It felt like it had returned only yesterday but already Beau DeMayo‘s X-Men ’97 – a revival of the classic X-Men: The Animated Series that ran from 1992 to 1997 – has wrapped its first season, beating expectations and scoring many a glowing review from fans and newbies alike. 

But what did Team Beat’s own Gold and Blue teams think of this wild ride that had us glued to our seats week to week? Read on, True Believers!

Our childhood faves reunited © 2024 MARVEL

Had you seen the original animated series? What are your memories?

Adam Wescott: I’ll admit to being a bad X-Men fan. I never saw the animated series. My main experience with the famous Claremont run is listening to the podcast Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men. But I have read all of New X-Men and X-Statix. Plus Hickman’s House of X/Powers of X. It’s been interesting to talk to other folks and realize just how beloved the original animated series was back in its day! I suppose X-Men Evolution was that for me, in that it was airing on television when I was in elementary school.

Taimur Dar: As pretty much anyone can attest, ‘90s cartoons were my jam most especially Fox Kids. So I am intimately familiar with the original X-Men: TAS. Like many it was pretty much my introduction to the franchise. 

George Carmona 3rd: I watched the animated show during its original run in the 90’s. Back then there were a few attempts at the X-Men and this one hit. As a college student, I found time to watch it because they were doing decent adaptations of the comics. It was also a time when the concept of a live-action X-Men movie wasn’t on the horizon, it was inconceivable. 

Dan Morris: I was a pretty fervent watcher during its original run. I was at the perfect age for it since I was just getting into the X-Men comics in the post-Lee/Liefeld/Portacio era. The show looked like the comic so it was a really easy sell for this kid.  

Deanna Destito: I watched the original religiously, and that series is one of the biggest reasons I got so into X-Men as a kid. 

Dean Simons: The ‘90s X-Men cartoon – alongside Spider-Man – were my gateway to superheroes as a child. I am not sure when it started airing in the UK – it is probable that there was a lag of at least a year behind the US – but I must have been around 5 or 6 years old when I saw it. I tended to favour Spider-Man more but I religiously watched both and remember trying to record every episode on a VHS tape. I even got some action figures! It was so formative that when I spotted some X-Men (and Spider-Man) comics in a local newsagent, the start or the Panini “Collector’s Edition” reprints, I jumped at them. My start as a comics reader. I recall becoming a regular reader partway into the reprinting of the Age of Apocalypse storyline and it is still my favourite X-Men event to this day.

© 2024 MARVEL

What were your thoughts and expectations on hearing the announcement for X-Men ‘97?

AW: Not much. I think Marvel’s been in a rough spot since Avengers: Infinity War. Endgame brought folks together, but nothing since then has hit in the same way. I don’t think particularly highly of any of their television series either, live action or animated (give or take a Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.) I remember when they announced Spider-Man: Freshman Year; the designs were great, but I couldn’t help but think, “how do they intend to animate these?” X-Men ‘97 looked to be in a similar place, maybe tending conservative. I figure that it didn’t matter whether the show looked good so long as it looked the way people remembered it at the time.

TD: I think my feelings were similar to those of Adam. Initially when they announced it back in 2020, I was incredibly excited. Granted, I was hyped for a lot of things announced during that Disney presentation that ended up disappointing or going nowhere. As time went on coupled with the dwindling quality of Marvel Studios that hit a nadir in 2023, my expectations were reserved. 

GC3: My initial thought was ‘why?’. Specifically, ‘why can’t the studios do something new?’ It had been over 20 years since I’d seen it and I was ok with that, the nostalgia factor for me was super low. When Disney+ put it on their streaming service I tried to rewatch it and couldn’t get past the animation. Fast forward to the trailers and it made a strong enough impression that I would give it a shot, I’m glad they moved ahead.

DM: This was always going to be a hard sell for me. Revivals are big business and I got that an 90s X-Men revival was an easy sell. Still I wasn’t particularly enthused by a continuation of a 30-year-old animated series. It seemed like pure nostalgia bait for people waiting for the X-Men to properly join the MCU. Was there anything left to say with this particular tv show or anything that could be done creatively? I wasn’t so sure.

