Disney+'s X-Men '97 Series Reveals New Leader And Nostalgic Characters For Marvel's First Big Return To Mutants

X-Men: The Animated Series promotional artwork of Wolverine, Gambit and Rogue
(Image credit: Marvel)

Following Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Marvel Studios finally has access to the X-Men. This allowed the Earth-838 version of Professor X to appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and there are plans for mutants to take center stage in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the comings years. Ahead of that though, Marvel Studios is putting together X-Men ’97, a continuation of the ‘90s X-Men animated series, and today new information about the upcoming Marvel TV show for Disney+ was unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con, including who will be leading the superhero team this time around and the other nostalgic characters appearing.

First things first: although Professor X is typically depicted as the X-Men’s leader, and naturally filled that role during X-Men: The Animated Series, that position will be filled by Magneto in X-Men ’97. Although Magneto chiefly served as an antagonist in the original show, he also aided the X-Men on numerous occasions, so it’ll be interesting to see what circumstances lead to him officially commanding the team in this universe. Magneto will also rock long hair and a uniform reminiscent of the one from Uncanny X-Men #200 (which had a giant M) in X-Men ’97.

Looking to the wider cast of X-Men ’97’s characters, fans will of course be reuniting with most, if not all of the starring protagonists from the original series, including Rogue, Beast, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Jubilee and Storm, the latter of whom now has a not-quite-mohawk hairstyle. Other familiar heroes back for X-Men ’97 are Nightcrawler, Cable, Bishop, Forge and Morph, and this show will also bring in Roberto da Costa, a.k.a. Sunspot. On the villains front, Mister Sinister is serving as X-Men ’97’s main antagonist, with head writer Beau DeMayo saying that the character is “back in a big way.” We’ll also see White Queen, Sebastian Shaw, Callisto, and Val Cooper, the latter of whom has “an agenda” that will slowly be revealed in X-Men ’97, and DeMayo bluntly stated we shouldn’t trust her.

As for the look and feel of X-Men ’97, Beau DeMayo said during the Marvel Animation panel (where it was revealed that Charlie Cox is reprising Daredevil for Spider-Man: Freshman Year) that the show will be a “big soap opera” like the original, and aside from some minor tweaks, the established characters from X-Men: The Animated Series basically look the same. While no X-Men ’97 animation is complete yet, an animatic of Rogue, Wolverine and the other X-Men fighting a Sentinel, and it was noted that one of this series big themes will be "Why do we still need the X-Men?" Because it’s been literally decades since X-Men: The Animated Series finished its run, it’s understandably recommended that fans refresh their memory on that show before X-Men ’97 comes along. In fact, Disney+ subscribers will find that X-Men: The Animated Series’ episodes are now in the original story order on the platform, which will make binging this saga a lot easier to follow.

Last, but definitely not least, not only was it announced that X-Men ’97 will premiere on Disney+ sometime in fall 2023, but a second season has also been greenlit. CinemaBlend will share more updates on X-Men ’97’s progress in the months ahead.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.