Kids these days have got it made when it comes to superheroes. Not only can you not move for high quality, big screen adventures, but there’s a constant stream of fun cartoon adaptations on TV, too. Back in the 90s, though, we couldn’t afford to be so choosy. Superhero cinema was extremely hit and miss, leaving us with the consolation prizes of Batman: The Animated Series and X-Men: The Animated Series.
The latter ran for an impressive 76 episodes (and had an amazing theme tune, too), but sadly left us on a cliffhanger in September 1997 with an injured Charles Xavier leaving Earth for a life with Shi’ar Empress Lilandra. Now, in an interview with SYFY WIRE, showrunner Eric Lewald was asked what his plans would have been if the series had continued for a sixth season, and here’s what he said:
“I had honestly never thought about it for all these years, but now that you mention it, an idea for a season just came to me. Season 6 could open, months later, with the X-Men in disarray – a few gone, the ones remaining at each other’s throats. They miss their leader.
Then somehow they are called to – and transported to – an existential crisis on Lilandra’s distant world. The team grudgingly reunites ‘for Charles,’ heads off to space, solves the crisis, and a somehow-healed Charles Xavier is either able to return to Earth with them or, if he can’t, his heroic final sacrifice heals the team’s wounds and they return to Earth as the proper X-Men again.”
Sounds like a pretty fun arc to me. The X-Men have had a strange affinity for space-based science fiction adventures since their earliest days (they even did a very weird Star Trek: The Next Generation crossover), so seeing them battle their way through a crisis on an alien world would have provided some neat drama and a good workout for their animation staff.
While X-Men: The Animated Series is very much a product of the mid-90s and hasn’t aged amazingly (unlike the timeless Batman: The Animated Series), there’s no denying that it clearly understood the mutants and had a deep respect for the history and characters. Subsequent attempts to do an animated show, meanwhile, have had varying results. I quite liked X-Men: Evolution and haven’t seen enough of Wolverine and the X-Men to form an opinion of it, but it’s safe to say neither of them have been as iconic as the classic animated series.
With the show celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, new episodes are most likely a pipe dream. However, Lewald claims to be in touch with the cast and crew, so it’d be nice to maybe get a little retro short to remind audiences of the show that made many a 90s kid’s Saturday morning.