Is X-Men ’97 Part of the MCU?


Marvel has been a bedrock of the superhero world for over 80 years now. The company has undergone a myriad of changes since then, and is now more popular than ever thanks to the success of the MCU. During the ’60s, with the combined creative mastery of legendary Marvel writers and artists like Stan Lee himself, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko, the company experienced the Silver Age, which saw it create a wealth of now-legendary superheroes. Among the likes of Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor, that period also saw the creation of the X-Men.



It would take a further 40 years before the iconic team of mutants was finally seen in a live-action film. However, during the ’90s, fans were treated to the mesmerizing show that X-Men: The Animated Series was. It developed a huge following while becoming a nostalgia-laden part of millions of childhoods across the world. Those fans are now buzzing at the fact that X-Men ’97 is set to continue the original show. However, the decision to do so at a time when the MCU has branched out into an array of connected movies and series, has prompted many to wonder if X-Men ’97 is a part of the MCU. Stream X-Men: The Animated Series on Disney+



X-Men ’97 and the MCU

X-Men '97

X-Men ’97

Release Date
March 20, 2024

Cast
Jennifer Hale , Chris Potter , Ray Chase , George Buza , Catherine Disher , JP Karliak

Seasons
1

While the MCU may have made many of Marvel’s heroes more mainstream, the company had actually created another shared on-screen universe years before the MCU ever came about. The X-Men series, and other animated shows like Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Iron Man, and The Incredible Hulk all frequently featured crossovers and cameo appearances that made them a shared universe similar to the MCU.

With that universe, Marvel already demonstrated a proclivity and experience for building entire worlds centered on brilliant plots where the fates of their most famous characters could all intersect. Given X-Men ’97’s timing, while the MCU is still in full swing, it’s only natural to think that the show may fit into the MCU somehow, especially since the X-Men have yet to make their full debut in it. However, there’s ample evidence to suggest that it won’t affect the MCU at all.


What’s important to remember about X-Men ’97 is that it’s not a reboot of the original, but rather done more in the style of a revival, since it will be a continuation of that show. Since we know the original show took place within its own shared universe, this indicates that it will likely have no bearing on any MCU storylines. This is probably a good thing as it means the show can simply concentrate on its own continuity, without needing to connect to the MCU, which has now grown to epic proportions. It also means that X-Men ’97 could possibly be used as a launch pad to revive the animated shared universe.

Related:X-Men ‘97 First Look Revealed in Nostalgic New Trailer & Poster

Why the X-Men Series Was Chosen?


X-Men: The Animated Series was a remarkable show. While essentially just a cartoon, it featured many memorable traits that have now become iconic parts of its legacy. Between its fantastic artwork, mature storylines that were ahead of its time, and other aspects like its opening theme music that just oozed cool, the show stuck out as one that could be enjoyed by anyone, and earned the admiration of children and adults alike.

In many ways, the X-Men were always destined to be the kind of heroes who never fit neatly into conventional superhero tropes. Instead of straightforward good vs. evil notions, the franchise has always served a deeper purpose as an allegory for the horrific legacies of humanity’s most shameful behaviors, like racism, prejudice, and discrimination in general.

Given its worldwide fan base and huge cult following, the show made for the perfect choice as a revival. Its appeal is still strong, with the X-Men movies only heightening nostalgia for it. There was so much to love about it, with the show furthering the popularity of major characters like Wolverine, Cyclops, Beast, and Storm, and making icons out of its voice cast.


Those like Cal Dodd as Wolverine, Lenore Zann as Rogue, and George Buza as Beast made for unforgettable scenes, and nowadays, instantly recognizable sound bites for the age of social media. A treat for ’90s kids, X-Men ’97 is already showing signs of being a huge hit for Disney+, and we’ve so far only seen its trailer!

X-Men

X-Men

Release Date
October 31, 1992

Cast
Catherine Disher , George Buza , Alyson Court , Lally Cadeau , Alison Sealy-Smith

Seasons
5

Studio
Akom Production Company, Genesis Entertainment, Graz Entertainment

Related: Marvel Studios Confirms X-Men ’97 & Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Debut Dates on Disney+

The X-Men’s Future in the MCU


While X-Men ’97 isn’t likely to form part of the MCU, fans have also been buzzing about the characters’ full introduction to the MCU for a long time. Prior to the MCU, Marvel fragmented its ownership rights to the TV and film appearances of many of its most important characters. Fox acquired the rights for the X-Men, while Sony has held the rights to Spider-Man and his plethora of related characters for over two decades now. Those pre-MCU moves meant that, for a while, Marvel could not integrate them into the MCU.

However, as GQ explains, those decisions served an important purpose that eventually saw Marvel able to stay afloat long enough to reinvent itself with the MCU.

“The independent studio Cannon Films bought the rights to Spider-Man, tried and failed to make a Spider-Man movie, then went bankrupt; in 1996, so did Marvel. The rights to Spidey were lost in litigation until 1999, when Marvel recovered them and sold them to Sony. The success of Sony’s
Spider-Man
films, along with the Fox
X-Men
movies, helped pull Marvel out of a death-spiral in the early aughts.”


Fortunately, the success of the MCU has now made it possible for the MCU to begin integrating its famous missing characters, through films and appearances like those from Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, and as a part of partnership deals with the studios that own their rights. We’ve also already seen the likes of Professor X and Reed Richards already show up in the MCU. While Marvel already has the cast lined up for its Fantastic Four film, the MCU X-Men film will likely only be released around 2026.

Until then, Disney+ is likely going to catch some major viewing hours once X-Men 97 begins streaming. From what we’ve already seen from the trailer, it looks every bit as awesome as the original show was. We’ll have to wait longer for the X-Men to officially make their MCU debut, but until then, with the concept of the multiverse being in play, X-Men ’97 can simply be seen as an alternative universe to the one the MCU takes place in. As for us Earth-1218 inhabitants, if Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness featured a universe made of paint, it’s not a stretch to imagine that X-Men ’97 simply takes place in a universe where everyone is a cartoon.




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