X-Men '97
X-Men ’97 (Credit: Disney+)

X-Men: The Animated Series originally premiered October 31, 1992, to critical
acclaim. Completing its run of five seasons, it left a gap that was severely felt in
American animation. Since that time the X-Men maintained a chokehold over the
general comic book and animation enthusiasts, and so it is no simple feat to
reignite that fandom nearly 20 years later, but that is exactly what has been
managed with X-Men ’97.

The original first aired at a time when Saturday morning cartoons were nothing
short of dominant. If you were a kid in the ’90s, these cartoons provided the
backbone to lunchroom conversations and debates on ‘who could beat who’
way back before internet chatrooms and online op-pieces like this were the
norm, and now these same kids are grown up and showing unwavering support
to a revival of an IP that many grew up watching.

However, upon its cancellation in 1997, many like myself wondered if we would
ever see a return of this cult classic story, would there ever be a conclusion?
Would fans have closure via live-action only or was there a possibility that we
might have the original story revisited?

Even in its final season, the show suffered from budget cuts which severely
impacted the final product, causing many to feel that the series had been
abandoned and left for dead. Many would lament that the final season’s
‘stiff’ animation fell short of the quality the series had produced in the
seasons leading up to its conclusion.

X-Men was bundled alongside a slew of similar art-styled shows that eventually
bit the dust due to similar reasons, from Spiderman the Animated Series to
Fantastic Four, it seemed as though the cartoon iterations born in the ’90s were
being left to distant memory.

Thankfully, that would not be its destiny. After years of pitch meetings behind
the scenes, Disney had greenlit the revival: X-Men 97.

Emerging from the ashes like a literal phoenix, the series has garnered praise
from critics and fans alike. We have been treated to a display of craftsmanship and care for its source material that’s extremely evident in its execution.

The road to revival has been one plagued with all manner of roadblocks, yet the
outcome of this team effort has been nothing short of miraculous. Despite many
changes to the script, scope, and overall trajectory, the show has been able to
hit the ground running and show that it has every bit of relevance now as it did
in 1997.

X-Men ’97 is now available to stream on Disney+.

Julian Cooper

Hails from Sunny Los Angeles. Enjoyer of all things animated and only held back by a crippling caffeine addiction.