Will X-MEN ’97 Give Us Cyclops as Mutant Revolutionary?

Spoiler Alert

The world of Marvel’s mutants has changed forever thanks to the genocidal attack on Genosha in episode five of X-Men ’97. So much so, we theorize it will cause a rift in the team that recalls not one, but two major events from the comics. The first is the emergence of the more militant, revolutionary version of Cyclops. For a time in the comics in the late 2000s, Scott Summers had a “take no prisoners” attitude that rivaled Magneto. The other is the formation of X-Factor, a team led by Cyclops consisting of the original X-Men. Here are the clues classic Marvel Comics have provided us that lead us to this is where X-Men ’97 is going.

Post-Avengers vs. X-Men Cyclops as a mutant revolutionary.
Marvel Comics

Cyclops Is Becoming Angrier with Each Episode of X-MEN ’97

Cyclops gives an angry TV interview at the X-Mansion in X-Men '97 episode five, Remember It.
Marvel Animation

Even before the attack on Genosha, in the TV interview, Scott Summers seemed very done with the whole thing. He loses control and gets brutally honest, having an outburst where he mentions how sick he is of human prejudice and ungratefulness. It seems all the recent trauma in the series has gotten to Scott, including losing his infant son Nathan to an unknown future. Compounded with the genocide on Genosha, which killed the mother of his son, Madelyne Pryor, this might be enough to make Scott harden his heart and become a hardcore revolutionary. He might even take Magneto’s approach to mutant rights, and break from Xavier’s more peaceful method.

In the Wake of Mutant Decimation, Cyclops Becomes More Militant

Cyclops leads the mutant nation of Utopia in the late 2000s era X-Men comics.
Marvel Comics

In the comics, the genocide on Genosha, followed by the Scarlet Witch’s depowering of nearly all mutants on Earth in 2005’s House of M, led to a near annihilation of mutants as a race. This changed the remaining powered mutants in both good and bad ways. For Scott Summers, this time was particularly harsh. He had recently lost his wife Jean Grey (again), and learned that his mentor Professor X had lied to him and the team, about several things. Dating former villain Emma Frost, Cyclops became more and more militant in his belief that mutants must do anything to survive, no matter the cost. It was during this time he secretly formed a new version of X-Force, designated as a black ops team sent on missions to kill their deadliest foes.

Cyclops give his revolutionary manifesto.
Marvel Comics

During this era, Cyclops led what remained of the powered mutants to an island near San Francisco named Utopia. There, he formed the X-Men’s “Extinction Team,” which was designed to flex the might of mutants in the world, and who were created to thwart extinction-level events for humans and mutants. On this powerful lineup were X-Men like Emma Frost, Colossus, Namor, Magick, Storm, and, Magneto. The Master of Magnetism had ceded his role as the revolutionary leader to Scott, a man whom Magneto had tried to kill in battle many times when he was a boy.

Cyclops, Headmaster of the Proactive New Xavier School

The militant version of Cyclops that emerged in the mid-2000s.
Marvel Comics

It didn’t end there. Believing mutantkind must do whatever it takes to survive, Cyclops began training the few remaining younger mutants into soldiers. This led to a schism with Wolverine. Logan believed the mutant children needed to learn how to control their powers first, leaving the soldiering to the adults. From there, the team split to two factions of X-Men, with Cyclops leading one aggressively proactive team, and Logan another. Cyclops opened the New Xavier School in the former Weapon X base, militarizing a new generation of mutant teens. This act raised eyebrows among the mutant community, as well as teams like the Avengers.

“Cyclops Was Right”

The Cyclops Was Right banner for mutant rights from 2020s' Marvel Comics..
Marvel Comics

Things really got out of hand for Cyclops when the Phoenix Force returned to Earth. This led to a war with the Avengers, and Cyclops (and four other mutants) became the new Phoenix hosts. The Phoenix pushed Cyclops into a darker mindset, ultimately leading to his killing of his mentor Charles Xavier. Of course, Xavier eventually returned. That didn’t stop his fellow X-Men from blaming Scott for what he did under the Phoenix’s influence. However, when Scott died (temporarily of course) many changed their views on Scott Summers, viewing him as a mutant martyr. Mutants in the Marvel universe began boasting the phrase “Cyclops Was Right.” Although his stance has softened quite a bit since his return to life, this militant Cyclops lasted for several years’ worth of comics.

Could Cyclops Form X-Factor As an X-Men Splinter Team?

The original five X-Men in X-Men ;97, and the original X-Factor from 1987 Marvel Comics by Walter Simonson.
Marvel Animation/Marvel Comics

We do think if proactive Cyclops breaks off a splinter X-Men team, the producers might go further in the comic book past for its roster. Since episode one of X-Men ’97, they keep showing a photo of the first class of Xavier’s students hanging in Charles’ office. Like the comics, the original X-Men were Cyclops, Marvel Girl (Jean Grey), Beast, Iceman, and Angel. The original series casually mentioned an original team before, notably in the Iceman-centric episode “Cold Comfort.” They never directed attention to the fact there was an “original five” team as much as they have in X-Men ’97. We think they are reminding us for a reason. It’s because when Scott forms his own squad, he’ll call his old classmates, and they’ll go by the name X-Factor.

Cyclops duels Storm over the right to lead the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #201, art by Michael Golden.
Marvel Comics

In the comics, Cyclops lost leadership of the X-Men to Storm, attempting to settle down with his wife and son. But circumstances forced him to form his own team with his oldest friends. The original X-Factor’s mission statement was to use humanity’s paranoia and fear of mutants against them. Posing as X-Factor, the original five X-Men were like Ghostbusters for mutants. People would call them on a toll-free line, and they’d show up and deal with the local “mutant problem.” As they were all secretly mutants themselves, they would train these younger mutants as Xavier once taught them.

The original X-Men disgused as mutant hunters, in order to save mutants.
Marvel Comics

The mutants wore different costumes as the X-Terminators, a public mutant superhero team made of former X-Men. The unsuspecting public didn’t realize they were the same group. X-Factor thought they could use humanity’s fear of mutants to their own advantage, and save kids with active X-genes instead. The plan ultimately backfired and did more harm than good. Yet we could see X-Men ’97 make Cyclops lead a new charge with his oldest friends in tow. As the series continues to unfold, we’ll find out how far Cyclops has been pushed to extremism. We believe that much of his future character trajectory was spelled out for Scott Summers decades ago in some classic Marvel titles.

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