May 16, 2015



(FOX, October 31, 1992-September 20, 1997)

Marvel Entertainment Group, Saban Entertainment, Inc., Marvel Studios (season 5)

Norm SpencerCyclops/Scott Summers
Cathal J. DoddWolverine/Logan
Lenore ZannRogue
Iona Morris (season 1-2) & Alison Sealy-Smith (season 2-5) – Storm/Ororo Munroe
George BuzaBeast/Dr. Henry “Hank” McCoy
Chris Potter (season 1-4) & Tony Daniels (season 5) – Gambit/Remy LeBeau
Alyson CourtJubilee/Jubilation Lee
Catherine DisherJean Grey/Phoenix/Dark Phoenix
Cedric SmithProfessor X/Charles Xavier

For the history of the X-Men, check out the post here.

The original X-Men: 1960s, 1980s and 1990s.

            It was a long, hard road to get to this point. Marvel ComicsX-Men were first animated as part of the Sub-Mariner segment of The Marvel Super Heroes in 1966, a limited animation program that essentially used art straight from the comics, as a stand-in for the Fantastic Four whose rights the production company didn’t have. However, they weren’t called the X-Men—they were known as the Allies For Peace. Since then, two attempts had been made at giving the X-Men their own animated series (with them actually being, y’know, the X-Men). The first came in the Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends episode “The X-Men Adventure,” which was intended to serve as a backdoor pilot to a series that would include original creation Videoman from that series and a version of the original Ms. Marvel called Lady Lightning. The second attempt came in Marvel Productions’ failed pilot episode, Pryde of the X-Men. Networks had no faith in the comics being adequately adapted to screen (despite Super Friends having run multiple seasons by this point, or the numerous solo character projects that have aired since Filmation first adapted Superman), nor that they would attract an audience bigger than the niche one comprised of “nerdy”, “introverted” teenaged boys that read them. 

The X-Men of Pryde of the X-Men.

            In 1990, Margaret Loesch left her post as Marvel Productions’ President and Chief Executive Officer to become the head of the blossoming Fox Children’s Network; a children’s programming block on the FOX network that eventually became Fox Kids. Loesch was a big believer in the source material for the X-Men, having been introduced to the characters by co-creator Stan Lee, and one of the principles behind the production of Pryde. Loesch had spent months trying to sell the concept to her boss, Jamie Kellner, while also working on developing the project behind the scenes with Sidney Iwanter who had been with her at Marvel. When Loesch said she was willing to stake her job on it being a success, Kellner finally relented and allowed the series to move forward. Unfortunately, time was not on their side as official production began in February of 1992 and the show was slated to air that September, giving them only 7 months to work rather than the customary 9. 

Eric Lewald, Larry Houston, Margaret Loesch and Julia Lewald.

            Iwanter tapped Eric Lewald to run the show (his first time doing so for a major network program from the outset), while Will Meugniot served a supervising producer and Larry Houston as a producer-director. The latter two men had worked at Marvel and on Pryde, and were the primary sources of knowledge on the characters in an age when comic collections and the internet were sparse (Houston would often tweak storyboards to add cameos and easter eggs). Mark Edens was brought on as the head writer and helped Lewald work out the storylines for the first and eventually second season. They strove to keep the stories as true to the books as possible while adjusting them to fit the different medium of television and avoiding the mistakes of network urges to downplay things to a younger audience. Additionally, Marvel’s executive in charge of movies and TV Joe Calamari served as their representative during the production, while then-X-Men comics editor Bob Harras helped with keeping the characters and stories feeling like X-Men. Saban Entertainment was contracted to produce the series, and they in turn hired Graz Entertainment to help cover the deficit in their own manpower. 

Promo art by Neal Adams depicting Professor X, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Rogue and Jubilee.

            There was some back and forth over who would comprise this new team of televised X-Men. Marvel had their wish list, FOX had theirs, the crew on the show had theirs—especially if they were already fans of the books. Ultimately, it was whittled down to nine core members whose personalities not only provided adequate means for dramatic interactions, but could also make them uniquely distinct from each other and allow each to have their own voice. This included previously-depicted characters like team founder and powerful psychic Professor Xavier (Cedric Smith); the savage, clawed Wolverine (Cathal J. Dodd, the first actual Canadian to play the Canadian hero), optic-blasting team leader Cyclops (Norm Spencer); powerful telepathic and telekinetic Jean Grey (Catherine Disher); weather-controlling Storm (Iona Morris for the first season and several season 2 episodes, Alison Sealy-Smith for the remainder); and blue-furred genius Beast (George Buza), who was originally not a main character until the crew fell in love with using him. Animated for the first time were Rogue (Lenore Zann), a southern belle with super strength, flight and the ability to absorb anyone’s memories and abilities upon skin-to-skin contact; Gambit, aka Remy LeBeau (Chris Potter, later Tony Daniels), a Cajun thief with the ability to charge any object with explosive kinetic energy; and Jubilee, aka Jubilation Lee (Alyson Court), a teenager who could project colorful plasma bursts from her hands. Jubilee, whose inclusion was requested by Marvel, was meant to serve as the audience surrogate that would be introduced to the world of the X-Men alongside the viewers; much the same way Kitty Pryde did in Pryde. The team largely reflected the Blue Team featured in the recently-launched X-Men comic, with Storm and Jean rounding it out from the Gold Team featured in parent title Uncanny X-Men.

Morph in his normal form.

