Every Character Confirmed For The MCU's X-Men '97

While San Diego Comic-Con 2022 didn't reveal anything about the MCU's live-action X-Men, it did confirm the returning characters for 2023's X-Men '97. The animated series is a revival of the beloved X-Men show that ran for five seasons between 1992 - 1997. It adapted many of the classic Chris Claremont and John Byrne stories like "The Phoenix Saga" and "Days of Future Past" for a Saturday morning cartoons audience.

As hinted by the name, X-Men '97 will pick up where the original animated series left off, with the original voice cast reprising their roles and taking the opportunity to adapt many more classic X-Men storylines from decades worth of comics. The Comic-Con panel didn't give much away in terms of storylines but revealed that many of the best-loved characters from the 90s X-Men show would return for the new series.


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The Disney+ X-Men revival will stream in the summer of 2023, just over 26 years since the final X-Men episode aired in March 1997. The key change in the X-Men '97 line-up suggests that it will immediately pick up from the devastating events of X-Men, season 5, episode 14, "Graduation Day." The final episode saw a dying Professor Xavier transported to the Shi'ar empire, promising that his spirit will always be with his X-Men. Charles Xavier was notably absent from the X-Men '97 panel, with his old rival Magneto leading the X-Men in his stead.


Magneto in the original X-Men animated series and Magneto's return in X-Men '97

Following the wishes of his former friend, Charles Xavier, Magneto will lead the X-Men in X-Men '97. In the early images revealed at San Diego Comic-Con, he will be sporting the costume from when he joined forces with the X-Men in the comics after the events of Secret Wars. Magneto was the main villain in the original X-Men animated series, but he was a complex character who ended the series by turning his back on his war against humanity to save his former friend Charles Xavier. In the comics, Magneto honored Charles' wishes and vision by becoming the headmaster of the New Mutants, a role that was defined by multiple disastrous encounters with the Hellfire Club, leading Magneto to renounce his attempts to fulfill the wishes of X-Men's Professor X. With Mr. Sinister and the Hellfire Club confirmed to replace Magneto as the big bad of X-Men '97, it's entirely possible that the show will be adapting this arc.

Mr. Sinister

Mr. Sinister appears in X-Men: The Animated Series.

Mr. Sinister appeared in multiple episodes of the original X-Men animated series and will take on a substantial villainous role in X-Men '97. As detailed in The X-Men season 5, episode 13, "Descent," Sinister was originally the brilliant Victorian scientist Nathaniel Essex, an acquaintance of Charles Xavier's ancestor, James. Like Magneto, Mr. Sinister battled against the X-Men in the original cartoon, hell-bent on creating a superior world. Sinister's connection to Xavier and unique worldview make him the perfect foil for Headmaster Magneto and his team in X-Men '97.


Wolverine pops his claws in Days Of Futures Past animated TV episode.

As audiences eagerly speculate about the casting of the MCU's Wolverine, the original animated Wolverine will make a comeback in X-Men '97. He'll also be sporting the iconic yellow and blue spandex costume and cowl from the comics and the original animated series. As one of Marvel's most popular characters, there's still a wealth of Wolverine stories for X-Men '97 to adapt to screen.

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Cyclops from X-Men: The Animated Series returns for X-Men '97

As Charles Xavier's right-hand man, Scott Summers, AKA Cyclops, will likely form an interesting dynamic with the new X-Men leader Magneto. It could even rival his fraught relationship with Wolverine from the original animated series. If there's any ambiguity about Magneto's intentions in inheriting Xavier's school, then Cyclops will likely be his biggest critic.

Jean Grey

Jean Grey to return in X-Men 97

Jean Grey will reform X-Men's Marvel mutants' love triangle between Cyclops and Wolverine when she returns for X-Men '97. The original X-Men animated series memorably tackled Jean's biggest story from the comics, The Phoenix Saga and Dark Phoenix Saga, which formed most of X-Men season 3. However, there is still scope for future Jean Grey stories in X-Men '97, such as her status as an Omega-level mutant with psychic potential, a revelation that puts her at odds with her husband, Scott. The presence of Mr. Sinister as the big bad also opens up the possibility of tackling the Jean clone/Madeline Pryor arc, which led to the Marvel crossover event Inferno in 1989.


