X-Men ’97 Starting A New Marvel Universe?

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

x-men '97

For better or for worse, one of Disney’s most profitable ideas was to begin relentlessly translating their beloved animated films into live-action adaptations. Now, it seems, the company is applying this logic in reverse when it comes to creating a profitable shared universe. Even as the Marvel Cinematic Universe loses steam in the face of inevitable audience superhero fatigue, there are rumors the success of the X-Men ‘97 cartoon has prompted the creation of a Marvel animated universe based on the company’s popular animated series from the 1990s.

Nothing Confirmed By Kevin Feige Or Disney… Yet

It’s important to stress that right now, these rumors of a burgeoning Marvel animated universe haven’t been confirmed by Kevin Feige or anyone else at Disney. Because of this, we don’t yet know what such a shared universe would look like, much less what cartoons would be part of it. As huge fans of Marvel’s ‘90s shows, though, we can tell you that Disney has plenty of material to choose from.

X-Men Wasn’t The Only Popular Marvel Cartoon In The ’90s

Obviously,  the most popular Marvel show in the ‘90s was X-Men: The Animated Series, and strong fan love for this show is what led to the animated revival X-Men ‘97. Another popular program at the time was Spider-Man: The Animated Series, a show that created an entirely new generation of Spidey fans and is likeliest to get its own revival. Other Marvel shows in this decade included a team-based Fantastic Four show and solo shows for Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk.

Fantastic Four Is A Good Starting Point

With all that said, how would Marvel most likely approach a shared animated universe? As mentioned above, we are likely to see, at the bare minimum, a Spider-Man revival that would open the door for cameos and crossovers between those shows. Depending on fan response to the upcoming live-action Fantastic Four, that property is the next likeliest to get a revival, and such a show would be the perfect way to have frequent cameos featuring Hulk and Iron Man.

An Answer To Live-Action’s Biggest Problems

We’re likely getting ahead of ourselves in excitement over Marvel’s potential animated universe, but if Disney goes through with this idea, we could also have season-length major crossover events featuring all (or at least most) of the heroes. How cool would it be if we got an animated Secret Wars or Secret Invasion? Even cooler, we could have an animated version of the World  World War Hulk event that Marvel refuses to give us in live-action.

A Lot Of Pressure On X-Men ’97

Unfortunately, the prospect of a Marvel animated universe puts even more pressure on X-Men ‘97 to stay successful. So far, the show has almost universally won over the fandom, and segments of the audience are now much more invested in the growing universe of these animated characters rather than the stale and stagnant Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s possible that this continuation of X-Men: The Animated Series could forever change the production of the MCU as we know it, but that’s assuming the show can maintain this same level of quality for the rest of the season.

As for us, we’d never bet against Gambit, and we’re confident that X-Men ‘97 is going to keep delivering some of the best superhero television that we’ve ever seen. That means that a Marvel animated universe could be closer than ever, leaving us with just one important question for Disney. Will someone please, please resolve the cliffhanger ending of Spider-Man: The Animated Universe before we go insane?

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