Created specifically for the show was Morph (Ron Rubin), a mutant shape-shifter that was a reimagining of the villain Changeling from Uncanny X-Men #35 (1967). Morph was designed to be super likable in order for the audience to believe he was the only person to make the gruff Wolverine laugh. He was also created to die, giving his life for Wolverine’s in the very first episode (a questionable gesture considering Wolverine can heal). This was intended to establish that the X-Men’s world was dangerous and had actual stakes. Originally, the sacrificial lamb was meant to be Thunderbird, who had died shortly after joining the team way back in Uncanny X-Men #95 (1975). However, it was pointed out that killing the only Native-American member of the team probably wouldn’t play out very well. Lewald then selected Changeling due to his sacrificing himself to save Xavier in Uncanny X-Men #42 (1968), and wrote him into the pilot. However, the Fox lawyers were nervous over the fact that rival publisher DC Comics had their own Changeling (better known as Beast Boy) and they had to change his name; despite Marvel’s usage coming first. Hence, Morph got his name. Thunderbird still appeared, though, as one of the evil mutants charging the X-Men at the end of the series’ intro (hey, you’d be mad at them too if your comics career was cut short!).

The X-Men: Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Gambit, Storm, Jubilee and Professor X.

The voice cast that ended up becoming the voices of the X-Men for a generation were actually the second group. The original actors selected couldn’t get a handle on the different type of production X-Men was trying to be; approaching the characters as typically flat 70s or 80s Saturday morning cartoon characters without the needed serious emotion or gravitas the scripts would require of them.  Iwanter, Houston and Calamari took a special trip to Canada to oversee the recasting with casting director Karen Goora. They decided to expand beyond voice actors, going into stage performers where they found much of their cast—many of whom had very little or no experience in animation at all. However, there ended up being one character that needed another round of recasting. Nicky Guadagni ended up winning the role of Storm and recorded the entire first season, with absolutely no thought given into what she looked like. As the series premiere was approaching, it finally dawned on them that if the series was a success and got a lot of publicity as a result, it might pose problematic to have their regal African goddess (and the only regular minority character) being voiced by a White woman. After a massive scramble, it was decided it would be best to save time and temporarily cast an American actress; that being Iona Morris. Once production was underway on the second season, the Canadian Alison Sealy-Smith was permanently cast in the role and re-recorded the first season for a third time in order to eliminate the residual payments Morris would be owed for repeated airings of her episodes (Canadian actors get a larger lump sum rather than residuals each time an episode airs).

Jim Lee connecting cover art for the deluxe first issue of X-Men #1.

For the look of the characters, it was ultimately decided to go with Jim Lee’s redesigns; not only because they were the prominent ones in the current books and what the fans would be expecting to see, but because with some minor tweaks they would be the most animation-friendly. However, the production reached a snag when they were already into the designing process as Marvel suddenly wanted them to not use those designs. The producers didn’t know it at the time, but this was when Lee and several other prominent Marvel artists went on a mass exodus to found their own company, Image Comics, so that they could have full creative freedom and ownership over what they created. Meugniot took a gamble and redid the designs in a “young/funny Hanna-Barbera, 1970s version of the team” in order to force Marvel to reverse their decision. Fortunately, there was no one at Marvel that actually liked that concept, and the Lee designs were approved for use once again.

A Sentinel captures Jubilee.

Much like Pryde before it, the first two episodes, “Night of the Sentinels,” focused on Jubilee’s introduction to the X-Men and their world. Jubilee’s foster parents, upon discovering she was a mutant, registered her with the Mutant Control Agency which prompted the giant robotic mutant hunting Sentinels (all David Fox) to attempt to capture her. The X-Men came to her aid, and after figuring out a connection between the Sentinel attack and the Mutant Registration Program, decide to shut the program down. During a battle with the Sentinels, Beast ended up captured and Morph seemingly killed. From that moment, the series set itself apart from shows that came before in not only sidelining a main character for the entire season, but featuring an on-screen death which helped cement how different this show would be from ones before it. It was also notable as being one of the few cartoons to run in a serial format; something else the producers fought heavily for. To help keep viewers up to speed, editor Sharon Janis took it upon herself to create the well-known “Previously on X-Men” segment that would precede each episode as a recap to what came before.

Early concept storyboards for the opening sequence.

 The opening sequence needed to introduce the X-Men to an audience that would be comprised largely of people that never heard of them. Stan Lee, serving as an advisor for the show, pushed for it to include an opening narration by him that ended up being too old-fashioned for their liking. Lewald tried his hand at scripting another that would be delivered by Xavier, but it ended up being too verbose. Houston, Meugniot and Iwanter conceived a sequence that relied solely on images and music. The end result introduced each main character with their own unique titles and a showcase of their abilities, and provided a montage of the types of conflicts they would encounter. But to compliment that sequence, they needed a fitting opening theme. Saban kept turning in the usual quick throwaway pieces as they did for other productions, which the producers kept rejecting. Finally, they turned to Ron Wasserman who, based on a bass line written by Saban music head Ron Kenan, ended up composing the instrumental that to this day is as synonymous with X-Men as John Williams’ is to Superman and Danny Elfman’s is to Batman. It also ended up drawing controversy as, in 2019, Zoltan Krisko sued the production, companies and several streamers airing the animated series for copyright infringement, claiming the theme ripped off the one composed by Gyorgy Vukan for Hungarian TV series Linda in 1984; which he acquired the rights to in 2013. The case was settled in 2021.

Sentinels flying overhead.

As the September deadline approached, animation started to come in from AKOM Productions, Ltd.—and it was terrible. No one on the production or network end was happy with it, but Haim Saban refused to allow any additional money to get it fixed. Marvel ended up sacrificing their licensing fee for the first season in order to infuse the budget with enough to get the episodes re-animated properly, with Meugniot flying to South Korea to personally ensure it would be done right. Unfortunately, that meant the series wouldn’t make its airdate. Loesch had to smooth things over with the affiliates and advertisers by convincing them that delaying the show until January would be beneficial as they would be the only ones airing something new while other shows were in reruns. When the first episodes were nearly ready by October, Loesch worked with the prime-time executives to secure a timeslot to air them as a preview to the series. 

