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X-Men '97 Release Window, Cast, Writer And More Details

Rejoice, fans of Marvel's merry mutants: The beloved '90s cartoon "X-Men: The Animated Series" is returning in the form "X-Men '97," a Disney+ streaming series. The original show made a major mark on '90s kids all around the world with its bold animation, dramatic storytelling, and innovative adaptation of the original comics. Years later, it still remains a topic of discussion and inspires critical acclaim. This is especially impressive, given its rather tumultuous time on air. Suffice it to say, TV execs weren't always kind to "X-Men: The Animated Series"; it had to fight for every single dramatic plot point it portrayed.

Now, all that strife is behind us, and we can look forward to a future full of animated X-Men goodness. But what will "X-Men '97" actually be about? Will it further the original series' storyline? Will it update the visuals to reflect modern aesthetics, or will it stick to the classic look? We're here to answer all those questions, and more. This is everything you need to know about "X-Men '97."

When will X-Men '97 be released?

"X-Men '97" doesn't yet have a hard and fast release date. It does, however, have a rough release window: early 2024. This wasn't always the case — "X-Men '97" was originally scheduled to debut in fall 2023. But then, Disney decided to put the brakes on its speeding train of streaming projects, delaying many of them a year or two into the future. Moreover, the strikes currently bringing Hollywood to a standstill have taken a toll.

Some fans might be disappointed in these delays. Others might be worried more are coming. While that may indeed come to pass, we should all take heart in the enthusiasm Disney clearly has for this series. Moreover, while early 2024 isn't fall 2023, it's not too far away. Fans have already waited decades for more animated X-Men — what's a few more months?

What is the plot of X-Men '97?

"X-Men: The Animated Series" ends on a complicated note. The mutants are enduring the sudden absence of Professor X, who has become ill and been taken to the Shi'ar empire to find a cure. In the wake of his departure, the team brokers an uneasy alliance with Magneto. As creator Beau DeMayo told The Direct, "X-Men '97" begins from this open-ended moment. "We're gonna be picking up about several months after Professor X left Earth after being shot by Henry Gyrich and had to return to the Shi'ar homeworld to be with Lilandra," DeMayo explained. "And what ends up happening is that assassination attempt has led to this wave of increased sympathy towards mutants and understanding."

This reaction catches the X-Men off guard. Some, like Storm and Cyclops, want to use this support to further Professor X's vision of harmony. Others, like Jean Grey, Gambit, and Rogue, begin to question their way of life entirely. Perhaps most shockingly of all, Magneto's turn for the ethical seems to stick. The question facing them all is simultaneously simple and hugely complex: How should they head into their future? 

Philosophy isn't the only conundrum facing them though — they've also got bad guys to fight. DeMayo specifically names Mister Sinister, a longtime X-Men foe, as a major antagonist. A leaked Funko Pop, which will be exclusive to New York Comic-Con, has revealed another upcoming villain: Madelyne Pryor, aka the Goblin Queen. This makes a lot of sense; Madelyne, who is a clone of Jean Grey, was created by Mister Sinister.

Who is starring in X-Men '97?

One of the most exciting aspects of "X-Men '97" is the fact that much of the original "X-Men: The Animated Series" cast will be returning to star in it. Series staples Cal Dodd (Wolverine), Lenore Zann (Rogue), George Buza (Beast), Alison Sealey-Smith (Storm), and Chris Britton (Mister Sinister) are all set to return. They'll work alongside newer cast members, like Jennifer Hale (Jean Grey) and Ray Chase (Cyclops), both of whom are well-regarded for their voice-over work.

Notably, these characters might look a bit different than fans remember. As original series showrunner Eric Lewald told ComicBook.com, "[The show's visual design is] the same but slightly modernized, slightly a bit more beautiful." We're willing to bet they won't have changed that much — "'97" is in the title, after all, and '90s fashion is all the rage once more — but a certain amount of visual tweaking will be evident. Here's hoping Rogue gets to keep her fluffy '90s 'do.

Who is writing X-Men '97?

Beau DeMayo is the mastermind of "X-Men '97," serving as the series' creator, executive producer, and head writer. DeMayo's credits are impressive and varied. He's served as a writer on "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds," "Moon Knight," "The Witcher," and "The Originals." He also acted as a producer on a number of those projects. DeMayo won't be acting alone — in fact, the original cartoon's showrunners, Eric and Julia Lewald, and the series director, Larry Houston, will be on hand as consultants.

While revivals like this sometimes cause friction between the old and new creators, this doesn't seem to be the case with "X-Men '97." In fact, the old guard seems downright excited. "They want it to be an extension [of the original cartoon]," noted Eric Lewald (via ComicBook.com). "Whoever it is doing this new show is going to make it their own, no matter who is involved in it. There is great love and affection and respect from an entire group of people that are doing this show, starting at the top with Beau DeMayo, who's the showrunner." Now that sounds like a winning formula.