Beast returns in X-Men '97 cartoon series

Beast was another founder member of the original X-Men and a member of the Avengers. He was a much-loved character in the animated series, which suited the iconic blue furry design of Hank McCoy's unique mutation. Both an intellectual and a fearsome fighter, Beast gave confidence to a generation of more studious children in the 1990s and can do the same again in X-Men '97. 


Gambit returns in Marvel's X-Men '97

Gambit has been notably absent in the multiple live-action X-Men movies that followed the end of the animated series in 1997, with only a single appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, played by Taylor Kitsch. A planned Channing Tatum-fronted Gambit movie was eventually abandoned, and the character didn't feature in any of Fox's later X-Men movies. He was a hugely popular character in the original animated series, so the possibility for more adventures for Gambit will be appealing to a nostalgic audience.

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Rogue stands near a brick wall in X-Men: The Animated Series.

Gambit's beloved Rogue will also return for X-Men '97, another memorable character from the original 90s series. Rogue's energy-sapping mutation led to an inability to form physical bonds with others which defined her character in the animated series, comics, and movies. Like Wolverine, Rogue played a substantial role in the first three Fox X-Men movies, concluding with her decision to "cure" her mutation in X-Men: The Last Stand. In later comics, Rogue was stranded in the Savage Land and taken in by Magneto, believing him to be a noble man. His murderous actions disavowed her of this notion, and she turned her back on him. With Magneto replacing Xavier, a similar dynamic between the pair could feature in X-Men '97.


Jubilee and Wolverine in X-Men: The Animated Series, returning for X-Men '97

Wolverine and Rogue's paternal relationship in the X-Men movies was reminiscent of his relationship with Jubilee in the 90s X-Men show. Jubilee was also the audience identification figure, introducing them to Xavier's school through her eyes following an attack by the Sentinels. Jubilee will be an established member of the team in X-Men '97 and can be a mentor to newer additions to the team.


Storm is another integral X-Men member who's returning for X-Men '97. Unlike her colleagues, whose looks are unchanged from their 90s costumes, Storm has had a subtle change. Her hair better reflects the iconic mohawk look from the comics. While Magneto was in charge of the X-Men in the comics, Storm suggested that they join the Hellfire Club in an attempt to better protect the mutants from humankind. It's entirely possible that an adaptation of this storyline will feature in X-Men '97.

The Hellfire Club

X-Men Hellfire Club

The Hellfire Club's Inner Circle previously appeared in X-Men season 3's Phoenix Saga, headed by Black King Sebastian Shaw and White Queen Emma Frost. Both characters have been confirmed to appear in X-Men '97. They were positioned alongside Mr. Sinister, Morlock leader Callisto and government agent Val Cooper, suggesting that the Inner Circle will play an antagonistic role in the series.

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Callisto and Storm do battle in The Uncanny X-Men

The leader of the underground group of mutant outcasts, the Morlocks, Callisto, has had a complex relationship with the X-Men over the years. She lost her Morlock throne to Storm in X-Men season 1, episode 5, "Captive Hearts," an adaptation of Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1, #170. Agents of Mr. Sinister later wiped out the Morlocks in 1986's Mutant Massacre event. The return of Callisto and the tease of Mr. Sinister as X-Men '97s big bad suggests Mutant Massacre could be X-Men '97's best adaptation.

Val Cooper

Val Cooper and X-Force

Val Cooper is a National Security Adviser with special concern for mutant affairs. After her failures with the Freedom Project in the comics, Cooper recruited several X-Men for a government-backed team of mutants known as X-Factor. It's been teased that Val has an agenda that will become clearer as X-Men '97 proceeds, suggesting that the show may depict the origins of X-Factor on-screen.


