7 Moments from X-Men ’97 we wish we could see for the first time again

X-Men '97 Launch Event
X-Men '97 Launch Event / Alberto E. Rodriguez/GettyImages

Did we really expect anything less than sheer awesomeness from X-Men ’97? As a continuation of the beloved 90s series, it brought a unique feel with its vintage art style and condensed storytelling, tackling multiple plots at once over the course of season one. Sadly, the season felt too short. Beau DeMayo, the creator who was unexpectedly let go, delivered a fantastic story about redemption, acceptance, and prejudice in a way that only the X-Men could. SPOILER ALERT!

One standout episode featured the return of Mojo, a callback to the 90s cartoon where Mojo trapped the X-Men as stars in their own TV show. This time, Jubilee and Sunspot were the ones trapped in a game, adding a fresh yet nostalgic twist. The series was packed with amazing moments, each contributing to the overarching themes, character growth, and narrative of the X-Men universe, but only seven made this list.

7. The Genoshan Massacre

I’m not crying, you’re crying… Okay, so this one is on the list for sheer shock value. Not because it was bad, but because it was a jaw-dropping moment that changed the entire series. Stuff got real—real sad, but in an amazingly creative way.

“Remember It” did a fantastic job with audacious storytelling and fantastic animation. More importantly, it’s amazing for making Gambit look like the hero we all loved. In a sad turn of events, Gambit sacrifices himself at the end of the episode, taking the Master Mold with him. Thanks to his powers, he charged the gigantic Sentinel maker and blew it up. Longtime X-Men fans cannot help but catch the bit of irony in Gambit’s death, which comes after Master Mold killed Magneto and several Morlocks. The irony of it all is that it’s an inverted callback to Gambit’s role in the Mutant Massacre.

This moment not only provided a pivotal shift in the storyline but also deepened the emotional resonance of the series. It showcased the bravery and complexity of Gambit’s character, leaving fans both devastated and in awe of the narrative direction. The Genoshan Massacre is a testament to the series’ bold storytelling and willingness to take risks, cementing its place in X-Men lore.

Cable (voiced by Chris Potter), Jean Grey (voiced by Jennifer Hale), and Cyclops (voiced by Ray Chase) in Marvel Animation's
(L-R): Cable (voiced by Chris Potter), Jean Grey (voiced by Jennifer Hale), and Cyclops (voiced by Ray Chase) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL. /

6. The Summers United

We witnessed a touching moment where the real Jean accepted Nathan, aka Cable, as her own. It was heartwarming to see Cable accept Cyclops as his father, a scene that quickly transitioned into an exhilarating chase that could rival the best of Vin Diesel’s car stunts. Cyclops, firmly gripping the wheel, was pursued by super-powered hybrid human Sentinels through a winding cave. The tension was palpable, with the walls closing in and escape routes dwindling. With nowhere to turn, Cable calmly suggested turning the car into a convertible, adding a touch of humor to the dire situation.

Cyclops, never one to back down, dropped the iconic line, “Let’s show these toasters why you don’t screw with the Summers.” The family’s unity and strength were on full display as they synchronized their attacks. Cyclops and Cable unleashed a barrage of concussive blasts, lighting up the cave with a dazzling display of power. The Sentinels, caught off guard by the coordinated onslaught, were obliterated in a spectacular fashion. This unforgettable moment not only showcased the Summers’ formidable abilities but also highlighted the deep bond between father and son, making it a standout scene in the series.

Rogue (voiced by Lenore Zann) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97
Rogue (voiced by Lenore Zann) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL. /

5. Rogue’s Vengeance

This season saw our favorite Southern belle, Rogue, revert to her wild side with a vengeance. Her mother’s fury boiled to the surface in a way never before depicted in live-action. She lost Gambit, the man she loved, before she could confess her true feelings. Having broken his heart by dancing with Magneto, she was planning to choose Gambit. Tragically, she never got the chance. The loss drove her to a rampage, becoming the embodiment of what humans feared most about mutants.

Rogue tracked down leads with relentless determination, eliminating anyone in her path. Her anger and grief fueled her actions, making her a force of nature. Even Captain America’s shield fell victim to her fury, a testament to the depth of her wrath and power. Rogue's transformation from a conflicted hero to a vengeful avenger was both heartbreaking and thrilling to watch. She channeled her pain into a mission, showing no mercy to those who stood in her way.

This arc added a new layer to Rogue's character, showcasing her strength and vulnerability. It reminded viewers that even the strongest heroes have breaking points and that love and loss can drive them to extraordinary, and sometimes dark, lengths.

Magneto (voiced by Matthew Waterson) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97
Magneto (voiced by Matthew Waterson) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL. /

4. Magneto’s Redemption

Everyone’s favorite anti-villain went full-blown hero in X-Men ’97 when Professor X decided to overthrow Cyclops as head of the X-Men. The man Professor X chose was none other than his frenemy, Magnus “Magneto” Eisenhardt. In his last will and testament, Charles Xavier believed he could compel Magneto to adopt a righteous, non-violent approach with the X-Men. For a while, it worked, leading to a complex journey from villain to anti-hero, culminating in a powerful act of sacrifice that had fans choked up by the end. Magneto even surrendered to the government against his better judgment, and we saw The Trial of Magneto play out on the small screen.