DD: I was both excited and hesitant. I wanted to see my favorites again, but I’m always wary of new versions/continuations/reboots of something I hold so dear. There is that fear that someone will muck with something so good. There have been so many examples recently of new hands in old beloved projects, and the results have not always been great.

DS: I was a massive skeptic. Marvel were on the turn at the box office, I was burnt out with the Disney+ stuff, and I thought digging into nostalgia for the (mostly) non-millennials was a sign of desperation. I was surprised it was that specific show too. 

(L-R): Bishop (voiced by Isaac Robinson-Smith), Cyclops (voiced by Ray Chase), Jean Grey (voiced by Jennifer Hale), Rogue (voiced by Lenore Zann), Morph (voiced by JP Karliak), Magneto (voiced by Matthew Waterson), Wolverine (voiced by Cal Dodd), Jubilee (voiced by Holly Chou), Beast (voiced by George Buza), and Gambit (voiced by AJ LoCascio) in Marvel Animation’s X-MEN ’97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL

Has X-Men ‘97 met your expectations?

AW: I think X-Men ‘97 fell into a sweet spot in the middle of Marvel’s production. It’s far enough away from the center of power that the folks working on it hopefully didn’t worry as much about creative interference. But the property is just beloved enough that they must have wanted to do right by it. I don’t know if an X-Men film produced by Marvel could have been done nearly as well; Marvel’s standard for fight choreography absolutely does not measure up to what Studio Mir can pull off at their best.

Something that pleasantly surprised me about the series is the way it leans into the soap opera aspect. It’s a defining feature of Claremont’s run that influenced every superhero comic that came after. But I don’t think we’ve ever seen it realized outside of the comics. Once I saw the scene where Wolverine is framed in the doorway between Scott and Jean kissing, I knew that the staff were cooking with gas. It didn’t even have to be good material– X-Men ‘97 can be quite silly at times! – What matters is that they weren’t afraid of it.

TD: It exceeded my expectations and then some. The phrase “superhero fatigue” is all too common these days and Marvel Studios certainly had a few misfires lately. As a testament to how much I adored the series, I pretty much watched each episode multiple times each week and continually enjoyed each viewing. 

GC3: Same for me. When I tried rewatching it the animation was rough, it was hard work for me to focus on the story and animation shouldn’t have you choosing between story and art. But ’97 stepped up their game in terms of story and animation.

DM: It took a few episodes but I went from very mild interest to completely captivated. Let’s put it this way: Something devastating happened to one of my least favorite X-Men and this show actually made me care about it. The creatives involved took risks on this show and most of them they paid off. They were unafraid to lean into X-Men as social commentary in a way that never felt pandering. Also my boy Nightcrawler finally joined the team!

DD: I gotta be honest, I’m torn. From a writer/storyteller’s perspective, it is solid. The animation is way better than the original, but it keeps the feel of the old show. And it definitely takes on social commentary and tough, sensitive issues in a more aggressive way than before. All great. But, that death…UGH…one of my favorites gets offed way too soon. And yes it’s heroic and all that. But I sat in silence for about 10 minutes after the credits rolled because I was so hurt.

DS: I went in with very low expectations but habitually watched it anyway. I was extremely surprised – by the animation, the plotting, and the sense that this show, this world, could still grab me like it did when I was six years old.

Nightcrawler (voiced by Adrian Hough) showing off his expert fencing skills in Marvel Animation’s X-MEN ’97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL

What were your favorite moment(s) and highlights of X-Men ‘97?

AW: Episode 5 [Remember It] is the clear answer. That’s the most confident episode of the series by far, bringing together melodrama, politicking, infidelity and pure shock and awe tragedy at the end. I think the episode that first clicked for me, though, was the second one [Mutant Liberation Begins]. Throughout the Trials of Magneto you see the character from multiple angles–is he a villain, an antihero or something else? Then he gives his speech at the end, and you realize how much of himself he’s holding back for everybody’s sake. Tortured dad Magneto is a common enough version of the character in the comics, but much rarer to see on screen.

