Disney+ Revives the Beloved X-Men ’97 Series for a Nostalgic Throwback | Must-Watch Streaming Event!

Make no mistake, “X-Men '97” is not a complete reboot. It is a continuation of the stories and characters that were developed through the children's animated series. Many of the original voice actors have returned to reprise their roles. And don't worry, that famous theme song is intact, ready to present new episodes of the X-Men saga. While the entry into this new series is steep, with the numerous theatrical releases of X-Men over the last twenty years redefining these characters, it's not impossible to be able to fill in the blanks. For everyone else, this is like being thrown into the deep end of mutant history. It's a problem worth overcoming given the relative strengths of this animated series: it certainly meets the bar set by the original.

Disney had a “parting of ways” with “X-Men '97” showrunner Beau DeMayo a week before the new series premieres, but it's hard to talk about the show without mentioning his contributions. He came to the project with his experience as a gay black man who grew up in an adoptive family; It's easy to imagine that he saw himself in the outsider characters created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. The mutants of the X-Men are seen as a metaphor for the struggle of LGBTQ+ people: mutants have “come out” to their parents, although they fear being disowned. They must also face countless hate groups, including the Friends of Humanity, who will do anything to eradicate mutants. These themes are reflected in the main cast of “X-Men '97,” including Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Gambit, Rogue, Jubilee, Morph, Beast and Storm, as they all have stories of feeling unwanted in a world that You are not interested in your situation and scared by your existence.

DeMayo uses the “X-Men '97” pilot as an homage to the 1992 premiere in many ways, particularly by incorporating another young mutant, Brazilian teenager Roberto de Costa. Through his eyes, he is reintroduced to Professor Xavier's school and training facility, and witnesses how the mutants hold firm a year after Xavier's death. Cyclops and Jean Gray are expecting their first child together and remain custodians of Xavier's grand vision of coexistence, while also wanting to leave and start their own lives away from the X-Men. Elsewhere, Rogue and Gambit continue their romantic interludes and Wolverine pines for a future with Jean Gray that will never be. The original animation played a lot with soap opera tropes and those continue here. While the motivations of these characters remain familiar, this animated series has evolved and is primarily aimed at audiences who grew up with these characters.

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