X-Men '97: All the Easter eggs, cameos, and references

X-Men '97 still
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The first three episodes of X-Men '97 are now streaming on Disney Plus, with every installment of the fan-favorite revival of X-Men: The Animated Series being chock full of references to the classic show, the comics, and the wider MCU.

Warning - spoilers ahead for all of X-Men '97 season 1

Episode 1 depicts the team's first mission after the death of Xavier, rescuing Roberto da Costa (Sunspot of the New Mutants in comics) from the Friends of Humanity. Cyclops and Jean debate leaving the team, but wonder who will take Xavier's place as team leader if they're not there. But Magneto shows up with a shocking revelation - Professor X willed him the mansion, his fortune, and leadership of the team.

Then in episode 2, Magneto rescues humans from a near disaster, but surrenders himself to judgment by a world tribunal for his crimes. When anti-mutant demonstrators break into the hearing, he protects the tribunal from the X-Cutioner, who uses his mutant neutralizing gun to steal Storm's powers. Thanks to Magneto saving their lives, the tribunal allows him to go free and promises aid to the mutant nation Genosha. Just as the dust settles, a second Jean Grey arrives at the mansion's door, disoriented and terrified.

Episode 3 also adapts another classic - and tragic - X-Men story, Inferno, the tale of Jean Grey's clone Madelyne Pryor descending into villainy under the influence of both Mister Sinister and the demonic realm of Limbo. In the X-Men '97 version of the story, her downfall begins when a second Jean arrives at the mansion, as seen in the cliffhanger ending of episode 2. Beast confirms that the disheveled Jean who just arrived is actually the original, while the Jean who gave birth to Nathan is a clone. 

Emotionally shattered and driven by the machinations of Mister Sinister, the clone (who takes the name Madelyne Pryor) turns the mansion into her personal version of hell, forcing the returning Jean Grey to get herself together and bring Madelyne back down to earth. As Madelyne leaves the mansion to hunt down Sinister, Scott and Jean discover that baby Nathan is infected with a deadly techno-organic virus, sending him into the future with Bishop in order to save his life - and sealing his fate to grow into the time-traveling warrior Cable.

X-Men '97 episode 4 is a two part story. The first half of the episode, titled 'Motendo' features Jubilee and Sunspot entering Mojoworld, where they're forced to play through a deadly video game to survive. There they encounter a digital version of Jubilee who helps them escape. In the second half, 'Lifedeath,' Storm and Forge bond as he tries to build a machine that will restore her powers. But he's keeping the secret that he invented the gun that neutralized Storm's abilities to begin with, and to complicate things even further, the spiritual entity known as the Adversary is closing in on the pair.

The fifth episode of X-Men '97 ramps up the show's emotional storytelling with a deeply tragic adaptation of the fall of Genosha and the mutant genocide that resulted from it in comics, all set against the character drama of Rogue being pulled between Gambit and Magneto, and Cyclops and Jean struggling to connect in the wake of the reveal of Madelyne Pryor. It's an intense and horrifying tale told with surprising maturity, and it still manages to pack in its share of guests and surprises.

X-Men '97 episode 6, Lifedeath Part 2, features the return of Charles Xavier, who learns of the Genosha massacre, and vows to leave behind the Shi'ar empire to return home to the X-Men. Meanwhile, Storm finally regains her powers with the help of Forge, after fighting a haunting spiritual battle with the Adversary.

X-Men '97 episode 7, Bright Eyes, deals with the fallout of the attack on Genosha as the X-Men mourn and regroup from their losses. A big secret is revealed as Bastion is shown as the season's apparent main bad guy, and his secret Prime Sentinels begin to activate.

The first part of X-Men '97's three part season finale is now streaming, and in it, the X-Men and their allies must face down the activated Prime Sentinels, while Magneto escapes captivity and Professor X returns to Earth. We also learn more about Bastion's past.

In X-Men '97 episode 9, 'Tolerance is Extinction Part II', the X-Men are forced to fight on two fronts as one team takes on Bastion and his Sentinels and another travels to Asteroid M to fight Magneto, and Rogue and Sunspot join the Master of Magnetism, leaving the X-Men behind.

The finale of X-Men '97 season one shows the final conflict between the X-Men and Bastion, with the fate of the world in the balance. Meanwhile, Professor X and Magneto are locked in a psychic battle that could destroy them both - and take everyone else with them.