The original broadcast (top) vs. the regular broadcast.

            The episode aired on Halloween of 1992 as an introduction to the series, with the next the following week and the third airing on November 27th. AKOM turned in the episodes riddled with numerous errors, 50 scenes missing and only a single day of editing. After threatening to sever their contracts with the studio, these episodes—and others—would receive multiple versions as they were tweaked or fixed by the time of their next broadcast. For instance, “Slave Island” initially aired without the cliffhanger ending it would later get as the next episode wasn’t finished in time. X-Men: The Animated Series (as it would come to be known) finally made its official debut on January 9th, 1993 with an hour-long presentation of “Night of the Sentinels”. It would go on to receive critical and commercial acclaim; particularly for its mature storytelling. The producers fought hard for that integrity, staving off merchandisers’ desires for product placement within the show (Wolverine and Cyclops faces on walkie talkies, anyone?) and Stan Lee’s desires to insert himself with on-screen introductions to every episode (something he’d later be granted with the shows aired during the Marvel Action Hour programming block). 

Older Wolverine protects Kate Pryde (top) in the comics while Bishop captures older Wolverine in the cartoon.

            The series closely adhered to the mythology established by the X-Men comics, adapting many stories straight from the 15-year stint of writer Chris Claremont. Naturally, alterations were made to better translate them between mediums, character substitutions were made to fit in with their production, and similar stories were combined into one narrative. For example, the two-part episode “Days of Future Past” was based on the comic story of the same name, in which a few remaining mutants survive in a dystopian future where mutants are hunted and exterminated. Kitty Pryde had her mind sent back in time to her younger body in order to try and prevent the events that set that future in motion. Another time-traveler named Bishop (Philip Akin), who came back in time to retrieve an escaped criminal, Trevor Fitzroy, beginning in Uncanny X-Men #282 (1991), was used in the place of Kitty and physically traveled back with the aid of an the elderly mutant inventor Forge (Marc Strange). The notion of Gambit betraying the X-Men, which was Bishop’s driving plotline in the comics for several years, also played as a subplot for the entire first season. 

Two worlds without an Xavier.

However, the comics would also take some influence from the show itself. In the two-part episode “One Man’s Worth”, Fitzroy killed Xavier in the past creating an alternate timeline in which the X-Men as we knew them were never formed and mutant/human relations plummeted into an all-out war between the races (notably, these episodes featured one of the first interracial kisses and marriages in animation between Wolverine and Storm). Once again, Bishop had to put it right. Marvel liked the concept so much they created an entire event around it called the Age of Apocalypse; where they would temporarily cease publication on all X-titles and replace them with new ones for four months. They set it up with the story “Legion Quest”, which saw Xavier’s son, the mentally-ill and powerful Legion, go back in time and accidentally kill his father. Without him to form the X-Men, the mutant Apocalypse was able to conquer the world and reshape it in his image with humans on the verge of extinction and one-time arch-nemesis Magneto having formed his own X-Men in Xavier’s honor to combat him. Houston was able to see the new designs for some of the characters and incorporated them into the episodes.

Magneto threatens Senator Kelley.

Writers for the show included Lewald, Edens and his brother, Matt, Julia Lewald, Robert N. Skir, Marty Isenberg, Don Glut, Jim Carlson, Terrence McDonnell, Julianne Klemm, Francis Moss, Ted Pedersen, Elliot S. Maggin, Stephanie Mathison, Brooks Wachtel, Adam Gilad, Jan Strnad, Steven Levy, Larry Parr, Len Uhley, Doug Booth, David McDermott, Steven Melching, Richard Mueller, Gary Greenfield, Sandy Scesny, Bruce Reid Schaefer, Luanne Crocker, Jeff Saylor, Steve Cuden, Dean Stefan, Francis Moss, Martha Moran, Mark Onspaugh, Marley Clark, Mirith Colao, James Krieg and Wolverine co-creator Len Wein. Dan Hennessey would serve as the voice director, as well as provide various voices. The music was credited to Shuki Levy and Saban (as Kussa Machi).

Wolverine and Beast with X-Factor's Wolfsbane and Strong Guy.

Numerous X-Men supporting characters made appearances from major roles to minor ones, such as original X-Men Iceman (Dennis Akayama) and Angel/Archangel (Stephen Ouimette); second generation X-Men including steel-skinned Colossus (Rick Bennett, later Robert Cait), sonic-powered Banshee (Jeremy Ratchford), fire-powered Sunfire (Akayama) and teleporting Nightcrawler (Adrian Hough); time-traveling Cable (Lawrence Bayne, who was up for the role of Wolverine); the alien Shi’ar race, which included Xavier’s love interest, Empress Lilandra Nermani (Camilla Scott); and even the government-sponsored mutant team X-Factor comprised of plasma-blasting Havok, magnet-powered Polaris (Terri Hawkes), self-duplicating Multiple Man, speedy Quicksilver (Paul Haddad), super-strong Strong Guy, wolf-like Wolfsbane, and a younger Forge. Recurring villains included their arch-nemesis Magneto (David Hemblen); the savage clawed Sabretooth (Don Francks); Xavier’s mystically-powered half-brother, the Juggernaut (Bennett); Graydon Creed (John Stocker) and his Friends of Humanity hate-group; Senator Robert Kelly (Len Carlson), who ran the Mutant Registration Act with Henry Peter Gyrich (Barry Flatman) until the X-Men saved him and he won the Presidency on a pro-mutant platform; the shape-shifting Mystique (Randall Carpenter, later Jennifer Dale); and the first mutant, Apocalypse (John Colicos, later James Blendick). Other non-mutant Marvel characters would appear in brief cameos in various episodes throughout the series mostly thanks to Houston (ignoring the edict that they couldn’t technically use any of them), including Spider-Man, Nick Fury, G.W. Bridge, War Machine, Black Panther, Thor, Ghost Rider, Punisher, Hulk, Uatu the Watcher, and Dr. Strange. Deadpool would also make his very first appearance outside of comics; or his visage would, at least. The original Ms. Marvel (Roscoe Handford) appeared for the first time as well, as she was crucial in Rogue’s origin story.

