X-Men '97's fourth episode could open the door to a long-forgotten team of X-Men not seen in decades

Episode 4 of X-Men '97 was a weird one. Told in two chapters we had a story of Jubilee and Sunspot pulled into a video game, and a story of Storm getting...pulled into a relationship. And somewhere in all this lays the potential for something crazy.
X-MEN '97, exclusively on Disney+. © 2024 MARVEL.
X-MEN '97, exclusively on Disney+. © 2024 MARVEL. /

Episode 4 of X-Men '97 titled "Mojo Mo'Problems" (it wasn't named that but What If....) had a strange first half where Jubilee met with the one problem she missed out on that almost every animated character had to deal with at least once in the '90s. She got pulled into a video game where "if you die in the game, you die in real life." Yup. That old trope.

More specifically Jubilee, who leaves the house in every episode finds herself told she's not allowed to leave the house "because reasons" to celebrate her birthday. Instead of going out, she and Sunspot end up hanging out in her room where they... get pulled into a mysterious device called a Motendo and have to explore a strange new reality.

They quickly find out that they're in the Mojoverse, home of Mojo who, originally, was Marvel's way of manifesting the corporate greed of allowing big media companies to control the narrative. Having Mojo appear in X-Men '97 is a level of irony I don't have room to sidebar into.

While there, he tells them that people are no longer drawn into the show ideas he used to come up with and so he is turning his attention to what he feels is the future of entertainment: video games! From there, Jubilee and Sunspot get pulled into a gaming universe filled with beat 'em-up craziness, obligatory Tron references, the actual line "if you die in the game, you die in real life", and many old-school gaming Easter Eggs.

Many of these references are ones that, in 1997, would have made sense, but there's one that sticks out. There are clear references to the 1992 X-Men arcade game. They get pulled into what looks like the first stage and fight versions of the Sentinels that look just like human-sized Sentinels you can fight millions of in the arcade classic.

Here's why it doesn't make sense. Yet.

While it's impossible to forget the X-Men arcade game if you lived in that time, you might have walked away with questions. Particularly, who's called Dazzler? There's honestly a good reason for that.

X-Men: The Animated Series wasn't the first attempt at an X-Men cartoon. Before that was a VERY short-lived attempt known as "Pryde of the X-Men". It was a story in which Kitty Pryde (serving as an audience surrogate) joins up with the X-Men for the very first time and, in true X-Men fashion, deals with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants almost immediately.

You can watch the pilot episode here complete with a bizarre intro in which live-action Spider-Man talks to the children that were watching and tells them why it's important to vote.

You're gonna notice a couple of things here. Firstly, yes, the art IS really good. The art looks like a great old-school anime with nary any frames of animation recycled and a lot of characters thrown in in interesting ways. This isn't the episode where they deal with a villain. This is the episode where they fight Magneto, White Queen, Toad, Pyro, Blob, AND Juggernaut. And it's done WELL. There's a part where several of the heroes have to fight several of the villains and while the Cyclops versus White Queen fight felt like a foreshadowing to their comic romance decades later, the fight between Wolverine and Toad was honestly really good. And the fight between Blob and Nightcrawler? You know exactly how it's going to do and it's still fantastic.

But despite all this, the show only existed in a straight-to-video, single-episode release never to be talked about again.

But, as the Watcher would say, "what if...". Think about it, Mojo has access to the multiverse. That's where he steals the ideas for his various TV show concepts. So if he knew about the X-Men arcade game that means he knows of a reality where Pryde of the X-Men existed. But what if there's actually a universe out there where this team exists for real?

Sure, the likelihood of them actually bringing the Pryde of the X-Men team in is little but in a show like this where they're in such a hurry to sloppily shoehorn in so many references, it seems like it could be plausible. Maybe even spin-off potential.

Personally, I'd love to see it. Maybe an older virtual Jubilee showing up with an older version of the Pryde team. Dare to dream.

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