This X-Men ’97 article contains spoilers.

Cue that iconic theme tune because X-Men ‘97 has us squeezing back into our colorful spandex once again. It’s been nearly 27 years since “Graduation Day” saw X-Men: The Animated Series bow out in style, and while Fox’s X-Men movies and the Marvel Cinematic Universe have changed how we see Charles Xavier’s Gifted Youngsters, it feels good to be home with this nostalgic cartoon caper. 

Picking up events several months after the season finale seemingly closed the book on X-Men: The Animated Series, the class of ‘97 is still living in the shadow of Professor X’s “death” in the two-part series premiere. Morph and Bishop are on the team and in the credits, while Magneto has had an apparent change of heart, choosing to honor Charles Xavier’s final wish that he take over leadership of the mutant team.

As a refresher, X-Men: The Animated Series ended with an assassination attempt against Xavier by mutant hater Henry Gyrich, who shot Professor X with a psychic disruptor that overwhelmed his powers and put him in a coma. This wasn’t the end of the story, though. In a last-minute cliffhanger, former love interest Lilandra claimed she could save Charles. The final credits rolled as Xavier was taken to the Shi’ar homeworld, and Cyclops stepped up to lead the X-Men. But in true comic book fashion, Xavier may not be as gone as the team might think, especially if you have a look at the reimagined credits sequence for the show…

The intro for ‘X-MEN 97’ has been released.

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— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) March 20, 2024

While the first two episodes make a point to include the additional members of the team, including Bishop, Morph, and even Magneto, in the beloved intro credits, effectively updating them to reflect the current composition of the team, Professor X remains in the sequence, too. It’s odd that Xavier is still featured in the season premiere credits despite his apparent exit and he also pops up in the credits for the second episode, even after Magneto has taken over the team. In other words, the new opening seems to all but confirm a proper return for Xavier at some point in the season.

In terms of Xavier’s departure all those years ago, X-Men: The Animated Series took cues from 1985’s Uncanny X-Men #200. Unlike a psychic coma, comic book Xavier suffered a heart attack and was whisked away to Shi’ar. The same issue dealt with the “Trial of Magneto,” and just like X-Men ’97, Xavier tasked his complex friend-cum-foe with leading the next generation of mutants. This led to Magneto heading up the New Mutants. Even though we don’t see that being immediately adapted into X-Men ‘97, the introduction of New Mutants mainstay Sunspot neatly sets the stage.

The comics eventually brought Xavier back in 1991’s Uncanny X-Men #278, but with everything from the introduction of Gambit to the “Mutant Massacre” crossover happening between, he missed out on a lot. Having a largely Xavier-free season fits with the musings of executive producer Brad Winderbaum, who told The Hollywood Reporter how the character “definitely looms large in the story.” Winderbaum went on to suggest that season 1 will “look at the stories where Xavier was off the field and see how those characters reacted.” So, even if Charles is coming back from space, don’t expect it to be anytime soon. 

The Walking Deads Ross Marquand has been confirmed as the new voice of Charles Xavier in X-Men ‘97 (taking over from Cedric Smith), so the hype surrounding his casting further amps up a full-time return. Speaking to, Winderbaum said the series “had to” recast and explained, “I think it has more to do with the fact that Ross [Marquand] is one of the most talented voice artists working.” We briefly heard Marquand when Morph transformed into Xavier in the first episode, but it’s doubtful the actor’s considerable voice acting skills will be relegated to a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo. 

If the writers are wise, they’ll get through the deluge of other storylines before bringing back Charles Xavier. Alongside a potential romance between Magneto and Rogue, there’s the depowering of Storm, the X-Cutioner arc, and the birth of Scott and Jean’s son (an infant version of Cable). Let’s not forget Mister Sinister pitching himself as the big bad and episode 2’s cliffhanger pointing to Madelyne Pryor/Goblin Queen as a new foe.

We know X-Men ‘97 is coming back for a second season, and just like how The Animated Series left us on a Xavier cliffhanger, look out for his iconic yellow hoverchair to make a shocking return later this season.

New episodes of X-Men ’97 stream on Wednesdays on Disney+.

The post X-Men ’97 Theory: New Credits Pretty Much Confirm a Major Plot Twist Is Coming appeared first on Den of Geek.

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