Among all the Disney+ Day announcements from Marvel, the one that seems to have fans the most excited is the news that X-Men: The Animated Series is coming back. And right where they left off too, in a brand new animated show called X-Men ’97. Many of the original voice actors are returning, along with several new ones.
For many fans, this cartoon, which ran five seasons, from 1992 to 1997, is what they think of when they think of the X-Men. Especially that iconic theme song. Its success led to the movie franchise, which ultimately led to the MCU itself. Although we could think of 97 things we want to see in X-Men ’97 (the comics lore runs deep enough), we’ve narrowed it down to seven. And here are the things we want to see most when Xavier’s Students return.
1. Adapt Modern Comics Storylines
One of the reasons X-Men: The Animated Series is so beloved is just how faithful it was to the comics storytelling. After years of Marvel cartoons changing important things from the comics, Larry Houston and Eric Lewald came along and took the Chris Claremont comics as gospel. The original series did a fantastic job of adapting the storylines from the comics, tweaking them a bit to fit the series’ timeline.
Both “The Phoenix Saga” and “the Dark Phoenix Saga” were fantastic adaptations, as well as “Days of Future Past.” They even did “Age of Apocalypse” before the comics did! But in the 25 years since, there have been many great storylines they need to adapt. Stories like “Onslaught,” Grant Morrison’s “E is for Extinction,” and Joss Whedon’s “Gifted.” Let’s see what the series writers can do with the past quarter-century of comics stories.
2. Better Animation
As great as the storytelling and fidelity to the comics were on the original show, one thing was not always that great. And that was the animation. Cheaply produced by Korean animation house AKOM, it paled in comparison to shows like Batman: The Animated Series, which debuted the same year. In the modern era, they can do a lot better, and need to. While we’re all for keeping the character designs, for Disney+, they need to step up their animation game.
3. Kitty Pryde
Although she was the star of the original pilot episode, not to mention a main cast member of the 2000s series X-Men: Evolution, Kitty Pryde never even made a guest appearance on the ‘90s series. (And practically every single X-Men character showed up at least once). Considering her importance to the team, this was always a glaring omission.
We get that the producers wanted Jubilee to be the “new kid” on the team, more or less negating the need for Kitty. But she’s way too important to the franchise. And now that Jubilee is presumably older, she could mentor young Kitty as the newest member of the Xavier’s School. Assuming she does appear, she should definitely wear her ‘90s era Shadowcat costume. And at some point, she needs to call Professor Xavier a jerk.
4. Give Bigger Roles to Classic Members
The original series kept the focus on a core group of characters from the comics, but many classic, longtime members were only occasional guest stars. We’re talking about major X-Men like Colossus, Nightcrawler, Angel, Iceman, and Psylocke. Time to upgrade those guys to the main roster. Even if they aren’t in every episode, they need to be around much more than they were back in the day. These X-Men are the GOATS, and deserve a prime slot on the team.
Look, we know Wade Wilson made a brief cameo or two in the original series. But that’s not enough. And let’s just say the character’s profile has risen slightly in the intervening years. We need at least one wonderful chapter with the Merc with the Mouth mouthing off to the team. Don’t overdo it, but give us at least one stand-out Deadpool episode.
6. Keep the ‘90s Period (At First)
The show is called X-Men ’97, so we expect that to not be in name only. Meaning no smartphones, slow internet, and just an overall ‘90s vibe. But don’t make it a caricature of the era either. We don’t need constant shots of the team going to Blockbuster Video, watching Friends, or listening to Chumbawamba.
7. Allow for Evolution
Yes, we just said maintain the ‘90s vibe. But that’s just to start. If there are plans for the show to continue, then it has to evolve, just like mutants do. Starting where we left off is genius, but let’s take it further as the series goes along. Hopefully, as the show progresses, we see the team wearing their costumes from subsequent eras. Among other things. The ‘90s is a great jumping-off point, but one thing the X-Men don’t ever do is stagnate. Make sure the show does the same thing.
Marvel Studios has announced a 2023 release date for X-Men ’97 on Disney+.