Ka-Zar and Zabu guide Xavier and Magneto in the Savage Land.

Naturally, Fox Kids greenlit the series for a second season. They still had a tight deadline, but no longer any growing pains to excuse their missing another September deadline. They also gained their autonomy as now all parties trusted their judgement. Except for two edicts: 1) Morph had become so liked by the fans that FOX wanted them to bring him back, which they did by having immortal scientist Mr. Sinister (Christopher Britton) rescue and reprogram him into his minion, and 2) no more serialized stories. This was due to nervousness over possible future delays, but the production wanted to try something new, anyway. However, they did integrate an ongoing B-plot of Professor X and Magneto lost together in the Savage Land, a place out of time in the Arctic where dinosaurs still existed, while the X-Men dealt with his disappearance and other pressing threats. Focus was placed on expanding the backstories of the characters, giving viewers more familiarity with them. 

On an Ireland adventure with Banshee.

In between the seasons, the cast and crew were released from their services while awaiting word of renewal. Meugniot, the Edens brothers, Graz’s Jim Graziano and Lewald all went over to work on ExoSquad. Meugniot stayed on as an advisor, but didn’t play the role he once did in the production of the series; replaced by Scott Thomas. The Edens also had diminished roles, but helped where they could in setting up the season as well as contributing a few scripts here and there. Stephanie Graziano remained at Graz to help continue the production. Fortunately, job security was on the horizon as the network soon upped their order for an additional 3 seasons. Saban, notorious for trying to save whenever possible, experimented with cheaper animation studios, such as Hong Ying, that ended up turning in shoddy work and causing several episodes to be delayed—some by years—and reshuffled in the airing order while the business end of getting those corrected were dealt with. After season 3, ongoing story arcs were significantly reduced as FOX began airing episodes, except continuing stories, in a random order due to those animation delays as well as agendas to push certain characters sooner. 

Jean finally lets her hair down for the last season.

“Beyond Good and Evil” was intended to be the series finale, but FOX ordered more episodes at the last minute. Unfortunately, Marvel had begun having financial trouble at this point and couldn’t finance the production of more episodes. Saban chose to fund them directly—and cheaply. AKOM was already committed to other projects, so Saban hired Philippines Animation Studio to complete the work. As a result, beginning with “Jubilee’s Fairytale Theater” (the first episode aired after the change, though not the first produced), the series’ animation style and character designs were significantly different and a lot more simplistic; losing the expensive-to-animate shading the series had until that point. Potter had left the show and was replaced by Daniels as Gambit. Houston had also departed the show to work on the second season of the Fantastic Four animated series running at the same time.

Archangel with Apocalypse.

Had the series continued on into a sixth season following “Graduation Day”, plans were in place to make Bishop, his sister Shard, telepathic ninja Psylocke and Archangel (revisiting a scrapped notion from season 2) members of the team. A time skip would have shown how the X-Men dealt with life without Xavier, as well as having to adventure into space when the Shi’ar sent a distress call. Additionally, there were once talks about producing an animated crossover movie between X-Men and fellow Saban property, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. However, one property was always more popular than the other that it felt the project would risk diluting the brand. All that resulted from that idea was a piece of concept art by Meugniot and clothing depicting both properties

            The X-Men intro remained unchanged until the final season. When the animation changed, the theme was altered slightly and the intro was infused with a series of clips from various episodes. When the series was broadcast in Japan on TV Tokyo from 1994-95, a new anime-style intro was created with the song “Rising” by Ambience. Notably, this intro featured a comic-accurate depiction of the alien parasitic race known as the Brood, whom were required by broadcast standards & practices to be altered for the actual series to be more reptilian in appearance with metallic tentacled armor and called The Colony. After 42 episodes, a new intro was used with the song “Dakishimetai Dare Yori Mo.” The Japanese dubs featured rewrites to make the episodes more humorous and self-satircal, a trademark of director Yoshikazu Iwanami. These episodes were edited for time to allow promotion of Capcom’s then-new fighting game, X-Men: Children of the Atom, featuring the actors pretending to play the game as their characters while cracking jokes. When the series was rebroadcast on Toon Disney in Japan, it had a new translation that was more faithful to the American scripts and used the American intro and outro. In Germany, their intro had kids superimposed over various scenes singing a rap about the X-Men.

Comparatively, the series had several ending credit outros. The first one featured a rock and roll instrumental playing over a faux computer screen where an unseen user accessed a computer-generated model of each character with an accompanying description of their abilities. Network censors felt the CGI models looked too close to toys, so to alleviate concerns that the show was actually a toy commercial another outro ran featuring a complete scene from a previous episode playing out over the credits. A third showed clips from various episodes. The fourth version had the original X-Men intro reprised alongside the credits in a separate box. When the series was rerun by UPN on Sundays, the original Japanese intro was shown behind the credits, although trimmed down to run in the time allotted. The Japanese version of the outro showed various images of the comics.

