The 1990s nostalgia wave is real, and Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Rogue, Gambit, and Jubilee wouldn’t miss it for the world. Announced out of the Disney Plus Day news bonanza, a sequel series to X-Men: The Animated Series, titled X-Men ’97, is in the works at the streamer.
Little is known about the project besides its direct connection to X-Men: The Animated Series, which ran from 1992-1997 as part of the Fox Kids Saturday morning entertainment block. Beau DeMayo, who recently penned the script for The Witcher anime Nightmare of the Wolf, will serve as showrunner. Cast members Cal Dodd (Wolverine), Lenore Zann (Rogue), George Buza (Beast), Catherine Disher (Jean Grey), Chris Potter (Gambit), Alison Sealy-Smith (Ororo Munroe), Adrian Hough (Nightcrawler), Christopher Britton (Mr. Sinister), and Alyson Court (Jubilee) will all return, although some will play new roles. (Court has previously stated she hoped any future X-Men show would cast an Asian-American actress in the role, and that she would not return to voice the part if asked.) Joining the cast are Jennifer Hale, Anniwaa Buachie, Ray Chase, Matthew Waterson, JP Karliak, Holly Chou, Jeff Bennett, and AJ LoCascio.
“This is the first X-Men title produced by Marvel Studios,” emphasizes Brad Winderbaum, head of Streaming, Television, and Animation at Marvel Studios. “What an amazing first step to reintroduce audiences to the X-Men with a look at one of the most pinnacle eras of the X-Men comics, which was the ’90s. That iconic style that has its roots in Chris Claremont, and is celebrated in Jim Lee, and then again in The Animated Series.”
In the early ’90s, an action-forward comic book series was seen as a huge risk, but the fledgling Fox network, competing with the majors who had existed for decades, needed a huge risk. So Margaret Loesch, head of the children’s division at Fox, hired animation writers Eric and Julia Lewald to take a mature approach to adapting the X-Men comic books that were booming at the time. X-Men: The Animated Series debuted in earnest in January 1993, airing alongside Fox’s Batman: The Animated Series, and in just a few weeks, became the No. 1 Saturday-morning program for kids 2 to 11. The show ran five seasons, becoming a pillar of Saturday-morning entertainment, and was cited as a core inspiration for the X-Men movie that hit the big screen in 2000. There’s really no modern comic book-inspired entertainment without the X-Men animated series. Thankfully, word is that the Lewalds have been recruited as consultants on the new series.
Disney and Marvel announced that X-Men ’97 would premiere on Disney Plus in 2023.