Disney+’s New ‘X-Men’ Animated Series Will Pick Up Right Where a ‘90s Classic Left Off


Nostalgia is a double-edged sword, but try to find a millennial who doesn’t experience a Winter Soldier-like activation when they hear the opening riff from the X-Men 90s cartoon. That was the vibe yesterday morning, when Marvel Studios—on a hot streak of announcements this week— dropped a trailer for X-Men ‘97.

The new Disney+ show, announced way back in 2021 and finally set to debut on March 20, is a direct continuation of X-Men: The Animated Series and features the return of most of the original voice cast from the popular Fox Kids animated series, including Cal Dodd as Wolverine, Lenore Zann as Rogue, George Buza as Beast, Alison Sealy-Smith as Storm, and Christopher Britton as Mister Sinister where they’ll be joined by new cast members Jennifer Hale as Jean Grey, Holly Chou as Jubilee, and A.J. LoCascio as Gambit.

The trailer focuses on the immediate aftermath of Charles Xavier leaving the X-Men as the group reels and tries to figure out what’s next. While the trailer keeps that story close to its chest, there are some teases—including a shot of Magneto visiting the United Nations—before revealing in the trailer’s final moments that the last will of Charles Xavier has left everything to the X-Men’s biggest foe. Other notable teases include a pregnant Jean, a new take on the famed Fastball Special but with Gambit and Wolverine, and a shot of a windblown Daily Bugle front page that references the Hellfire Gala, a detail pulled from recent storylines in the X-Men comics about an extravagant, Met Gala-like event for the heroes and mutants of the Marvel world.

On social media yesterday, the trailer met with approval as close to universal as is possible in this day and age. Part of that is nostalgia, to be sure, but the other factor at play is the legacy of the series itself. For a generation of fans who’d maybe never hit the spinner rack or the comic shop, X-Men: The Animated Series was and remains the definitive take on Marvel’s flagship property. At a time when Marvel’s live-action efforts consisted solely of chintzy made-for-TV movies and straight-to-video junk, the animated series was the MCU before the MCU, pulling from decades’ worth of classic comic-book stories—including iconic X-Men storylines like Days of Future Past and The Dark Phoenix Saga—and reshaping them for a wider audience.

2024 is a big year for the mutants at Marvel Studios. X-Men ‘97 marks the first dedicated Disney project featuring the X-Men franchise since they acquired Fox, with Deadpool & Wolverine following later this summer. But X-Men ‘97 needs to be more than a down-the-middle nostalgia play to succeed, especially with the scrutiny around superhero fare lately. That theme song, as damn good as it is, can only do so much if the show that follows after isn’t up to snuff. We’ll find out in March.



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