Forge in X-Men: The Animated Series

In the comics, Forge was a key member of Cooper's Freedom Project and eventually succeeded her as X-Factor leader. He's previously appeared in two episodes of X-Men as leader of the X-Factor, who had already been established off-screen. Forge is confirmed to return in X-Men '97, which could delve deeper into the origins of X-Factor or further explore their work with the government.


Cable and Beast in X-Men: The Animated Series

Cable first appeared in X-Men as a mercenary who helped Gambit free the imprisoned mutants in season 1, episode 7, "Slave Island." He later appeared as a time traveler from the future, whose team X-Force fought valiantly against Apocalypse. In the comics, Cable is the adult son of Scott Summers and Jean Grey clone Madelyne Pryor, an aspect of the character's backstory that hasn't yet been explored on-screen.

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Bishop in X-Men: The Animated Series

Another futuristic mutant making his return in X-Men '97 is Bishop. The time traveler appeared throughout the original X-Men animated series, traveling back in time to avert the rise of the Sentinels, stop the creation of an anti-mutant virus, and protect the life of Charles Xavier. What brings Bishop back to the X-Men '97 timeline is yet to be revealed, but his failed mission to foil Legion's attempted assassination of Magneto and the resulting Age of Apocalypse could be adapted for the revival show.


Morph in X-Men: The Animated Series

Morph was Wolverine's closest friend, killed off in X-Men season 1, episode 2, "Night of the Sentinels, Part Two." The character later returned from the dead, his bitterness at having been left behind by the X-Men manipulated by Mr. Sinister for his own ends. Morph eventually defeated Sinister's mind control, saved his friends, and left the X-Men when he felt he wasn't ready to be a hero. He may now be prepared to return in X-Men '97, resuming his place on the team.


Nightcrawler in X-Men: The Animated Series

Nightcrawler appeared in a handful of X-Men episodes and will return in X-Men '97. The son of Mystique and foster brother of Rogue, X-Men's Nightcrawler was last seen in season 4, episode 7, "Bloodlines," in which he teams up with Wolverine, Rogue, and Jubilee to rescue Mystique from the Friends of Humanity. Nightcrawler believes Mystique to be dead after their battle with the Friends of Humanity, setting the stage for an emotional reunion between mother and son in X-Men '97.


Sunspot to appear in X-Men '97

Sunspot was never featured in the original X-Men series, but the character has been confirmed to appear in X-Men '97. Brazilian teenager Robert Da Costa gets his name Sunspot from his solar-powered super-speed and strength. Sunspot was a member of the New Mutants, created by Chris Claremont in 1982. Given Claremont's huge influence on the 90s X-Men series, it's hardly surprising that X-Men '97 will be introducing members of the New Mutants team. When Professor X was near death in the 1986 comics, Magneto took responsibility as Head Master of the New Mutants. With Magneto doing the same in X-Men '97, it suggests that the upcoming animated revival will introduce these 80s New Mutants strips to a new audience, just as the original series did for the X-Men comics in the 90s.

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About The Author Mark Donaldson (148 Articles Published)

Mark Donaldson is a freelance movie and TV features writer for ScreenRant, a podcaster, and a film programmer. Born in Scotland but living in the North of England, Mark has an eclectic love of both television and movies. His taste in movies is all-encompassing, spanning over half a century of blockbuster popcorn fare of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, arthouse cinema, obscure archival movies from around the world, and everything in between.On TV his tastes range from gritty prestige dramas like The Sopranos and The Wire to the hopeful sci-fi optimism of Star Trek and Doctor Who. This love of Doctor Who fandom has formed lifelong friendships and sparked the unaffiliated podcast On the Time Lash. As a politically aware arts student, Mark loves to analyze movies and TV shows, drawing connections between media and the context of the wider world. His SR highlight so far has been his comedy hero Tim Heidecker sharing his article about the cultural relevance of Heidecker's villain role in Killing It.

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