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'To Me, My X-Men': What Are We Going To Watch Now?

X-Men '97

It's Wednesday morning, and I have an emptiness in my stomach. Last night, there was no excitement for the morning, no weekly recharge of my favorite mutants. Yesterday, I wasn't able to read fan tweets predicting the next episode of my favorite cartoon. Later this afternoon, there will be no tweets from Beau DeMayo answering fan questions and providing clarity to a series that has made a resurgence. X-Men '97, I miss you. We miss you. I hope the industry is taking notes... this is how you engage an audience with nostalgia and leave them craving more.

When news first broke that Disney+ would be reviving the cult classic animated show X-Men, nostalgia hit millennials and fans of the 90s cartoon. The feeling of watching the show every Saturday morning while eating our favorite cereal caused fanfare in the months leading up to the March 20 premiere.

This isn't the first time studios have continued the series after the original ended. There have been several iterations of the cartoon, including X-Men Evolution, Wolverine and The X-Men, and even an X-Men anime. The series also boosted a lengthy X-Men live-action franchise that began in 2000.

But, with the announcement of X-Men '97, this time felt different. It could have been the community created through social media, where fans made early predictions and debated their favorite X-Men characters. Perhaps it was the curiosity of what Marvel would do with mutants now that they were finally in the MCU after the company gained the rights to include our favorite Homo sapien superior's in the multiverse. For many, it was the interesting concept of X-Men '97.

The show wasn't a reboot or a remake. Instead, X-Men '97 was the essence of a revival, continuing where the original series ended. With original voice actors returning and the story picking up just several months after the series finale, the excitement quickly turned into confusion when the show's creator and head writer, DeMayo, was fired days ahead of X-Men '97's premiere.

With few answers and a community eager to relive our childhood, yet ready to stand behind the firing of its Black creator—which many thought was unjust—the show went on. It was time.

"Da Nanana Naaaa Na Na"

The Newton Brothers' rendition of X-Men's original theme began as our favorite character's title cards appeared on our screens. I caught myself becoming overzealous watching the opening credits, which featured the same visuals, and I am sure I wasn't alone. It didn't take long for me to realize the show would be a hit.

It was the opening scene where Storm and Bishop, not Wolverine or Cyclops—who are often the main focal points—were the first X-Men we see. Our two Black superheroes were seen first and had the chance to take center stage, watched by millions.

X-Men '97

It has been over 10,080 minutes since the X-Men '97 season finale, and I'm measuring that time by eagerly waiting for season 2. It was recently announced that the second season is in the animation stage of production, which means that Marvel is moving things along. With news that the show averaged over 4 million views this season, I hope Hollywood doesn’t make us wait two years for the next season (looking at you Invincible.) The magic of X-Men '97 will not be overkill for viewers; in fact, Season 2 could premiere as soon as tomorrow and fans would be just as excited.

The stars aligned for the series. Even critics who label anything challenging their worldviews as "Woke" could not stop the show's success. Usually, fans have to fight against hateful rhetoric towards inclusivity and representation, but X-Men '97 continued and even exceeded the legacy of the X-Men—from comic book origins to animation, and live-action movies.

It was laughable how those who couldn't remember the philosophies of Charles Xavier and Magneto from their childhood became radicalized enough throughout their lives to criticize the messaging of X-Men '97. Their failure to understand the messages and themes of X-Men in adulthood—messages that were not fully comprehensible during their earlier viewings—only silenced the naysayers. The silence allowed others to fully enjoy themselves without becoming exhausted from defending the series on social media. The joke was on them.

The action was plenty, the story was heartfelt, and the relatability was at an all-time high. Magneto's quest for revenge for "his kind" meets the moment of today, where we have faced division among different groups of people. Professor Xavier's pursuit of compassion, his acknowledgment of past mistakes, and his demonstration of love and friendship exemplified the lessons of both philosophies, revealing the complexities of humanity—all leading up to the finale.

Regardless of which side was chosen, X-Men '97 explored the heart of what X-Men has always embodied, keeping us glued to Disney+ every Wednesday.


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