Apparently X-Men '97 Using The Original Marvel Series' Classic Theme Wasn't Cheap

Cyclops, Jubilee, Wolverine and Beast in X-Men: The Animated Series
(Image credit: Marvel)

While Marvel Studios has laid the groundwork for the X-Men to be featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe through things like Professor X appearing in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel being revealed as a mutant, the production company’s first full-fledged X-Men project isn’t a live-action reboot, but rather an animated series. Marvel is reviving X-Men: The Animated Series as X-Men ’97, and along with bringing back many of the original actors, this Disney+ show will also feature the classic X-Men instrumental theme. However, being able to use that piece of music didn’t come cheap.

Eric Lewald, who developed X-Men: The Animated Series with Sidney Iwanter and Mark Edens, is serving as a creative consultant on X-Men ’97, and while appearing at Pennsylvania’s Steel City convention (via, he shared how it wasn’t easy to gain access to the original theme music for the revival. In Lewald’s words:

[The X-Men: The Animated Series theme song] wasn't a done deal necessarily when they were producing the new show. The rights were all over the place. I think a secondary person had the rights to the music, so it was a negotiation for them. Obviously, you can't do the new show without that song. But the guy selling it knew the same thing, so I'm sure it was a heavy price.

The X-Men: The Animated Series theme music was composed by Ron Wasserman, and The Newton Brothers are handling X-Men ’97’s score, with producer Beau DeMayo having previously said that the new series is “bringing back that classic '90s sound with a little bit of a modern edge.” Going off of Eric Lewald’s statement, it’s unclear if Wasserman held the rights to the classic theme or if that belonged to something like Saban Entertainment, which produced X-Men: The Animated Series with Marvel Entertainment Group. Either way, it cost Marvel Studios a pretty penny to be able to use this music, but considering how popular the theme is three decades after X-Men: The Animated Series premiered, I’d say that’s money well spent. 

It’s worth mentioning that while X-Men ’97 will feature the classic X-Men: The Animated Series theme, we’ve already heard riffs of this music in the last several months. It played when Professor X (who was wearing a green suit and sitting in a floating yellow wheelchair like his animated counterpart) showed up in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, as well as when Kamala Khan learned from her friend Bruno that she had a special mutation in the Ms. Marvel finale. As far as X-Men ’97 as a whole goes, the returning voice cast includes Cathal J. Dodd, Lenore Zann, George Buza, Catherine Disher, Chris Potter, Alison Sealy-Smith, Christopher Britton, along with newcomers like Jennifer Hale, Anniwaa Buachie, Ray Chase, Matthew Waterson, JP Karliak, Holly Chou, Jeff Bennett and A. J. Locascio. The revival will see Magneto taking over as the X-Men’s leader and Mister Sinister serving as the main antagonist.

X-Men ’97 will premiere sometime in late 2023 to Disney+ subscribers, and a second season has already been greenlit. Folks who have access to the Mouse House’s streaming service can watch all of X-Men: The Animated Series now to their heart’s content.

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.