The X-Men on Spider-Man.

Outside of the series, the X-Men appeared in a two-part episode of sister FOX show Spider-Man: The Animated Series in the episodes “The Mutant Agenda” and “Mutants’ Revenge”. In these episodes, Spider-Man (Christopher Daniel Barnes) sought Xavier’s help in stopping his radioactive blood from mutating. While the character models appeared close to the series’, the characters’ coloring was altered due to the fact Spider-Man employed a different production studio. The X-Men were intended to appear in the Spider-Man “Secret Wars” storyline, but because the cast was located in Canada it was deemed too expensive to bring them to Los Angeles where Spider-Man was recorded. Instead, producers settled on using only Storm as Morris was located in L.A., marking her brief return to the role since X-Men’s second season. Smith, Zann and Britton also reprised their respective roles in 1995 for the Chef Boyardee X-Men pasta commercial, produced by The Ink Tank and Young & Rubicam Advertising

Rogue bio from the comics, mimicking the original ending credits sequence.

            Beginning in 1992, Marvel published a tie-in comic called X-Men Adventures. The first three seasons were adapted across three volumes, collected in omnibus form in 2023, and in smaller trades in 2024. In 1996, the series was renamed Adventures of the X-Men and featured all-new stories set within the animated universe, also collected in two digest-sized collections in 2019 and omnibus form in 2023. In 1998, Marvel published X-Men: The Manga, a Japanese import that adapted the storyline from the show. The animated X-Men made a return to the comic pages in X-Men ’92, a tie-in to 2015’s Secret Wars event, which then gained its own short-lived ongoing series. Much like Firestar before him, Morph made the jump into comics as a character during the Age of Apocalypse event in the late 90s in X-Men: Alpha (1995), and later another version (although similar in appearance) became one of the dimension-traversing Exiles in Exiles #1 (2001) and was made a character in the Marvel Heroes video game. As part of 1993’s X-Men Series II trading card set, 9 cards featured stills and summarized the “Night of the Sentinels” episodes. A portion of the animated cast was represented on the Suspended Animation chase set of the 1995 Fleer Ultra X-Men trading card series. In 2017, in time for the show’s 25th anniversary, Eric and Julia Lewald published Previously on X-Men through Jackson Brown Media Group. The book gives a behind-the-scenes account on the production of the show. They followed it up with X-Men: The Art and Making of the Animated Series in 2020 through Abrams Books.

            From 1991-98, Toy Biz manufactured a line of X-Men figures featuring various characters from throughout the franchise. While there was no specific series inspired by the show, the commercials made use of the series’ intro and the timing of the releases of certain figures could be attributed to their appearances on the cartoon. There were, however, several figures directly inspired by the show. In 1994, Morph received his first figure, giving him interchangeable character heads, and later was featured as part of the 1998 Shape Shifters line as a transforming figure. 1995’s Civilian Wolverine figure, its 10” counterpart and Projector version directly resembled Wolverine’s out-of-costume appearance on the show. Speaking of the Projectors, each figure came with a slide of stills from the cartoon. The Sentinel released in 1994 and the Blackbird Jet released in 1995 took their designs more from the animated series version than the comics. Also in 1995, several previous figures were re-released as part of the Classics line with an animated series theme. Toy Biz also produced a line of CD-Rom comics, which reprinted a primary comic, several secondary comics, and included clips from the series.

A special edition action figure recreating a much-memed scene from the series.

2019 would see a new wave of X-Men merchandise being released, starting with X-Men-themed figurines in WizkidsHeroclix game. The following year, mini-busts of the characters from Gentle Giant Ltd. began releasing though Diamond Select Toys. Beginning in 2022, Hasbro, the current Marvel licensor, began releasing a line of high-end X-Men figures based on the series packaged in mock VHS boxes featuring art by storyboarder Dan Veesenmeyer. That same year, Mondo began producing 1/6 scale figures as part of their X-Men Essentials line, again featuring art from Veesenmeyer including his storyboards and words from the Lewalds. 

Character select screen from X-Men: Children of the Atom.

In 1993, Capcom gained the license to produced video games based on the X-Men. The following year, they released the game that would launch their highly successful Marvel vs. Capcom series of fighting games: X-Men: Children of the Atom. Although it did not feature the same line-up as the cartoon, it did enlist several of the show’s actors including Dodd (who also voiced Iceman), Disher (who voiced all the featured female characters), Buza (who played Colossus, Omega Red, Juggernaut, Magneto and provided announcing duties) and Spencer. Hennessey would fill in additional roles. Zann and Daniels reprised their roles, as did Bennett as Juggernaut and Francks as Sabretooth, for the sequel, X-Men vs. Street Fighter. When the series began to encompass the greater Marvel Universe, Dodd assumed the additional roles of Captain America and U.S. Agent, while Court reprised her role as Jubilee and Bayne as Cable. Their voices would continue on in each of their characters’ appearances throughout the franchise until they were all ultimately replaced in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, accompanying new game sprites. 

Storm and Wolverine married in an alternate timeline.

In 1996, Dodd and Morris would reprise their roles for the PC game X-Men Cartoon Maker by Instinct Corporation and Knowledge Adventure, which allowed users to create their own X-Men cartons featuring sprites with limited animations. In 2000, Buza, Daniels, Disher and Francks would reprise their roles again for the Activision fighting game X-Men: Mutant Academy, which was created to tie into the X-Men film (the characters were playable in both their comic and movie costumes, with approximations created for non-movie characters). Joining them were Hemblen as Magneto, Sealy-Smith as Storm, and Dale as Mystique. Bayne would also reunite with his former cast members, assuming the role of Xavier. Bennett joined the cast in Mutant Academy 2 as did Strange as Forge and Hough as Nightcrawler, and Rod Wilson (who voiced Gorgeous George and Longshot in the show) came in as Cyclops’ brother, Havok. Daniels would be the only actor to reprise his roles in the next follow-up, X-Men: Next Dimension

Sweepstakes promotion for the Generation X pilot movie.

