X-Men ’97 Proves It’s Big Enough To Be Its Own MCU 

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

While Marvel has largely been flailing at the box office lately, X-Men ‘97 has been breathing new life into the old “House of Ideas.” The success of that show has had fans all over the world asking if and when this animated series can officially become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

However, some killer character cameos in the recent episode “Bright Eyes” prove that the show is big enough to be its own MCU and doesn’t need to be connected to the live-action universe.

X-Men ‘97’s Bright Eyes

This X-Men ‘97 episode directly follows up on the tragic Sentinel attack on Genosha that claimed the lives of so many mutants, including Gambit.

We see a funeral for the ragin’ cajun early on, and Jubilee is particularly surprised that Rogue (the Queen of Hearts to Gambit’s Ace of Spades) isn’t there to pay her respects.

It turns out Rogue is using her considerable mutant strength to attack a top-secret American military base in search of answers to who was behind the Sentinel attack. And that brings us to our first major cameo.

General Ross And Jubilee

Deep in the base’s underground depths, we see that General Ross is in charge. As longtime Marvel fans know, he’s always been a major antagonist of the Hulk.

He even casually drops Hulk’s name by saying that this base was designed to contain the Hulk and should therefore be able to keep Rogue out…a reassuring notion that the mutant immediately shatters by breaking into Ross’s underground bunker.

Oh, And Captain America Too

X-Men '97

If this episode had stopped at confirming that both General Ross and Hulk are part of this X-Men ‘97 universe, I would have been happier than Jubilee at the arcade.

Incredibly, though, Rogue’s one-woman crusade brings her face-to-face with Captain America. I half hoped we were about to get an animated version of the Unity Squad from the comics.

But after Cap verifies he can’t help Rogue invade Mexico City while wearing the red, white, and blue and will later lead his team there, she flies away in an angry huff.

X-Men ’97 Is Its Own MCU

X-Men '97

As you can see, X-Men ‘97 has quickly proven big enough to be its own MCU. We already know this animated universe has Hulk and Captain America in it, and the “team” Cap mentions is almost certainly the Avengers.

Plus, Spider-Man makes a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo in the original X-Men: The Animated Series. And the mutants popped up in his solo show, confirming that everybody’s favorite web-head has always been part of the X-Men’s animated universe.

The Gang’s All Here

X-Men '97

In other words, the gang’s all here: X-Men ‘97 is a universe that we have confirmed includes Spider-Man, Hulk, and Captain America.

Cap obliquely references the Avengers when he mentions his team, giving the writers and animators the chance to bring in any and all members of this superhero team.

Incidentally, the original show already gave us the animated incarnations of Avengers members Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, and Morph assumed Quicksilver’s form in “Bright Eyes”.

With all of these great characters already occupying a fan-favorite animated universe, we are left with a simple question: why would Marvel ever want to make X-Men ‘97 part of the MCU?

Marvel Gets To Do Both

X-Men '97

As it stands now, Marvel and Disney get to have it both ways: X-Men ‘97 is already rejuvenating interest in the Marvel brand, and it’s likely going to be a content machine and merchandising juggernaut (sit down, Cain Marko, I’m not talking about you!) for years to come.

That fuels interest in upcoming live-action MCU endeavors like Daredevil: Born Again. Instead of making these animated X-Men part of the MCU, Kevin Feige gets to sit back and watch Disney+ subscriber numbers tick upward.

This is while fan reaction to X-Men ‘97 gives him a better idea of what to do and what to avoid with the next live-action X-Men film. 

Stand Apart From The MCU

X-Men '97

Plus, it might seem a bit blasphemous to hardcore Marvel fans, but the truth is that superhero fatigue has transformed the MCU into an albatross that could only doom X-Men ‘97 by dragging it into the muck of failed films like The Marvels.

The show has grown big enough to be its own MCU, and it’s doing just fine without being attached to the various live-action films and shows. Speaking for myself, I’m going to keep eating every new episode up with all the passion of a mall babe eating chili fries.

robert downey jr

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