I want to take a moment to shout out Studio Mir’s contributions as well. I don’t know how much control they had over the series. The Avatar team famously gave them autonomy to improvise throughout the production of that show [Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s sequel series Legend of Korra], particularly in that last season. I haven’t seen many interviews with the actual animators that worked on X-Men ‘97. I do know, though, that the series probably only works because of Studio Mir’s contributions. Episode 5 doesn’t hit as hard as it does without the apocalypse being believable.

GC3: This series dropped some gamma-level bombs with their commentary about equality and systems of power. Magneto took the teacher role to heart, he stayed teaching folks about the reality of the situation, from his trial to the party on Genosha. As for the visuals, I wondered how they would top Cyclops’s freefall in the first episode and they gave me Nightcrawler. The fight scene with him and Wolverine protecting Rogue in Episode 8 is magic, from his fluid fighting style mixed with teleportation, and we can’t forget the sword play. And then of course there is the internets, the memes were next level. 

DM: Some of my favorite moments in no particular order; Nightcrawler’s fight scene against the Prime Sentinels, Madelyne Pryor yelling at Wolverine to take her to the hospital, Rogue then zapping a doctor to deliver Nathan, all of the era appropriate Marvel cameos, Moira MacTaggart’s X-Men museum on Muir Island, Gambit’s crop top, and of course, the final moments of the last episode. 

TD: So as to not repeat previous responses, I gotta highlight the Motendo story from episode four. I’ve always had a fondness for the villain Mojo as a caricature of entertainment executives, which is more relevant than ever. Likewise, while the entire voice cast is superb I must single out David Errigo Jr as an MVP for not only voicing Mojo but several other characters in the first season including Leech, Banshee, and Gladiator. 

DD: I’m going to get slammed for this one, I’m sure, but I kind of liked that Wolverine took a backseat. Other characters were more in the forefront, and that’s a good thing. I definitely have felt Wolverine fatigue as an X-fan. And Gambit’s crop top, of course, wins.

DS: My highlights are actually in the animation department. The original cartoon was done on an ultra low budget, with visual inconsistencies and corner-cutting. While X-Men ‘97 emulated the original series designs, it exceeded in terms of production. From the very first episode there were some stellar moments on screen that I did not expect to see or enjoy so much: Jubilee dancing in a club while using her powers was expertly choreographed, and Cyclops breaking freefall with a burst from his optic blast was epic!

Mojo in X-Men '97
(L-R): Mojo remains a contentious character – Photo featuring Roberto Da Costa (voiced by Gui Agustini), Mojo (David Errigo Jr.), and Jubilee (voiced by Holly Chou) in Marvel Animation’s X-MEN ’97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL.

Least favorite moments?

AW: The show’s character animation doesn’t work nearly as well as the fight scenes. Sometimes it’s alright, but I think X-Men ‘97’s detailed designs influenced by the original animated series only hurt it. The storyboarding isn’t bad, though. The important scenes are framed with a thought for where the characters are standing and what the viewer is meant to notice or connect in their minds. That’s more than you can say for a lot of modern anime.

I also thought the appearance of Charles Xavier in episode 6 killed the show’s momentum. You drop something like episode 5, and that’s how you follow it up?! Finally I understand Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men’s distaste for Professor X.

GC3: I agree, the time spent with Xavier was ok, but we could have used it for something else. I also could have done without the Mojo story, cute but unnecessary. 

DM: I was actually frustrated with how Mr. Sinister was used this season. For a major X-Men villain, he ended up just being a henchman.  

DD: Totally agree about Sinister. He’s my favorite X-villain and I felt like he didn’t get to shine. I also never need Mojo. 

TD: Let me preface this by saying I love Morph as a character but throughout this first season I couldn’t quite figure out the limits of their shapeshifting powers. Being able to fly by transforming into characters like Archangel and Sauron makes complete sense. But when Morph transformed into Psylocke and Magik, they were able to include swords. I was also taken aback when Morph changed into Quicksilver and gained super speed. I guess Morph can copy physical powers? I’m hoping there’s clarification regarding the rules of Morph’s powers next season.   