Ratchford had the distinction of not only reprising his role of Banshee in live-action, but having taken part in the first ever live-action X-project: the failed Generation X television pilot, based on the comic series of the same name. When 20th Century Fox moved forward on its live-action film series in 1999, early production for the first film took heavy inspiration from X-Men; particularly with original director Bryan Singer, who only knew of them from the show, and Oscar Isaac, who used it to guide his performance as Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse. In fact, two of the show’s cast would even take part in the films. Buza made a cameo appearance in the first X-Men movie as the trucker who brings Rogue (Anna Paquin) to where she eventually meets Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) in Canada. Hough would appear in X-Men: The Last Stand as young Jean Grey’s (Haley Ramm) father. Additionally, Hemblen was a contender to reprise the role of Magneto in the film series, but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts with his show Earth: Final Conflict.

X-Men has been released numerous times on VHS between the 90s and the early 2000s. Pizza Hut produced two VHS tapes featuring two episodes each and had a round-table discussion between series co-creator Stan Lee, X-Men writers Fabian Nicieza and Scott Lobdell, and X-Men editor Bob Harras. Universal Studios released 16 tapes containing 2-4 episodes each in the early 2000s, as well as three DVD collections featuring five episodes each. In Australia, “Night of the Sentinels” was included in an X-Men branded merchandise bag offered at various county fairs. PolyGram released selected episodes of the series, predominantly from season 1, in various international markets including the original Japanese dubs. In 2008, Morningstar Entertainment released a DVD in Canada featuring the two-part Spider-Man crossover. In 2003, Buena Vista Home Entertainment released two DVD collections before finally releasing the entire series across 5 volumes beginning in 2009. Liberation Entertainment and Clear Vision handled the United Kingdom versions of these DVDs. It was also made available to view on a number of streaming services. In 2019, it became one of the launch titles for the streaming service Disney+.

Professor X in Multiverse of Madness.

After Disney, the current parent company of Marvel, regained the rights to the X-Men franchise by purchasing 20th Century Fox, they began steadily introducing the X-Men into the Marvel Cinematic Universe using the animated series as their gateway. In the Disney+ streaming series Ms. Marvel, a snippet of the theme played when titular character Kamala Kahn (Iman Vellani) was indirectly revealed to be a mutant. Patrick Stewart reprised his role of Professor X from the Fox films in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as a variant of the character; making him the first X-Man to appear in the MCU. He was given an outfit and hoverchair reminiscent of the animated series version, had his powers visually portrayed in a similar circular fashion, and was also accompanied by a snippet of the show’s theme. 

While developing the first season of the animated series What If…?, Marvel Studios was contemplating their next animated project. Ultimately, it was decided on a revival/continuation of X-Men and announced it in November of 2021. X-Men ’97 (named for the year when the show concluded) would become the first X-Men project from the studio, and the first X-Men series since Wolverine and the X-Men ended in 2009. Beau DeMayo was named showrunner, with Houston and the Lewalds serving as consultants. Dodd, Zann, Smith, Buza, Britton and Hough all reprised their respective roles, with Ray Chase taking over Cyclops (Spencer died in 2020), A.J. LoCascio as Gambit, Jennifer Hale as Jean Grey (reprising from Wolverine and the X-Men, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Marvel Anime: X-Men and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3:The Black Order), Holly Chou as Jubilee, Matthew Waterson as Magneto (Hemblen died in 2020), Isaac Robinson-Smith as Bishop, and Ross Marquand as Professor X. Additional original cast members included Court as Abcissa, opting to hand the Jubilee role to someone of Asian descent; Disher as Val Cooper; Bayne as X-Cutioner; Potter assuming the Cable role from Bayne; and Rubin as President Kelly. After following its predecessor’s tradition of production delays, X-Men ’97 landed on Disney+ in March of 2024.