Seeing Magneto step into the X-Mansion to declare he would take Charles’ place was epic. He faced insubordination and side-eyes as the new leader of the X-Men but did his best to prove he was genuinely trying to turn over a new leaf. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, and the end result was Magneto becoming unhinged. Despite his efforts to honor Xavier’s legacy, the pressures and his inherent nature led to a dramatic and tragic downfall. Magneto’s redemption arc in X-Men ’97 was a rollercoaster of emotions, showing off the character’s depth in a series that showed a willingness to tackle complex themes.

Cyclops (voiced by Ray Chase) and Jean Grey (voiced by Jennifer Hale) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97
(L-R): Cyclops (voiced by Ray Chase) and Jean Grey (voiced by Jennifer Hale) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL. /

3. Jean’s Resurrection

We opened up with the X-Men, Cyclops and Jean Grey, expecting a baby. Jean, with a big belly, walked around the mansion, contemplating life after the X-Men. Cyclops wasn’t as excited about the life-altering change a new baby was set to bring. A heartfelt moment unfolded when Storm and Jean sat on the bed, with Jean confiding in Storm about her worries that her son might be born a mutant. It was a truly touching moment between two sisters in all but name.

Then, the bombshell dropped: Jean was dead, and we didn’t even know it. Her sudden return turned Cyclops’ world upside down. The woman Cyclops had been with was revealed to be a clone created by Mister Sinister. This clone, who had been living as Jean, could transform into her evil self in a sequence reminiscent of Sailor Moon. The face-off between the real Jean and her clone was dramatic and unforgettable.

This revelation not only wrecked Cyclops’ perfect life but also added a complex layer to the series. The shocking twist that Jean’s clone was a sinister minion who had been manipulating events all along left fans reeling. This moment embodied the series’ bold storytelling and emotional depth, making it a highlight of X-Men ’97.

Storm (voiced by Alison Sealy-Smith) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97
Storm (voiced by Alison Sealy-Smith) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL. /

2. The Resurgence of Storm

Storm had one heck of an emotional journey, a transition from who she was to what she would become again. One of the standout moments in X-Men ’97 was the resurgence of Storm. The season began with Jean Grey approaching Storm with concerns about her unborn child, worried about the challenges her baby might face if born a mutant. Storm, ever the pillar of strength and calm, reassured Jean, expressing that she valued her powers and the unique life they brought, even over being normal, as it led her to find her family in the X-Men.

In a shocking twist, Storm lost her powers, sacrificing herself to save Magneto. This loss was devastating, leading her to leave the mansion as she battled with her sense of purpose. Stripped of her abilities, Storm struggled with intense self-doubt and existential questions about her identity without her powers.

During her journey, she encountered Forge, sparking a romance that became central to her recovery. Forge played a crucial role in helping Storm rediscover her strength and purpose. Their relationship added depth to the narrative, showcasing a tender, supportive dynamic between two complex characters.

Storm’s fight to regain her mutant abilities, while also battling her internal demons, was a compelling subplot that tied beautifully into the overall storyline. Her return was nothing short of epic, marking a powerful moment of triumph and resilience that resonated deeply with fans.

 Morph (voiced by JP Karliak), Cyclops (voiced by Ray Chase) and Jean Grey (voiced by Jennifer Hale) in Marvel Animation's X-
(L-R): Morph (voiced by JP Karliak), Cyclops (voiced by Ray Chase) and Jean Grey (voiced by Jennifer Hale) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL. /

1. Cyclops’ Meltdown

Remember the flat, goody-two-shoes character from X-Men: The Animated Series? If not, you were probably born in the 2000s, and that’s fine—you missed the dullness of the original Scott Summers. In X-Men ’97, the writers had a mission: to make Cyclops great again. Writer Beau DeMayo and his team did a fantastic job ensuring Cyclops stood out.

Gone was the one-dimensional leader we knew. Instead, we got a Scott Summers who was complex, flawed, and deeply human. His character arc in this series was nothing short of a revelation. The writers dove into his internal struggles, his guilt, and his overwhelming sense of responsibility. They showed us a Cyclops who was no longer just the team’s stoic leader but a man burdened by the weight of his decisions and the loss of his mentor, Professor Xavier.

One of the standout moments was his explosive confrontation with Magneto. Cyclops, pushed to his limits, unleashed his full power in a desperate bid to protect his team and stop Magneto’s destructive plans. It was a raw and emotional scene that highlighted his inner turmoil and determination. The animation and voice acting brought this moment to life, making it a highlight of the series.

The transformation of Cyclops in X-Men ’97 not only revitalized his character but also reminded us why he is a central figure in the X-Men universe.

Next. All 10 X-Men '97 episodes ranked from worst to best. All 10 X-Men '97 episodes ranked from worst to best. dark