DS: The first half of episode five was a surprising low point for me as it dragged. It was setting up the perfect society of Genosha which was cool but some of the character moments were cringe and the TV crew at the X-Mansion was dull. I almost left the series there – and would have missed how the episode ended!

Jubilee (voiced by Holly Chou) cutting a rug in Marvel Animation’s X-MEN ’97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL

What are your thoughts on the pacing of the series?

AW: It depends! Overall I think X-Men ‘97 does a good job ferrying the viewer from point to point while dropping the occasional drama bomb. It also doesn’t require that they go and read the comics to understand everything that’s going on. At the same time, I wish that they had the time to spend a full episode on Life/Death, or even to spread it out over multiple episodes. The strict episode limits of modern streaming just aren’t compatible with the sprawling nature of the comics.

Something I’ve thought about recently with the success of Invincible (at least the first season) was its confidence: that if they just made an animated version of the comic with improvements, people would show up. X-Men ‘97 nearly gets there. If it can’t get all the way, it’s because the series was probably a weird little experimental project to begin. It’s amazing they achieved what they did under these restrictions.

(On a side note, I can’t help but wonder if X-Men ‘97 is so popular among folks today because new fans haven’t actually read the original X-Men comics. What would it look like if these works were adapted as faithfully and as thoroughly as a modern Shonen Jump comic? I don’t know if I’d prefer it–many anime adaptations today are too faithful–but I’d be curious to see.)

GC3: With the exception of the Mojo story, the season’s pacing was very solid. And because it happened at the end of Episode 9 Wolverine’s fate was up in the air, but we knew things had to be resolved by the end of the season.

DM: While the show was thrilling, it was a little frustrating to have the show burn through so many massive X-Men storylines like there was no tomorrow. Also as much as I enjoyed seeing Storm get put in the spotlight, her story joined back up with the others later than I would have liked. It’s hard for me to think she saw the news about Genosha and then just chilled at Forge’s place until it was convenient for her to come back.

DD: It felt rushed to me to be honest. So many major plots were thrown in and then finished way too quickly. 

TD: There certainly was no sense of filler and every episode served a purpose. I know that’s a common complaint for many television programs, most especially the later seasons of the Marvel Netflix shows. Large ensembles are a beast and that’s especially true for the X-Men. Obviously there are constraints with any and all media, especially animation. But I definitely think one or two extra episodes wouldn’t have to give a bit more breathing room to such a weighty season. 

DS: It definitely felt to me like it was moving at a bit of a frenetic pace. Often rushing through big storylines I vaguely remember reading as a kid, but giving a new twist on them. It’s to the writers’ credit that it still held together remarkably well – and also deviated to the point where I am not sure where they would go or what they would use 7next episode (and now, next season)

Scene from Marvel Animation’s X-MEN ’97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL

What did you think of the season finale?

AW: I’m happy that they gave Magneto plenty of spotlight at the end, although I can’t help but wonder–how might this blow up in Charles’s face in the future? You don’t just tamper with the brains of your enemies and expect to get away with it. As for Bastion, I loved the line “humanity would rather die than have kids like us.” It gets to the skepticism that’s infected the second half of the series, where seemingly well-intentioned humans can be just as insensitive (and dangerous!) as the obvious bigots.

It’s also fun that the series ends on a big cliffhanger. I don’t know if the staff will have the chance to wrap up the story they planned, but it’s fitting to end an X-Men saga on an absurd, mysterious “To Be Continued?!”

GC3: Weirdly it felt like the best type of Star Trek episode, in the end, it wasn’t the powers of our heroes that saved the day but convincing their enemy to work together to save the world. And then they get lost in time. Overall I’d highly recommend this series for X-Fans old and new. 

DM: I had a blast watching the season finale. I agree with Adam, that this episode was a good wrap up for Magneto’s season long arc. All the characters got a chance to shine in the fight against Bastion. Cyclops tries to give him a chance and of course, he spits in his face. Those final moments took me by surprise and it set up so much for season 2 that has me excited.

