‘X-Men ’97’ Just Changed Everything With Its Latest Episode


Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for X=Men ’97 Episode 5.

The Big Picture

  • X-Men ’97
    returns to the central mutant struggle in a tragic Episode 5.
  • Episode 5 blends dark
    comic book arcs, creating a heartbreaking story.
  • Time travel and mutant massacres tie the story to iconic X-Men tales.

After two episodes that delved into more wildly unusual fantasy, the latest installment of X-Men ’97 returns to the franchise’s central allegorical story of mutants’ struggle for acceptance in the most dramatic possible way. “Remember It” initially seemed like another episode heavily focused on the tangled web of romantic drama among the X-Men before its final moments transformed it into a brutal tragedy that could fundamentally alter the future of the series. Here is a look at how the series masterfully blended four of the darkest and most iconic X-Men comic book arcs to create one heartbreaking, eerily relevant story.

X-Men ’97

A band of mutants use their uncanny gifts to protect a world that hates and fears them; they’re challenged like never before, forced to face a dangerous and unexpected new future.

Release Date
March 20, 2024

Jennifer Hale , Cal Dodd , Chris Potter , Catherine Disher , Adrian Hough , Ray Chase , Lenore Zann


Number of Episodes

Streaming Service(s)


‘X-Men ’97’ Brings Tragedy Back to Genosha

In “Remember It”, internal problems threaten to tank the X-Men’s public image while a television news feature on the team is being shot. Meanwhile, Remy LeBeau/Gambit (A.J. LoCascio), Rogue (Lenore Zann), and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Matthew Waterson) travel to the mutant nation of Genosha, which was recently admitted into the United Nations. When the Genoshan council tells Magneto they want him to serve as the nation’s leader, he says he will do it if Rogue joins him as his queen, exacerbating the jealousy that Gambit’s been feeling since Rogue has been getting closer to the Master of Magnetism. Although Rogue initially accepts, with Gambit honorably agreeing to just be friends with her, she changes her mind after sharing a floating dance and kiss with Erik.

But before she can presumably reignite her fan-favorite romance with Gambit, the island is attacked by an enormous, three-headed Sentinel, which deploys dozens more of the mutant-hunting robots, which go on a killing spree. Although they fight valiantly, many mutants are killed, including Erik himself, who appears to be vaporized by a Sentinel energy blast while protecting Gambit and Rogue and telling Leech (David Errigo Jr.), a mutant boy who idolizes him, not to be afraid. After stopping Rogue from going on a suicidal attack against the main Sentinel, Gambit instead sacrifices himself, destroying it but sustaining a mortal stab wound in the process. The rest of the team watches news footage of the attack’s aftermath in horror, with Scott Summers/Cyclops (Ray Chase) demanding to know how many mutants were killed.

“Remember It” Is Inspired by Grant Morrison’s First X-Men Story

The attack on Genosha and the design of the wild Sentinel are directly adapted from “E is For Extinction”, the first story arc in Grant Morrison’s groundbreaking run on New X-Men that started in 2001. In that arc, the attack is masterminded by Cassandra Nova, the alien being believed to be Professor Charles Xavier’s evil twin, who seeks to destroy all mutants to spite Charles. Magneto is presumed dead in that version of the attack as well, although he is later revealed to have survived. Nova succeeds in wiping out the rest of Genosha’s population, including more than sixteen million mutants, in an event that continues to influence the Marvel Universe more than two decades later. Although the frequent references to Genosha’s new status as a mutant haven throughout the previous episodes led fans to expect some sort of adaptation of the story, it is still surprising that the animated series, which is produced by the usually family friendly Marvel Studios, was free to follow the canon so closely, with such graphically disturbing violence and images.