There's a lot to take in, including some blink-and-you'll-miss-it deep cut references and cameos. If you're ready to dive back in for your next watch, or you're wondering what you missed, here's every single Easter egg we could spot in the first four episodes of X-Men '97.

Episode 10 - Tolerance is Extinction Part III

X-Men '97 episode 10 still

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

  • This week's intro adds a small glimpse of the Hellfire Club.
  • Marvel Universe cameos in the episode include Silver Samurai, Iron Man (in the suit he wore in his own animated series), Captain America, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Cloak & Dagger (who are mutants), The Winter Guard (Crimson Dynamo, Omega Red, and Darkstar), and Alpha Flight (Northstar, Aurora, and Puck) with Frenzy and Psylocke.
  • Jean Grey almost always becomes the Phoenix after being submerged in water. It's happened several times now, including in the movie X-Men: The Last Stand.
  • Bastion never changed forms like this in comics.
  • In comics, Magneto was fully mindwiped, leading to the rise of the villain Onslaught. At one point, a younger, longhaired Magneto showed up at the X-Mansion calling himself Joseph. Though Joseph was initially believed to be the real Magneto, he was later revealed as a clone. The real Magneto DID get his mind back eventually.
  • Rogue and Bastion are fighting on the Blue Area of the Moon, in the temple of Apocalypse.
  • Yes, that's Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, somehow reunited after the cliffhanger ending of Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
  • Nightcrawler is a priest in comics, though lately he's been building his own mutant religion.
  • Magneto's birth name is actually Max Eisenhardt in comics. Erik Magnus Lensherr is an alias.
  • In comics, Bastion is defeated because SHIELD arrives to arrest him, forcing him and his Prime Sentinels to stand down.
  • Graydon Creed is the non-mutant son of Mystique and Sabretooth. A violent anti-mutant, his assassination is one of the major catalysts for the start of Bastion's Operation: Zero Tolerance in comics.
  • In addition to the missing X-Men, Forge's board shows the mutants Scarlet Witch, Colossus, Dust, Archangel, Magik, Iceman, Havok, Quicksilver, Exodus, Kitty Pryde, and Emma Frost. In comics, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have gone back-and-forth on being mutants as well as sometimes being the children of Magneto and sometimes not.
  • Forge's real name has never been revealed in comics. His co-creator Chris Claremont's original notes for the character name him Daniel Lone Eagle, but this name has never been used in comics.
  • In comics, Scott and Jean traveled forward in time to meet their own young son and his guardians the Askani in the 1994 comic The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix.
  • En Sabah Nur is Apocalypse. This is how he looked in his origin comic, 1996's Rise of Apocalypse. In Marvel Comics, Egypt is ruled by Kang variant Rama-Tut in 3600 BC, which becomes an important plot point in Apocalypse's origin.
  • The post-credits sequence shows Apocalypse retrieving one of Gambit's playing cards on Genosha, mentioning death. In comics, Gambit was once turned into Apocalypse's Horseman of Death. Uh oh.
  • Morph turns into old Mister Sinister, Sauron, and Mister Fantastic (also in his Fantastic Four animated series costume). 

Episode 9 - Tolerance is Extinction Part II

X-Men '97 episode 9 still

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

  • Storm is back in the credits, in her classic '70s costume.
  • Sunspot is wearing his classic New Mutants uniform
  • Rogue is wearing her original green and white costume under Gambit's trench coat.
  • The brown and yellow motorcycle in the hangar is Wolverine's Mutantcycle from the original 1991 X-Men toy line by ToyBiz.
  • The costumes in the cases are all classic '60s, '70s, and '80s costumes for the X-Men.
  • X-Men's Blue and Gold teams were the nicknames for the teams that appeared in Uncanny X-Men and the spin-off X-Men comic in the early '90s.
  • "What did you expect, black leather?" We all know this reference to the classic "yellow spandex" joke from the original X-Men movie.
  • The first X-Men cartoon pilot, 1989's 'Pryde of the X-Men,' featured the X-Men invading Asteroid M in these classic costumes. That pilot was scrapped with the series being retooled into X-Men: The Animated Series, so this is a fun full circle moment.
  • Sunspot's address is 1 Claremont Avenue, a reference to Sunspot's co-creator Chris Claremont who wrote the X-Men comic and many of its spin-offs from 1975-1991.
  • Cable's costume is the same one he wore through the mid-late '90s, including in the classic video game Marvel Vs. Capcom 2.
  • Morph's costume is adapted from his second look in the comic series Exiles (minus the cape he wears in comics), in which alt-reality versions of X-Men characters band together for a Multiverse spanning adventure.
  • Morph's transformations in this episode include Hulk and Mister Sinister.
  • Magneto pulled the Adamantium from Wolverine's bones in the 1993 X-Men crossover 'Fatal Attractions,' specifically in X-Men #25.
  • In comics, Fatal Attractions eventually led to the creation of Onslaught, a villain of unspeakable psychic power born from the melding of Professor X and Magneto's consciousness who seemingly killed the entire Avengers and Fantastic Four before being defeated (they were actually sent to a pocket dimension for a few years).

Episode 8 - Tolerance is Extinction, Part 1

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(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

  • Professor X returns to the credits this week, while we also get a glimpse of Magneto and Asteroid M, his former orbital headquarters.
  • "A dystopia where Wolverine is the last to die" could refer to multiple stories, but the most well-known is Old Man Logan, where he's the last living X-Man in a future wasteland.
  • The mutant seen altering the Earth's magnetic poles is none other than Polaris, daughter of Magneto, while the mutant seen rebuilding the Golden Gate bridge is Rachel Summers, the daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey from an alt-future, making her Cable's half-sister.
  • Kamar-Taj is the magic city where Doctor Strange's mentor the Ancient One lives, as seen in the MCU.
  • It sounds a lot like Beast is explaining the same concept behind 'Canon Events' from Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
  • General William Stryker, on the TV, is a classic X-Men villain from the story 'God Loves, Man Kills,' which was adapted into the film X-Men 2.
  • Magneto's position on the St. Andrew's cross is similar to Wolverine on artist Marc Silvestri's classic cover for Uncanny X-Men #251.
  • Jubilee's all-black suit is reminiscent of what she wore when she was a vampire in comics (she eventually got better).
  • In comics, Bastion was never a human at all.
  • The bald Prime Sentinel in the skirt is Daria, who helped Jubilee escape torture by Bastion in the comic book version of Operation: Zero Tolerance.
  • Doctor Doom, Baron Zemo, Spider-Man, Silver Samurai, Omega Red all appear in cameos from around the Marvel Universe.
  • Why does the "average Joe" look like Joe Dirt?
  • Bastion's surrogate mother is named Rose Gilberti. She is not a Sentinel in comics.
  • Morph's big transformation this episode (pun intended) is Juggernaut.
  • In comics, the Prime Sentinels were deactivated by Bastion himself, facing arrest from SHIELD.

Episode 7 - Bright Eyes

Still from X-Men '97 episode 7

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

  • This week's credits are pretty much the same as last episode's.
  • The non-X-Men guests at the funeral are Gambit's former allies in the Thieves Guild.
  • That's General Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross, arch-enemy of the Hulk. He was originally played by William Hurt in the MCU, with the role now set to be played by Harrison Ford in Captain America: Brave New World due to Hurt's death in 2022. He's voiced here by actor Michael Patrick McGill.
  • Mutants seen in Genosha include Blob, Forearm, Angel Salvatore, Mimic, Strong Guy, and Savage Land Mutates Brainchild and Amphibius.
  • Amelia is Amelia Vought, an ally of Magneto in comics who has no mutant codename.
  • Rogue and Captain America were both members of the Uncanny Avengers, a team assembled of both mutants and human superheroes, meant to foster understanding and cooperation between both populations.
  • OZT is "Operation Zero Tolerance," a long running storyline from '90s X-Men comics centering on Bastion, the humanoid Sentinel glimpsed in a photo alongside Forge in episode 4, Lifedeath Part 1.
  • RIP Leech and Callisto.
  • 'Mutant Massacre' is the name of a classic X-Men story about Mister Sinister sending his Marauders to kill the Morlocks. It's been referenced a few times so far in X-Men '97.
  • Nightcrawler is the biological son of Mystique and Destiny in comics (thanks to Mystique's shapeshifting powers), while Rogue is their adopted daughter.
  • Here comes Bastion.
  • In comics, Bastion's plan involved turning humans into Prime Sentinels - sleeper agents who would turn into murderbots when activated.
  • Kinda like Bolivar Trask here.
  • Morph transforms into Quicksilver this episode.
  • '92 is when X-Men: The Animated Series premiered.
  • Bastion is voiced by White Lotus actor Theo James.

Episode 6 - Lifedeath Part II

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(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

  • This week's intro changes include the absence of Magneto and Gambit's title cards (RIP), the addition of a Nightcrawler title card, the same glimpse of Cable as last week, a look at Nimrod the future Sentinel standing in a Master Mold, a flash of Bishop's alt-future including Storm and Wolverine, a flash of the Phoenix, a look at the same X-Factor scene from last week with a fallen Havok (Cyclops' brother), the X-Men fighting the Shi'ar Imperial Guard, and a kiss between Shi'ar Empress Lilandra and Charles Xavier.
  • The Shi'ar Empire and the Kree Empire are old enemies in comics.
  • The Shi'ar Imperial Guard is here, as seen in the intro. Most of the members seen here previously appeared in X-Men: The Animated Series.
  • That said, the guy in red and blue with gold wristbands is none other than Vulcan - the long lost brother of Cyclops and Havok. His story was a decade long mystery in X-Men comics with too many twists and turns to recount here.
  • That's a comics accurate version of Ronan the Accuser, who is well-known to fans of the MCU as the villain of Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Those horse-looking aliens are Kymellians, who play an important role in the classic '80s comic Power Pack, which often crossed over with the X-Men.
  • Xavier's purple and gold exo-suit is from the cover of Uncanny X-Men #275 (though it's silver and blue in the comic itself), the issue where the X-Men learn that Xavier is alive after he left to the stars with the Shi'ar, much like his fate at the end of the original X-Men: The Animated Series.
  • In comics, that version of Xavier actually turned out to be a Skrull imposter who was part of a plan to infiltrate the Shi'ar. The real Xavier was rescued a few issues later.
  • Xavier's new voice actor is Ross Marquand, who portrayed the Red Skull in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, and voiced Ultron in the What If…? animated series.
  • The spiritual battle between Storm and the Adversary pays homage to many moments from Lifedeath Part II, as told in Uncanny X-Men #198. Aspects of Lifedeath Part II were also referenced in the X-Men: The Animated Series episode 'Whatever It Takes,' season 2 episode 3.
  • Forge is a gifted magic user in comics as well. The magic he's using here looks very similar to how Doctor Strange's magic looks in the MCU. The specific spell appears to be the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak.
  • Xavier is referencing Rudyard Kipling's poem 'The White Man's Burden,' which carries strong pro-imperialist themes and racist subtext. This plays into Xavier's anti-imperialist speech at the end of the episode.
  • Snowsnake Tower isn't a name from Lifedeath Part II, but there is a Marvel villain named Snowsnake, a ninja vampire who fought the Avengers in 2019, and who may even return in Marvel's big summer comic crossover Blood Hunt, which is all about vampires.
  • Gladiator basically has all the powers of Superman. In fact, he's actually kind of a Superman homage, as many members of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard are pastiches of characters from DC's Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • The costume Storm generates is, of course, her original comic book outfit, designed by the late Dave Cockrum.
  • 'Evolutionary War' was a late-'80s Marvel Comics crossover between the X-Men and the Avengers, centering on the High Evolutionary, the villain from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
  • Interestingly enough, the High Evolutionary has a fraught rivalry with Mister Sinister, who appears here as the apparent culprit behind the Genosha massacre. Sinister is also the villain behind the 'Mutant Massacre' comic crossover in which his Marauders slaughtered the Morlocks.
  • Sinister is not, however, behind the Genosha massacre in comics. That would actually be Cassandra Nova, Xavier's evil psychic twin, and the apparent villain of Deadpool & Wolverine.

Episode 5 - Remember It

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(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

  • This week's intro features glimpses of Cable, the Morlocks, and of course Nightcrawler.
  • Trish Tilby was once briefly romantically involved with Beast.
  • Sauron, who had a cameo last episode, is the so-called vampire dinosaur.
  • Genosha has a tragic history in comics, having been razed by Sentinels who killed nearly the entire population.
  • Recognizable mutants in Genosha include Wiz-Kid, Leech, Glob Herman, Pixie, The Fallen (an alt-reality version of Warren Worthington III), Nature Girl, Gentle, Multiple Man, Exodus, Dazzler, Boom Boom, Archangel, Squidboy, Marrow, and frankly too many more to name them all.
  • The council includes Sebastian Shaw, Banshee, Moira MacTaggert, Callisto, and Emma Frost.
  • Rogue and Magneto didn't date in mainstream comics, but they did in the alt-reality Age of Apocalypse storyline in which Magneto was able to use his powers to shield himself from Rogue's draining touch.
  • Scott and Madelyne's psychic tryst recalls a moment from 2002's New X-Men #118 in which Jean catches Scott and Emma Frost psychically flirting.
  • Rogue drains Avalanche in the flashback scene.
  • That's Rogue's original comic book costume.
  • Uatu the Watcher can be seen in the sky above the fireworks after Rogue and Gambit's conversation. In comics, the Watcher appears when an event of great historical importance occurs. Uh oh.
  • This party looks a lot like the Hellfire Gala event that took place annually for several years in comics.
  • Yeah.. This is what happened to Genosha in comics too.
  • That's the dreaded Tri-Sentinel.
  • Those are the same Morlocks from earlier in the season.
  • Gambit has a strange history with the Morlocks in comics. Before joining the X-Men, he led Mister Sinister's Marauders to the Morlock tunnels in the story Mutant Massacre in which many mutants were, well, massacred, though his involvement wasn't revealed till years later.

Episode 4 - Motendo/Lifedeath Part One

X-Men '97 episode 4 still

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

  • Mojo, Longshot, and Dark Phoenix are seen in the intro, along with glimpses of Forge, Polaris, Northstar, and Havok, who were all members of the classic '90s X-Factor team.
  • The cartridge in the Motendo system is based on the cartridge for the X-Men game for Sega Genesis.
  • Jubilee and the others were imprisoned on Genosha in season one, episode 13 of X-Men: The Animated Series, 'Slave Island.'
  • Mutants in the Genosha sequence include Blob, Thunderbird or Warpath (their costumes are almost identical), Sunfire, and Domino.
  • These guards are definitely not Boba Fett.
  • Wolverine is fighting the Shi'Ar Imperial Guard.
  • Dazzler was a freedom fighter in Mojoworld for a while in the '90s alongside Longshot.
  • Who's the Boss, A Different World, and Divorce Court are all hit shows from the '80s and '90s.
  • The player select screen here is based on the beloved '80s X-Men arcade game. Characters available on this screen include Jubilee, Colossus, Sunspot, Magik, Longshot, and Cable.
  • The 8-bit wanted poster is a reference to the cover of Uncanny X-Men #141, the first issue of the legendary Days of Future Past storyline, down to the characters shown on the poster.
  • That dinosaur villain is Sauron, who has a weird history in Marvel Comics as a way to depict vampires without breaking old school censorship rules.
  • Older Jubilee's outfit is based on the story 'The Crunch Conundrum' which ran from Wolverine #51-60, in which Mojo captures Jubilee's future self and renames her Abcissa, making her his personal enforcer.
  • Abcissa is voiced by Alyson Court, the original Jubilee voice actor.
  • Lifedeath Part One takes its episode name straight from Uncanny X-Men #186, which is a very similar story, right down to the outfits Storm and Forge are wearing, taken straight from the issue's cover.
  • The picture on Forge's wall is the classic '90s X-Factor team. From left to right, Quicksilver, Forge (obv), Havok, Polaris, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane, and Multiple Man.
  • Forge's bulletin board also has a partially obscured picture of the villainous Bastion, a kind of living sentinel who was a primary antagonist for the X-Men in the late '90s.
  • The scientist in Scotland Forge mentions is probably Moira MacTaggert.

Episode 3 - Fire Made Flesh

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(Image credit: Disney+)

  • This episode's altered intro includes scenes from the Dark Phoenix Saga from the third season of the original X-Men: The Animated Series. This seems to indicate that the duplicate Jean replaced the original after Dark Phoenix, likely at the time of her apparent return from death.
  • That matches the comics, where Jean's death in the Dark Phoenix Saga was followed by the introduction of her clone, Madelyne Pryor (remember that name). But it also indicates that the original Jean missed out on seasons 4 and 5 of the original animated series.
  • Jean's psychic flashbacks include looks at her time with the original X-Men, her early years in the green and yellow costume seen in the previous episode, and her wedding to Cyclops in the two-part premiere of X-Men: The Animated Series season 2.
  • Jean and Scott's wedding portrait is a recreation of 1994's X-Men #30, the issue in which they got married in the comics.
  • Madelyne Pryor's downfall and transformation into the Goblin Queen took years in the comics instead of minutes, and was sparked in large part by Cyclops leaving Madelyne and their son Nathan to be with the real Jean Grey when she returned to life (yikes).
  • The cloud wallpaper in baby Nathan's nursery looks a lot like the wallpaper in the nursery room in the anime adaptation of Akira, which is also home to several psychic children. Akira has a famous scene in which the nursery comes to life in horrifying ways. Is this a soft homage?
  • Mister Sinister refers to baby Nathan's "destiny". In the comics, this destiny is to grow up and fight Apocalypse as Cable. We've already met both Apocalypse and Cable in the original X-Men: The Animated Series, with their big battle taking place in the season four arc 'Beyond Good and Evil'.
  • Madelyne refers to her attack on the X-Men as her "Inferno" - which is the title of the classic '80s X-Men comic event in which she finally turns into the Goblin Queen, turning all of New York City into Limbo instead of just the X-Mansion.
  • The floating head is Bishop's sister Shard.
  • The yellow demons in the inferno look a lot like Thornn, one of the devilish members of the villain team Salem's Seven.
  • Morph died in the two-part series premiere of the original X-Men: The Animated Series 'Night of the Sentinels'. He was then resurrected and augmented by Sinister, returning in the season 2 premiere 'Till Death Do Us Part'.
  • In the comics, Madelyne Pryor was never the Dark Phoenix herself, though there was a story where the villain Mastermind created the illusion that she was.
  • This flashback is pretty darn close to Jean's actual comic book origin, in which she unintentionally psychically links to her childhood best friend as she's dying after being hit by a car. The backlash of psychically experiencing her friend's death puts her in a coma. Xavier intervenes, using his telepathic powers to revive her and recruiting her to the X-Men.
  • In the comics, baby Nathan is taken to the future for the same reason, to save his life from the techno-organic virus. But he's taken there by a woman named Sister Askani, who helps raise him to fight Apocalypse.
  • Bishop's "friend" in the future is likely Blaquesmith, a mutant genius and inventor who is a comic book ally of Cable.
  • In the comics, Jean did raise Nathan for a little while after Madelyne Pryor's transformation into Goblin Queen and before he succumbed to the techno-organic virus.
  • Madelyne Pryor's exit, walking away from the team with a duffel bag thrown over her shoulder, is a visual reference to the iconic cover of Uncanny X-Men #138, the issue in which Cyclops quit the team for the first time after the Dark Phoenix Saga.
  • The guy who talks to Storm here is Forge, another mutant inventor with the power to build anything he can conceive, even if the technology doesn't exist yet (it's a little vague, but pretty cool). In comics, he's the one who built the gun that neutralized Storm's powers, and he's also her co-star in the landmark LifeDeath story, which will be adapted in this season of X-Men '97.
  • Morph's transformation this week is Illyana Rasputin/Magik, the sister of Colossus who was raised in Limbo, Madelyne Pryor's hellish realm. His sub-transformation turns him from Illyana into the Darkchylde, her Limbo-empowered alter ego.

