What characters are appearing in ‘X-Men ’97’ and when does it release on Disney Plus?

Image from Marvel Studios Twitter

During Friday’s Marvel’s animation panel at San Diego Comic-Con, the studio unveiled a true fan pleaser: X-Men ‘97. Here’s what we know.

The X-Men have arrived in the MCU…in animated form. 

While no concrete Disney+ date has been set, you won’t have to wait too long to get your mutant fix as the show is slated for the 2023 lineup. Even better, a second season of X-Men ‘97 already has the green light from Marvel Studios. 

Since last year’s Disney+ Day Special, fans of the classic 1990s X-Men: the Animated Series were ecstatic for the return of the beloved cartoon. Just writing that sentence, I can hear the magical opening guitar riff for the theme song. Once Marvel made the announcement last year, it set off a wave of intrigue and nostalgia. 

After months of waiting, and a couple of recent MCU teases in Multiverse of Madness and Ms. Marvel, we finally have our first look at X-Men ‘97.

What characters to expect

From the beginning, Marvel had said the show would embrace the original cast of characters, and the panel featured sample artwork with a group shot of Wolverine in his yellow-and-blue costume, Rogue, Jubilee, Beast, Gambit, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Storm. It was also revealed that many of the original voice actors are slated for a return, namely Cal Dodd, Lenore Zann, George Buza, Adrian Hough, Christopher Britton, Catherine Disher, Chris Potter, Alison Sealy-Smith, and Alyson Court. 

The four images unveiled during the panel looked straight from the original show, with the costumes retaining their Jim Lee-era X-Men costumes, much to the delight of ‘90s kids everywhere. Marvel also spotlighted additional characters Sunspot, Cable, Bishop, Forge, and Nightcrawler as well as Mister Sinister and Emma Frost and the Hellfire Club. 

The biggest artistic change was Magneto’s costume. Sans helmet, the suit is sleeveless with the giant M on the chest, a look he sported during much of the 1980s.

Continuing the story

While plot details are still a mystery, X-Men ‘97 will pick up where X-Men: the Animated Series left off in September 1997, hence the ‘97 in the title. 

At the conclusion of the final episode, “Graduation Day,” Professor X had been attacked on television by the mutant-hating Henry Peter Gyrich. Charles Xavier suffered severe psychic damage, and Shi’Ar Queen Lilandra transported him to her galaxy. With nowhere else to turn, the X-Men looked to Magneto for guidance. 

Considering Magneto’s 1980s-inspired look for the new show, we can assume that he has become a hero and is leading the X-Men. After all, that’s exactly what he did when he wore that particular outfit in the comics. Past that, it’s all guessing games.