The Episode Also Recalls the Mutant Massacre

X-Men 97 Episode 3
Image via Disney+

But while “E is For Extinction” remains arguably the worst, there are plenty more tragedies in the X-Men’s history and the series includes aspects of some of these other stories in “Remember It” as well. “Mutant Massacre” was a 1986 Marvel crossover encompassing the X-Men franchise and other comics. In it, Mister Sinister’s Marauders launch a horrific attack on the Morlocks, a group of mutants who live in the sewers beneath New York City to avoid persecution. Although the X-Men and other superheroes such as Thor and Daredevil stand against them, the Marauders successfully kill many of the Morlocks and seriously injure several of the crime fighters. In “Remember It”, many of the Morlocks have taken up residence in Genosha and their neighborhood becomes a focal point for the attack, with Leech and several other members of the group among the casualties.

‘X-Men ’97’ Pays Tribute to the Krakoan Hellfire GalasSarah and Archangel from X-Men '97

Genosha was the most well-known mutant nation in the comics, but it has not been the last. In 2019, Jonathan Hickman’s House of X and Powers of X started a new era for the X-Men franchise in which most of Earth’s mutants united as the nation of Krakoa, living on the sentient island of the same name. This was a time of previously unknown prosperity for the mutants, which was emphasized by the Hellfire Gala, a lavish annual celebration in which Krakoa welcomed guests from around the world, with both Marvel characters and real-world celebrities making guest appearances in the comics depicting the Galas. The celebration for Erik’s planned coronation in “Remember It” comes across as a tribute to these popular recent stories. And the Hellfire Galas themselves often end in disaster, with the latest one in 2023 signaling the beginning of the end of the Krakoa era, so the bloody conclusion of the episode does not conflict with the homage.


This X-Men Villain Is a Parody of TV Executives

Imagine if they all looked like this.

Time Travel Could Tie the Story to Days of Future PastPromotional image for 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' featuring the cast led by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

Immediately before the attack begins, Madelyne Pryor (Jennifer Hale), the clone of Jean Grey (Hale) who had recently started working on the Genoshan council after leaving the X-Men, encounters time-traveling mutant warrior and X-Men ally Cable (Chris Potter). Madelyne realizes that Cable is an adult version of her and Scott’s son, Nathan. He urges her to evacuate the island, frantically warning “he’s coming,” but his computer teleports him away before he can fully explain. This makes it seem like Cable knew about the impending attack. Before his involuntary teleportation, he says, “Not again,” suggesting that he may have already gone back in time to try to prevent the tragedy at least once, indirectly recalling yet another famous X-Men tale.

“Days of Future Past” was a two-issue arc in TheUncanny X-Men published in 1981 in which an older version of Katherine “Kitty” Pryde travels back in time into the body of her younger self to change history and prevent the birth of the post-apocalyptic timeline she comes from, in which the Sentinels have conquered America and wiped out most of the mutant race. The story was adapted into a 2014 film, one of the most popular and critically acclaimed of the live-action X-Men franchise, with Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) taking the central time-traveling role. The second issue in the comic arc is famous for its cover which declared “This issue: everybody dies,” alluding to a sequence in which most of the surviving mutants in the post-apocalyptic future, including famous X-Men like Logan, Storm, and Colossus, are killed in their last, desperate battle against the Sentinels. The film followed suit, with all the characters in the future timeline shown dying or about to die before Logan’s mission successfully alters the past.

X-Men: The Animated Series, which X-Men ’97 serves as a continuation of, already featured a rather faithful adaptation of “Days of Future Past”. And despite his habit of time traveling, Cable isn’t involved in either the original comic or the film, having not even been created at the time of the former’s publication. But the combination of time travel and a mutant genocide still recalls the famous story and suggests that some of the events of “Remember It” may be changed, with the X-Men presumably helping Cable succeed in his mission in the upcoming episodes. However, while this would certainly make for a more uplifting viewing experience, undoing all the events of “Remember It” may not result in the most powerful possible story. Like most great X-Men tales, “Remember It” is extremely relevant to current events in the real world and the creators deserve credit for making such an effectively frightening depiction of the horrors that can be caused by bigotry. Completely erasing the consequences of the terrifying episode could be a big mistake, as it would make the series feel less realistic and honest.

X-Men ’97 is Available to Stream on Disney+

Watch Now


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *