In the season finale of X-Men ’97, we got several cliffhangers, and teases for what’s to come when the series returns. And we already have some well-reasoned guesses as to which classic comics will serve as inspiration for the new season. Here are the comic book stories we are confident will be the basis for the season two of X-Men ’97.

The Rise of Apocalypse

Cover art for The Rise of Apocalypse #1 from Adam Pollina.
Marvel Comics

This 1996 mini-series goes back 5,000 years to ancient Egypt and the rise of En Sabah Nur. He was the very first mutant and the being who would one day take the name Apocalypse. Written by Terry Kavanagh and illustrated by Adam Pollina, The Rise of Apocalypse details how a former slave rose up against the Pharoah Rama-Tut. (He is a variant of Kang the Conqueror, should they wish to connect to the MCU.) Apocalypse then began his war on the weakest of the species, eventually recruiting his legendary Four Horsemen. The design for young En Sabah Nur in X-Men ’97 directly recalls his design from artist Adam Pollina. So we definitely see this having a big influence on season two.

The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix (1994)

Marvel Comics

In 1991’s X-Factor #69, the tyrant Apocalypse infected Cyclops’ infant son Nathan with a techno-organic virus. The only way to save him was to send him thousands of years into the future. Cyclops was offered this choice by a warrior from the Clan Askani. We later found out the mercenary Cable, leader of X-Force, was Nathan as an adult. He’d been sent back to the present from that future.

In Scott Lobdell and Gene Ha’s 1994 mini-series The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, newlyweds Scott Summers and Jean Grey are sent into the far future. They emerge in a time period where Apocalypse rules, and they go by the names Slim and Redd. There, they meet their daughter Rachel Summers, now the ancient Mother Askani. She gives them the chance to raise young Nathan from childhood to his teen years. The arrival of Jean and Scott in the far future indicates we are definitely are going to see an adaptation of this series.

Generation X

Marvel Comics

After years of villainy as part of the Hellfire Club as its White Queen, Emma Frost’s students, the Hellions, all died in a Sentinel attack. She very nearly lost her life too, falling into a coma for months. When she finally awoke, the trauma of this loss caused her to change her ways (somewhat), and she began training a new generation of X-Men at the Massachusetts Academy, now an offshoot of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

Frost and co-headmaster Banshee taught a new group of students, nicknamed Generation X, which included Jubilee. Among the others were Synch, Chamber, Husk, Skin, and M. Writer Scott Lobdell’s Generation X series lasted 75 issues. With the school closed on X-Men ’97, and Emma narrowly surviving Genosha, she may wish to start her own school of X-Men to keep the dream alive. Maybe with Jubilee and Sunspot as students? Generation X might be a dated term now for a group of younger mutants today, but in 1997? They would have been the right age for a name Like “Gen X.”

X-Men: Blood of Apocalypse

Marvel Comics

Peter Milligan’s mid-2000s X-Men run isn’t one that gets referenced a lot. However, this comic run did contain one story that likely will inform season two of X-Men ’97. After the mutant decimation provoked by the Scarlet Witch, causing most mutants to lose their powers, Gambit was in a funk. Especially as his great love, Rogue, started a romantic relationship with another mutant with immunity to her powers. He actually volunteers to become the new Horseman of Death for Apocalypse, in a storyline that began in 2006’s X-Men #185. Gambit’s time as Death is brief, and by X-Men #200, Gambit returns to normal. This will at least partially serve as inspiration for X-Men ’97 season two.

Uncanny Avengers: The Apocalypse Twins

Marvel Comics

If Apocalypse brings back Gambit or other dead mutants as his Horsemen, it will be based on something his heirs did. This was actually something done by Uriel and Eimin, the Apocalypse Twins, in the pages of Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers. The Apocalypse Twins brought back to life dead characters like the Sentry, Banshee, Grim Reaper, and Daken, and turned them into their Four Horsemen of Death. If Gambit is coming back via this method, it begs the question, what other three dead mutants from Genosha are coming back too? Banshee, Sebastian Shaw, Madelyne Pryor, and Dazzler are all prime candidates for resurrection as Horsemen of Death.

Onslaught

Marvel Comics

Although Professor X didn’t wipe Magneto’s mind after he pulled the adamantium out of Logan’s body, as in X-Men #25, he did spend a lot of time in Magnus’ head. It was enough that Jean Grey worried that so much time mentally fused might break them both. While they both seem intact at the end of X-Men ’97 season one, we’re not totally buying it. We think at some point in season two (or perhaps season three) Onslaught will emerge. The entity Onslaught was born when Charles Xavier absorbed some of Magneto’s rage and hostility when he mind-wiped him, and it stayed dormant for years. We think he was in Magneto’s mind long enough on X-Men ’97 for this comic story to still happen in season two. It’s just a matter of time.