With Mister Sinister confirmed as one of the series’ main antagonists, it makes sense that Maddy would appear. After all, she was a creation of that pasty-skinned mad geneticist. If Madelyne does appear, then it would be an ideal time to adapt her most famous storyline, Inferno, for animation. In that 1988-1989 comics event, Madelyne, bitter her husband Cyclops left her for his resurrected lover Jean Grey (her genetic template), makes a deal with powerful demons to unleash Hell on Earth. X-Men vs. demons from Limbo might be a tad much for live-action, but for animation? It’s just perfect.
New X-Men: E is for Extinction
In the early 2000s, superstar writer Grant Morrison lent their genius to refreshing the X-Men franchise for the 21st century. And the first story out of the gate for them in what was called New X-Men was E for Extinction. That storyline saw the addition of Emma Frost to the Xavier School faculty. It also introduced one of the best modern X-villains, Cassandra Nova. Unlike many X-Men baddies, she actually presented a real threat, destroying the island nation of Genosha and murdering millions of mutants in one heinous act. And did we mention Cassandra is Xavier’s secret twin sister, whom he believed he killed in the womb? This is one story that we’d really love to see the animated series tackle.
X-Men: House of X and Powers of X
In 2019, writer Jonathan Hickman upended decades of mutant status quo in the series House of X and Powers of X. For once in their long publication history, mutantkind would be on top. He reintroduced the mutant island of Krakoa, a living island where Xavier and Magneto welcomed every mutant as a citizen. But Krakoa had secrets. Among them is the key to mutant immortality. This era raised the X-Men to the level of almost gods on Earth. Marvel Comics has done a version of this era as if it happened in the X-Men: The Animated Series world. And we think adapting that for the cartoon would be amazing. And it would really meld the classic ’90s X-Men with the storytelling daring of the modern Marvel Comics. Put Wolverine’s claw to our head? This is the one we want the most.