Episode 2 - Mutant Liberation Begins

X-Men '97 still

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

  • More credits changes. This time Magneto's card replaces Xavier's, and we get a look at Asteroid M.
  • In the comics, X-Cutioner's mutant negation gun was built by Forge, a mutant himself, who was working for Henry Peter Gyrich at the time.
  • The Morlocks seen here are Callisto, Leech, Ape, Erg, and later Tommy.
  • Genosha, like Asteroid M, was an important location in the original X-Men animated series.
  • The green dress and yellow mask Jean is packing were parts of her second Marvel Girl costume.
  • In the comics, Rogue originally debuted in 1980 as part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, when it was being led by Mystique. It was never a secret to the X-Men, though. Then, in the early '90s, she and Magneto had an adventure in the Savage Land where they realized they were attracted to each other, but didn't act on it.
  • The Trial of Magneto happened a lot like this in X-Men #200, though it was interrupted by different villains.
  • X-Cutioner got his name from the early-'90s X-Men crossover 'X-Cutioner's Song,' but the main villain of the story was Stryfe, an evil clone of Cyclops' son Cable.
  • Nathan Charles Christopher Summers was born in X-Men #201, right after Magneto took over the team.
  • Romita's Saloon is a reference to John Romita Sr. and Jr. Romita Sr. John was the longtime artist of Spider-Man in the late '60s and early '70s, and was Marvel Comics' art director for even longer. His son, Romita Jr., drew the X-Men in the early '80s in the era when Magneto became leader of the team.
  • Storm's big speech here, including her gestures and the way the scene is shot, is a direct reference to Captain America's big moment at the end of Avengers, right down to the first responder saying "Who does she think she is?"
  • Forge's mutant neutralization gun was first put into action in comics against Rogue, with Storm taking the hit for her in X-Men #185, costing her her powers. That was immediately followed by the original 'LifeDeath' story in X-Men #186, a title that will be used for two upcoming episodes of X-Men '97.
  • Morph's transformations this episode are Lady Deathstryke, Colossus, Psylocke, and Sabretooth.

Episode 1 - To Me, My X-Men

X-Men '97 still

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

  • Right off the bat, the opening credits have been altered to include Morph and Bishop, who are full cast members now, as well as a glimpse at Mister Sinister. The credits change just a bit to match each episode.
  • The name of the record store, Rising Spiral, might be a reference to the X-Men villain Spiral.
  • Cyclops pulled off almost the same feint - "No, don't! I surrender - not!" - in 'Night of the Sentinels Pt. 2', the second half of the pilot of the original X-Men animated series.
  • The newspaper that quickly flies across the screen has a main story about a mutant fashion show (maybe by mutant fashion designer Jumbo Carnation?), with Banshee, Dust, Maggot, and Marrow as models, along with a small image of Nature Girl and Squid Boy in the bottom left corner - many of whom are very deep cuts.
  • The paper also lists two other stories. 'Is Spider-Man a mutant?' is the first, which references a question that led to Spider-Man and the X-Men becoming great allies in comics. 'The Hellfire Gala' is the other, credited to Eddie Brock (text) and Peter Parker (photos). The Hellfire Gala was an annual party held on the mutant island nation of Krakoa, though the last one which took place in 2023 marked the beginning of the end for the mutant homeland.
  • That's Rogue's classic casual dress from 'Night of the Sentinels'.
  • One of Beast's books is authored by J Lewald, a reference to Julia Lewald who, along with her husband Eric Lewald, created X-Men: The Animated Series.
  • Jubilee asking Sunspot if he can "shoot gold balls from his body" is a reference to Goldballs (who now goes by Egg), a mutant who does exactly what Jubilee says. His powers are integral to the mutant cloning process on Krakoa.
  • Madripoor was the setting of part of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
  • The portrait of the original five X-Men includes Cyclops, Jean Grey (then going by Marvel Girl), Beast, Angel, and Iceman. These are of course the original comics X-Men, and they've been shown as the original team in X-Men: The Animated Series before.
  • Professor X's death date is listed as 11/11/1997 - a date that reads the same whether you put the day or month first for international audiences.
  • Master Mold tried to replace Senator Kelly's brain with a Sentinel computer in X-Men: The Animated Series season 1 episode 13, 'The Final Decision.'
  • Cyclops did in fact retire from the X-Men, twice. Once in 1980's X-Men #138 after the death of Jean Grey in the Dark Phoenix Saga, and again just a short time later in 1985's X-Men #200 to raise a family with Madelyne Pryor, which eventually ended in tragedy. Neither time stuck.
  • Jubilee's earrings say "Jubilee," like in her original comic book look designed by Jim Lee.
  • Professor X seemingly died in comics (he got better) in 1985's X-Men #200, in which he asks Magneto to take over as headmaster of Xavier's School and the leader of the X-Men as his final wish, which Magneto honors.
  • 'The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier' was a storyline that followed the death of Xavier (again) in 2012's Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover.
  • Morph's transformations this episode include Xavier, Jean Grey, and Angel, in his late '90s look which he wore when he returned to his original codename after he was transformed into Archangel by Apocalypse.

X-Men '97 streams new episodes every Wednesday on Disney Plus, so check back in weekly for the rundown on the latest instalments.

And Marvel is about to relaunch the X-Men comics with a vibe that will feel at home for '90s X-Men fans.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)