X-Men ’97 Season 2 Is More Important Than The MCU X-Men

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

x-men '97

Now that the X-Men ‘97 Season 1 finale has proven to be an unqualified hit, fans can barely contain their excitement for season 2. This awesome show has been great for the fandom, but in a weird way, it might prove to be a mutant albatross around Marvel’s neck. That’s because of the simple fact that most fans consider the next season of these animated adventures to be far, far more important the eventual introduction of the live-action X-Men into the MCU.

How Can We Trust Feige?

It’s admittedly a bold claim, so why do I think X-Men ‘97 season 2 is more important than the X-Men’s MCU debut? For one thing, this cartoon is a known and proven quantity: the first season was better than any of us could have anticipated, and there is no reason to think that the next season won’t take this show to even greater heights.

The inevitable X-Men MCU film is very much an unknown quantity, and after delivering stinkers like Quantumania and The Marvels, there is (I’m genuinely sad to say) every reason to think that Kevin Feige and crew are going to screw this up.

MCU X-Men Will Be Endlessly Compared To Previous Films

x-men 97 star trek

On a related note, the X-Men’s MCU debut is quite likely to suffer from comparisons to movies that have come before. There have obviously been awful X-Men films (including Dark Phoenix and New Mutants), but the best of these films (including X2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Logan) have redefined the entire superhero genre.

Even a decent MCU X-Men debut will probably fall more than a little short of these fantastic films, but X-Men ‘97 season 2 has nowhere to go but up because of its excellent debut season.

X-Men ’97 Came From The Best

magneto x-men 97

You see, X-Men ‘97 doesn’t suffer from comparison to earlier works because it is already based on the best X-Men cartoon ever made (sorry, X-Men: Evolution fans, but you know this to be true).

The show has already taken the very best of the original X-Men: The Animated Series show and given our favorite characters more nuance and depth even as it elevated the storylines with the complexity that its mostly adult audience demands. 

The MCU X-Men Can’t Replicate The Cartoon’s Success

X-Men ‘97 season 2 is on track to take all of this to the next level, but it’s a coin toss as to whether the X-Men MCU can channel the best of earlier films. At the current rate, it’s far likelier to focus on the forced comedy and cringe crossovers that have made the MCU mostly awful.

Where Did All These Mutants Come From?

Another problem with the live-action X-Men MCU debut that most fans haven’t considered (I’m just built different, y’all) is that we will need a narrative explanation for how and why a cinematic universe that previously had no mutants in it is suddenly crawling with superpowered characters who have been alive longer than the original “I am Iron Man” declaration

. In all likelihood, this is going to involve some change to the timeline or even a dimensional reset, one we are most likely to see in Deadpool & Wolverine

X-Men ’97 Just Has To Stay On Course

Therefore, even if the MCU X-Men movie is good by MCU standards, the film will be part of a very different MCU that may turn off longtime fans. By comparison, X-Men ‘97 doesn’t have to deal with any such changes going into season 2 (and kudos to them for not using time travel to undo major plot points like the attack on Genosha).

To sum things up, for this next season to be a success, it just has to continue doing what it’s been doing; the live-action X-Men film, though,  will have to be dramatically better than the recent MCU offerings, and I’m just not confident that’s going to happen.

The Live-Action X-Men Don’t Stand A Chance

For the record, I’m not just some MCU hater, and I’ll happily eat my words along with a slice of humble pie if we get both a killer X-Men MCU debut and a thrilling X-Men ‘97 season 2. But the success of this animated show seems to be a reminder that “superhero fatigue” isn’t really a things–fans just want their tights and flights stories to be decently-written instead of CGI slogs through predictable plots.

Until the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets its act together again, the live-action X-Men are going to encounter a world that hates and fears them not for their fantastic abilities but for being part of just another MCU bomb.

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