Season 1:
“Night of the Sentinels Part 1” (10/31/92) – The X-Men rescue Jubilee from Sentinels and learn the Mutant Registration Program is really a mutant hit-list.
“Night of the Sentinels Part 2” (10/31/92) – The X-Men destroy the MRP’s mutant files, but not without losing Morph and Beast being arrested.
“Enter Magneto” (11/27/92) – Magneto attempts to free Beast while Cyclops brings an injured Sabretooth to the X-Mansion’s infirmary.
“Deadly Reunions” (1/23/93) – Professor X tries to help Sabretooth against Wolverine’s objections while Magneto attacks a chemical plant to gain Xavier’s attention.
“Captive Hearts” (1/30/93) – Cyclops and Jean are captured by the sewer-dwelling Morlocks and Storm battles their leader for their freedom and leadership of the Morlocks.
“Cold Vengeance” (2/6/93) – Sabretooth ambushes Wolverine in the arctic while Gambit, Storm and Jubilee investigate Genosha Island, a supposedly safe-haven for mutants.
“Slave Island” (2/13/93) – The X-Men learn Genosha enslaves mutants to work on building the factory that houses their Sentinel-producing Master Mold.
“The Unstoppable Juggernaut” (3/6/93) – The X-Men track down Juggernaut after he destroyed the X-Mansion and take him down with the help of the armored Colossus.
“The Cure” (2/20/93) – Rogue seeks out a cure for her powers on Muir Island and almost becomes a slave of Apocalypse.
“Come the Apocalypse” (2/27/93) – Apocalypse turns seekers for his faux-cure into his Horsemen to begin his quest to cull the weak.
“Days of Future Past (Part 1)” (3/13/93) – Bishop is sent back in time by Forge to prevent an X-Man from killing an important political figure, causing the Sentinel-ruled future he lives in.
“Days of Future Past (Part 2)” (3/20/93) – Bishop and the X-Men prevent the assassination of Senator Kelly, but Bishop returns to the future to find nothing has changed.
“The Final Decision” (3/27/93) – Magneto and the X-Men save Senator Kelly from Master Mold, causing him to change his stance on mutants and pardon Beast.
Season 2:
“Till Death Do Us Part (Part 1)” (10/23/93) – Mister Sinister uses a brainwashed Morph to destroy the X-Men.
“Till Death Do Us Part (Part 2)” (10/30/93) – With the X-Men distracted by Morph, Mister Sinister kidnaps Cyclops and Jean.
“Whatever It Takes” (11/6/93) – Rogue accompanies Storm to Africa to free her spiritual son Mjnari from the grips of the Shadow King.
“Red Dawn” (11/13/93) – Colossus asks the X-Men for help in stopping three generals from using revived super-soldier Omega Red from conquering the crumbling Soviet empire.
“Repo Man” (11/20/93) – Alpha Flight captures Wolverine in order to learn the secret of his adamantium skeleton.
“X-Ternally Yours” (12/4/93) – Gambit is forced to return home to participate in a ritual between the Thieves Guild and the Assassins Guild.
“Time Fugitives (Part 1)” (12/11/93) – Cable discovers that Bishop traveling to the past caused a plague to spread by Apocalypse that destroys his own future timeline.
“Time Fugitives (Part 2)” (12/18/93) – Cable comes to the present to stop Bishop and find a way to save his future from Apocalypse’s plague.
“A Rogue’s Tale” (1/8/94) – Mystique forces her foster daughter Rogue to revisit her past.
“Beauty & the Beast” (1/15/94) – Beast falls for his blind patient until the Friends of Humanity kidnap her to get to him.
“Mojovision” (2/5/94) – Mojo kidnaps the X-Men and brings them to the Mojoverse in order to perform in his sadistic television shows.
“Reunion (Part 1)” (2/12/94) – Mister Sinister traps Magneto and Professor X in the Savage Land in order to lure the X-Men there.
“Reunion (Part 2)” (2/19/94) – The X-Men’s powers are neutralized by Sinister’s devices, allowing them to be easily captured by his Nasty Boys and the Savage Land mutates.
Season 3 (* denotes aired in season 5):
“Out of the Past (Part 1)” (7/29/94) – Wolverine’s former lover, Yuriko Oyama, brings Wolverine to the Morlock tunnels in order to open an alien ship she found.
“Out of the Past (Part 2)” (8/5/94) – Wolverine and the newly arrived X-Men must keep the Spirit Drinker from reaching the surface and consuming everyone’s spirits.
“Phoenix Saga (Part 1): Sacrifice” (9/5/94) – After dealing with Erik the Red in space, Jean is possessed by the Phoenix Force while trying to pilot their shuttle back to Earth safely.
“Phoenix Saga (Part 2): The Dark Shroud” (9/6/94) – Jean becomes the Phoenix while Xavier’s dark side manifests as an astral projection bent on destroying the X-Men.
“Phoenix Saga (Part 3): The Cry of the Banshee” (9/7/94) – Shi’ar princess Lilandra comes to Earth seeking protection from her evil brother D’Ken.
“Phoenix Saga (Part 4): The Starjammers” (9/8/94) – The Starjammers steal the M’Kraan Crystal from Lilandra as a plot to get close enough to assassinate D’Ken.
“Phoenix Saga (Part 5): Child of Light” (9/9/94) – D’Ken merges with the M’Kraan Crystal, forcing the X-Men and Shi’ar Imperial Guard to team-up to fight him.
*“No Mutant is an Island” (9/21/96) – A mourning Cyclops quits the X-Men and returns to the orphanage where he was raised, discovering Zebediah Killgrave’s plot involving mutant kids.
“Obsession” (9/24/94) – Former Horseman Archangel becomes obsessed with destroying Apocalypse.
*“Longshot” (10/5/96) – Jubilee befriends Longshot and helps him evade the forces of Mojo hunting him.
(Uncanny Annual 10, X-Men 5-7)
“Cold Comfort” (2/4/95) – Iceman searches for his missing girlfriend, Polaris, whom he finds working with the government team X-Factor.
“Savage Land, Strange Heart (Part 1)” (9/10/94) – Sauron brings Storm to the Savage Land in order to perpetually feed off of her mutant energy.
(Uncanny 114)
“Savage Land, Strange Heart (Part 2)” (9/17/94) – Garokk unites with the Savage Land’s volcano in order to use the planetary force below it.
