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X-Men ’97’s Director Admits To Being ‘Flabbergasted’ By Fan Reaction To A Very Specific Moment In The Trailer

 The cast of X-Men '97.
The cast of X-Men '97.

It won’t be too much longer until X-Men ’97, the revival of X-Men: The Animated Series, finally moves from the upcoming Marvel TV shows slate and begins its run to Disney+ subscribers. The world got its first taste of what this animated show will have to offer when the X-Men ’97 trailer premiered in February, and among its highlights was, as seen above, when Gambit hopped on Wolverine’s back and charge his teammate’s adamantium claws. While speaking with CinemaBlend, executive producer and supervising director Jake Castorena admitted he was “flabbergasted” by the fan reaction to that particular moment.

I kicked off my recent conversation with Castorena ahead of X-Men ’97’s premiere by bringing up this Wolverine/Gambit moment. Having read from Variety that he came up with the idea for this combination of powers, I asked the director how this badass moment came to him, and he answered:

Look, man, I’m still just flabbergasted on how well received that little bit was. Totally candid. That was just me working on my storyboard pitch trying to get the job, and I just wanted to see stuff that I hadn’t seen before. And luckily, part of what I felt my mission statement was, and what to bring to X-Men ’97, was also in tandem with what Beau DeMayo and the writers and Marvel and Brad [Winderbaum] and Dana [Vasquez-Eberhardt], that’s what they wanted to, and that’s familiar mutant abilities and power sets that we’ve seen and love, but just in ways we’ve never seen them before without breaking canon. So yeah, that was just me having fun.

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More X-Men '97 Coverage

Beast, Rogue, Morph, Cyclops, Wolverine, Gambit and Bishop in X-Men '97
Beast, Rogue, Morph, Cyclops, Wolverine, Gambit and Bishop in X-Men '97

X-Men ‘97’s Executive Producer Shares The Two Things That Were ‘Needed’ To Make The Disney+ Show Happen

Critics Are Raving About X-Men '97, And There’s One Thing Specifically That Has Them Excited

We’ve seen a lot of cool combinations with X-Men powers over the years in comics, movies, TV shows and video games, and when it comes to Wolverine, arguably the best combo involving his claws is when he and Colossus to the Fastball Special, where the steel-skinned mutant chucks Wolverine at an opponent. But with Gambit being one of Wolverine’s main teammates in X-Men ’97, Jake Castorena thought the time had come to see what would happen if the former converted the energy in the latter’s claws into kinetic energy. Frankly, I’m surprised this has never been done in the comics before, but now this is another way X-Men ’97 can stand out, and the director is pleased so many people liked that idea.

Another notable moment from the X-Men ’97 trailer was at the end when Cyclops exclaims, “To me, my X-Men!”, and Morph, Storm, Gambit, Rogue, Wolverine, Bishop and Beast immediately appear behind him. Noting that this is a line that Professor X usually says in the comics, I inquired about why it was important to throw these words into the show, and Jake Castorena clarified that he didn’t come up with that, saying:

Well luckily that decision to throw that line in was made well before I was brought on. That’s been since the first levels of incubation of the script from Beau himself. And it was… how could it not be perfect, right? The way he explained it to me, we’re in a post-Xavier world, Cyclops is stepping up to the mantle right now, they are his X-Men in that moment. So what better reason to have our favorite boy Scott saying those words? And all credit goes to Beau and the writers room for that.

With Professor X purportedly dead when X-Men ’97 begins, Cyclops has inherited the leadership mantle, as opposed to just calling the shots during field missions. So like Castornea explained, who better to say “To me, my X-Men!” than Scott Summers, who, like in the comics, was one of Charles Xavier’s first students. Now, whether or not Professor X is actually dead remains to be seen, because there are many examples of characters in the comics who’ve been thought to met their demise, only for them to be resurrected, their deaths revealed to be a ruse or any number of explanations that allows them to return in some form or fashion. For now though, it’s now Cyclops who gets to decide the X-Men’s path.

The first two episodes of X-Men ’97 debut on Wednesday, March 20, and the remaining eight episodes will be released weekly on the 2024 TV schedule through to May 15. The series has already been renewed for Season 2, and Season 3 is in the works, although Beau DeMayo is no longer the showrunner.