X-Men ‘97 Is Going to Give the MCU a Big Problem if It Succeeds

By Shanna Mathews-Mendez | Published

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Fans of the X-Men franchise from the 1990s and 2000s are understandably concerned about a reboot of the much beloved films as the Marvel Cinematic Universe moves forward. Now that Disney owns Fox and Marvel, it can bring characters originally imagined on screen by Fox into the MCU. But with X-Men ‘97 soon to release on Disney+, the live action reboot may hfind itself unable to live up to the cartoon. 

The Original X-Men Films Filled A Void

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X-Men: The Animated Series helped make the X-Men one of the most popular superhero franchises. Then, in 2000, the first live action film blew away the competition.

The Batman movies were dying out, unable to hang onto a single actor to portray the caped crusader. Once Michael Keaton left the role, Val Kilmer and George Clooney paled in comparison.

The Blade films did okay, and The Crow had its own cult following. But the 90s gave us mostly flops like Steel and Spawn. In light of these dismal films, X-Men was a breath of fresh air. 

X-Men ’97

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X-Men ‘97 looks to follow in the footsteps of these giants, both the 1992 animated series and the films produced by Fox. Fox was able to successfully build on the kids show from 1992 to create films that are still watchable today. The question now is whether Marvel will be able to reproduce this same success with the upcoming film franchise.

Big Shoes To Fill

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In the original films, we had amazing narrative arcs, deep emotions, and phenomenal actors like Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Halle Berry leading the cast. Then, in 2011, X-Men: First Class brought with it still more stars in the form of James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence, to name only a few.

The stories were compelling, the acting was stellar, and the direction was perfect. Now, with X-Men ‘97 streaming on Disney+ on March 20, how can a new live action series hope to succeed? 

We Have No Idea About What’s Coming

Fans are already thrilled about X-Men ‘97 having the same voice actors as the original series and picking up right where the original left off. It will even have the same theme song! The animated series dealt with social issues many Americans responded to — religion, divorce, the AIDS hysteria, loneliness, and, of course, being a misfit.

Throughout the five seasons, the team, consisting of the usual suspects — Cyclops, Wolverine, Professor X, Storm, Beast, Jean Grey, Rogue, and more — battle Magneto’s forces, Mister Sinister, and the Dark Phoenix. 

The series left off with the team facing an unknown future without the guidance of Professor X. X-Men ‘97 will return to let us know just what that future looks like. The films, in contrast, are still in limbo in terms of storyline. Most fans will be more than familiar with the Fox films and clinging to their beloved characters and storylines.

We’ll likely rewatch all of our past favorites in preparation for what’s to come. 

How Will The MCU X-Men Be Introduced?

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Which leaves us wondering how Marvel plans to introduce a whole new line of X-Men. Will they simply remake the early films? Will they bring the X-Men into the MCU in Avengers: Secret Wars as a lead up to the new films?

We seem to be closing out the old guard with Hugh Jackman’s upcoming appearance in Deadpool & Wolverine, so are we getting X-Men from a different dimension?

How Can Marvel Compete?

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All of these possibilities, and more, are feasible, but here’s the big problem: if X-Men ‘97 is a resounding success, as it looks like it will be, that success could mean trouble for future films in the form of big shoes to fill. The 1992 series was a success and it led to successful films. Fans will expect a repeat of the 90s and 2000s, which makes for seemingly impossible odds. Can Marvel manage to duplicate Fox’s process?

We will be not unreasonably crushed if the MCU does not come through with blockbuster X-Men films to rival Guardians of the Galaxy and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man epic franchises, not to mention the original X-Men films. Here’s hoping X-Men ‘97 acts as a herald for great films to follow it and not disappointments to be swept under the rug. 

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