X-Men ’97 is as Classic as it Gets

The revival of the fan-favourite series doesn’t skip a beat.

Reader Rating0 Votes
Strong characterisation which doesn't require a watch of the original
Great action with sequences sure to give fans a kick
Interesting direction with iconic storylines
Can we get a Spider-Man one, now?
The animation feels... cheap(-ish)
Staying loyal to the original may not work with new fans
The 'Ew' is in reference to 'New', as in 'New X-Men' which was... ew.

Revivals are a scary business. How best do you capture the tone of an original series while also keeping it fresh for a newer audience? Do you reinvent something for the sake of exploring new ideas, or keep it familiar for the sake of preservation? And, even worse, what if it was something as definitive as it is beloved?

And, yet, Disney+’s X-Men ‘97, a revival of the ‘90s animated series which ran from 1992 to 1997, is as close to perfection as it can get. While there are some differences, the series does its best to retain the tone, look, and even the storytelling style of the original, and is successful for the most part.


While the series is named X-Men ‘97 in reference to picking up from when the previous series ended, there is a somewhat significant jump forward in events. Where the riginal run concluded with Professor Xavier leaving Earth with Princess Lilandra of the Shi’ar Empire, X-Men ‘97 picks up shortly after his supposed death… c’mon, guys, it’s the X-Men! Who the hell stays dead?!

The status quo is definitely different, with the dual burdens of field-leadership and mentorship now falling solely on Cyclops, who is also a father-to-be. (Yeah, we all know how that’s gonna go.) Also further mixing things up, Morph is now back on the team and he isn’t the only ex-X-enemy joining the roster–even in death, Xavier’s decisions continue to impact the team and his lesson plan doesn’t seem to have ended yet.


More intriguingly, even within the first three episodes, X-Men ‘97 sets-up a fair number of plot threads comic fans would find familiar. From the usual status of the mohawked Sorm, to the dark truth behind Scott’s and Jean’s child(ren), to the (very disturbing) link between Rogue and Magneto, X-Men ‘97 doesn’t shy away from the traditional drama-laden story-telling patterns of Marvel’s most convoluted team.

This especially bold/risky move seems to be served by Disney’s confidence in the series, with a second season already having been written and a third in development. In addition to adapting some of the more popular arcs of the ‘80s and ‘90s, X-Men ‘97 also seems to be laying the groundwork for its own franchise build with hints to a possible Generation X/New Mutants spin-off.

The best part of X-Men ‘97 is that it doesn’t require much advanced reading. While remembering the original ‘92 series would most certainly be a bonus, ‘97 opens rather independently. And familiarity with the comics would essentially give fans an almost prescient experience, with plot points being telegraphed from a mile away–but still truly satisfying to see in action.


‘90s-inspired costumes? Check. Adaptations of classic stories? Check. Extended cameos of lesser-known characters? Check. Corny dialogue still somehow sounding pretty badass? Check. Scott shouting “JEEEEAAN!” as she re-visits her traditional state of unconsciousness?

Not quite yet, but just give it some time.

X-Men ‘97 hits Disney+ 20th March with a two-episode premiere, and is more than just your typical nostalgia-filled walk down memory lane.