TD: There were definitely a few things I felt came up a bit short. As someone previously mentioned, Mr. Sinister’s end seemed somewhat lackluster. After being depowered, the team basically lets one of their worst enemies run away crying. I’m sure it’s not the last we’ve seen of Sinister but it struck me as awkward. Similarly, I was hoping to get deeper into Bastion as a character and his motivations. Overall though, the finale certainly did not disappoint and had me excited for the second season.   

DD: I enjoyed the finale. Except for the Sinister stuff. Despite my issues with that and stuff in earlier episodes, I thought the ending was solid and wrapped up well. It also set the stage for some interesting story opportunities in season 2. 

DS: I did not expect the season finale to be over 40 minutes long! That was practically movie-length to my younger self. It was less densely packed as previous episodes, and didn’t quite satisfy me – but the cliffhanger ending was super cool.

Looking to the future – with Cable, Jean Grey and Scott Summers © 2024 MARVEL

What are your expectations for season 2?

AW: It won’t live up to the first. It’s already a miracle that the first season was any good at all. If I’m proven wrong and the sequel ends up being even better than the first, though, I won’t be too upset.

Also, to the producers out there: let Studio Mir animate their own original property if they want! They’ve spent the past several years carrying projects while showrunners in the United States take all the credit in interviews. I bet folks at that studio have their own ideas too.

TD: Like many, I initially assumed they were setting up Onslaught as the next season’s big bad. It appears that may not necessarily be the case as it looks to be focused on Apocalypse. As much as I wanted to see the series put the spotlight on a new baddie, I am excited to see them delve into his origin. I’m particularly hoping this means we’ll be seeing the return of the custodian of time, Bender, who was revealed to actually be Kang variant Immortus. I’m also hoping now that his adamantium skeleton has been ripped away we’ll see feral Wolverine like in the comics bone claws and all.  

A big plotline that the original series never had a chance to explore was Cyclops discovering Havok was his brother. Since this series also introduced the third Summers brother, Gabriel, I’m hoping for a proper Summers family reunion. 

GC3: I’m thinking when the team in the past get back to their time it’ll be more of an Age of Apocalypse situation. As for Scott and Jean, let them spend the season doing a riff on the The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix mini-series where they raise Cable. And save Wolverine getting his adamantium back for season 3. 

DM: I’m hoping that it will at least be as fun as this season was. The directions that the last five minutes set up have me really excited, especially the final tease at the end. Also should we take bet’s it will be retitled “X-Men ‘98″?   

DD: I would love to see Age of Apocalypse and maybe some Red and Slim since they introduced the Askani. I hope that with the characters scattered, though, it doesn’t muddy the story too much and make it too jumpy. And it has to be “‘98″ right?! 

DS: Given all the time travel stuff, I wouldn’t be surprised if they rename the series as “X-Men ‘07”, a jump of ten years; or “X-Men ‘25″, bringing the series to a version of our present day on its return, presumably next year. I am curious how the present day X-Men will reform – and what the time-displaced crews get up to (and how long they will be stranded for). I hope we get some kind of significant time jump (pun?)

All episodes of X-Men ’97 and X-Men: The Animated Series are available now on Disney+


  1. I watched the series too. Originally I wasn’t going to. I did see X-Men 92, but I was 17 when it came out so I didn’t have the child like joy for it. I recalled it being very melodramatic, adapting Claremont stories but the animation being a rough. Back then if you were a comic fan you watched anything in media that was comics because those things were pretty rare.

    But then I attended a Larry F Houston spotlight panel at Toronto Comicon in March. Larry was one of the people responsible for X-Men 92 series (plus many others). His talking about his (and others) contributions to it and assurances the 97 series was really good made me decided to check out the first episode.

    I’m glad I did. While I agree with the round table about it’s flaws, over all the series was much more enjoyable than I had expected it to be. I think I liked this more than I liked the 92 series. For Marvel I agree this was a nice diversion MCU fatigue that we’ve been experiencing.

  2. I loved the original series as a kid and I love the new series. The X-Men were my first superhero love. It’s gotten me back into X-Men comics after 30 years.

Comments are closed.