“The Dark Phoenix Saga (Part 1): Dazzled” (11/12/94) – Phoenix begins to take over Jean, allowing Mastermind to alter her memories and make her an ally of the Hellfire Club.
“The Dark Phoenix Saga (Part 2): The Inner Circle” (11/12/94) – Xavier battles Emma Frost for Jean’s mind while Phoenix becomes intoxicated by the evil sensations unlocked in her.
“The Dark Phoenix Saga (Part 3): The Dark Phoenix” (11/19/94) – Dark Phoenix goes on a rampage and the X-Men are forced to figure out how to remove it without hurting Jean.
“The Dark Phoenix Saga (Part 4): The Fate of the Phoenix” (11/26/94) – The Shi’ar want to destroy Phoenix and the X-Men challenge them to a trial by combat for her fate.
“Orphan’s End” (2/25/95) – Cyclops learns that Corsair is his father and helps him evade Shi’ar forces.
“Love in Vain” (2/10/96) – Wolverine encounters bug-like aliens called “The Colony” who use Rogue’s old boyfriend in a ploy to make her their new queen.
“The Juggernaut Returns” (5/6/95) – The X-Men must save Juggernaut’s life when someone else claims his power.
*“A Deal with the Devil” (9/14/96) – The US Military thaws out Omega Red to investigate a Soviet nuclear submarine in return for his restored humanity.
“Sanctuary (Part 1)” (10/21/95) – Magneto offers safe haven for mutants aboard Asteroid M, but Fabian Cortez takes over and blames the investigating X-Men for Magneto’s disappearance.
“Sanctuary (Part 2)” (10/28/95) – Cortez launches a missile attack on Earth while Rogue tries to find a missing Gambit and help the X-Men.
“Xavier Remembers” (4/27/96) – A concussion leaves Xavier open to invasion by the Shadow King, leaving Jean to try and rescue Xavier from the Astral Plane.
“Courage” (9/23/95) – Morph rejoins the X-Men just in time for a terrorist attack, but encountering Sentinels sends Morph into paralyzing flashbacks.
“Secrets, Not Long Buried” (2/17/96) – Cyclops crashes and discovers a mutant-only town where, due his powers being out, he’s mistaken for a human and hunted.
“Nightcrawler” (5/13/95) – On a ski vacation in Germany, a restless Wolverine hears about a demon in a local monastery and decides to go on the hunt.
Season 4 (* denotes aired in season 5):
“One Man’s Worth (Part 1)” (9/9/95) – Master Mold sends Fitzroy and Bantam back in time to kill Xavier, forcing Bishop and Shard to travel back and prevent the resulting hellish timeline.
“One Man’s Worth (Part 2)” (9/16/95) – Failing to save Xavier, Bishop, Shard, Wolverine and Storm travel to the future in order to go back minutes before Xavier was killed.
“Proteus (Part 1)” (9/30/95) – Moira MacTaggert is forced to call the X-Men for help when her mutant son Proteus escapes Muir Island.
“Proteus (Part 2)” (10/7/95) – Proteus encounters his father, and after a negative reaction goes on a rampage.
“Family Ties” (5/4/96) – The High Evolutionary captures Magneto, Wolverine, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch and discovers Magneto is Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s father.
*“Bloodlines” (10/26/96) – Nightcrawler is lured into a trap under the pretense of helping his estranged mother: Mystique!
“The Lotus and the Steel” (2/3/96) – Wolverine goes to Japan to find himself, but raids on villages led by the Silver Samurai call him back into action.
“Weapon X, Lies and Videotape” (6/11/95) – Wolverine is driven to return to the Weapon X facility, along with Sabretooth, Maverick and Silver Fox.
“Have Yourself a Morlock Little Christmas” (12/23/95) – Last-minute shopping is interrupted when Storm, Jubilee and Wolverine have to rescue Leech of the Morlocks.
“Beyond Good and Evil (Part 1): The End of Time” (11/4/95) – Apocalypse steals Cable’s time machine and goes back, recruiting Mr. Sinister to kidnap psychics around the universe.
“Beyond Good and Evil (Part 2): Promise of Apocalypse” (11/11/95) – Cable steals a new time machine while Bishop ends up trapped in the axis of time.
“Beyond Good and Evil (Part 3): The Lazarus Chamber” (11/18/95) – Cable recruits the X-Men to destroy Apocalypse in the past while Apocalypse plans to recreate the universe.
“Beyond Good and Evil (Part 4): End and Beginning” (11/25/95) – Apocalypse’s allies join the X-Men to stop him while Bishop frees the psychics.
Season 5:
“The Phalanx Covenant (Part 1)” (9/7/96) – The X-Men discover the existence of the alien Phalanx that can assume the guise of anything or anyone.
“The Phalanx Covenant (Part 2)” (9/7/96) – Beast joins forces with Forge, Mr. Sinister and Warlock to stop the Phalanx while Magneto plots to turn the invasion to his advantage.
“Storm Front (Part 1)” (11/2/96) – Akron brings Storm to his planet under the ruse of helping restore meteorological order.
“Storm Front (Part 2)” (11/9/96) – Akron plans to marry Storm while the X-Men arrive and discover that Akron is really a tyrant.
“The Fifth Horseman” (2/8/97) – Apocalypse tasks Cortez with finding him a new body to escape the Astral Plane, and Cortez selects Jubilee.
“Jubilee’s Fairy Tale Theater” (11/16/96) – Trapped in a cave with some children, Jubilee entertains them with a fairy tale starring versions of her friends.
“Old Soldiers” (2/22/97) – Wolverine reminisces about serving in WWII with Captain America as the pair worked to free a scientist from the Red Skull.
“Hidden Agendas” (9/6/97) – Xavier receives a call about new mutant Sam Guthrie whom needs an education about how the world works when an army official attempts to use him.
“Descent” (9/13/97) – A debate about evolution with Dr. James Xavier leads Dr. Nathaniel Essex to experiment on himself, becoming Mr. Sinister.
(Further Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix 1-4)
“Graduation Day” (9/20/97) – Gyrich attacks Xavier with an energy disruptor, forcing Xavier to go to the Shi’ar throneworld with Lilandra for a cure. 

Originally posted in 2015. Updated in 2024.

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