|Genre||Superhero, Action/Adventure, Science Fiction|
|Created by|| Stan Lee|
|Starring|| Cedric Smith|
Cathal J. Dodd
|Country of Origin|| United States|
|No. of Seasons||5|
|No. of Episodes||76 (List of Episodes)|
|Executive Producer(s)||Avi Arad|
|Running Time||22 minutes (approx.)|
|Production Company(s)|| Marvel Entertainment Group|
Saban Entertainment, Inc.
Marvel Studios (1997)
|Original Channel||Fox (Fox Kids)|
|Original Run||October 31, 1992 – September 20, 1997|
The show was both critically acclaimed and commercially successful. Along with Batman: The Animated Series, the series success helped launch numerous comic book shows in the 1990s. In its prime, X-Men garnered very high ratings for a Saturday morning cartoon, and like Batman: The Animated Series, it received wide critical praise for its portrayal of many different storylines from the comics.
The show features X-Men similar in look and line-up to the early 1990s X-Men drawn by Jim Lee (more specifically, Cyclops' Blue Team, established in the early issues of the second X-Men comic series), composed of Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Beast, Gambit, Jubilee, Jean Grey, Professor X, as well as an original character, Morph.
A number of famous storylines and events from the comics are loosely adapted in the series, such as "The Dark Phoenix Saga", "Days of Future Past", the "Phalanx Covenant", and the "Legacy Virus". The third episode, "Enter Magneto", features a confrontation at a missile base: this is largely based on the X-Men's first battle with Magneto, as told in their 1963 debut The X-Men #1. The season four episodes "Sanctuary, Parts I & II", which involve Magneto creating an orbiting haven for mutants, were influenced by several storylines from the comics, chiefly the first three issues of X-Men (Volume 2) and the "Fatal Attractions" crossover. An Age of Apocalypse-like time-line is shown in the episode "One Man's Worth". The entire saga of the Phoenix is retold and adapted in the third season, subdivided into the five-part "Phoenix Saga", in which Jean acquires the power of the Phoenix and the battle for the M'Kraan Crystal occurs, and the "Dark Phoenix Saga", showcasing the battle with the Hellfire Club, the Phoenix Force's transformation into Dark Phoenix, and the battle to decide her fate. These particular episodes were so closely adapted from their comic counterpart that the episodes have the additional credit, "Based on stories by Chris Claremont".
Prejudice, intolerance, isolation, and racism were all frequent themes in the animated series, as they were in the comics. Anti-mutant prejudice and discrimination was depicted through minor characters as well as more prominent ones, including Senator Robert Kelly, the Friends of Humanity (whose activities and masks in later episodes echoed white supremacy groups such as the Ku Klux Klan) and robotic Sentinels. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Professor Xavier and Magneto, much like their comic-book counterparts, bear similarities to civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, respectively. While Xavier advocates non-violence in the struggle for equality, Magneto takes on a more aggressive 'by any means necessary' stance; the duo's differing views are the source of much discussion throughout the series.
The series also deals with other social issues, including divorce ("Proteus"), Christianity ("Nightcrawler" & "Bloodlines"), the Holocaust ("Enter Magneto," "Deadly Reunions", "Days of Future Past", and "The Phalanx Covenant"), AIDS hysteria ("Time Fugitives"), and even satires of television itself ("Mojovision" and "Longshot").
X-Men also crossed over with fellow Marvel animated series Spider-Man, when Spider-Man seeks out the X-Men's help to stave off his progressing mutation. In the abbreviated form of the Secret Wars storyline, the Beyonder and Madame Web selected Spider-Man to lead a team of heroes including Storm) against a group of villains. One completely written chapter of "Secret Wars" involved the X-Men, but transporting the X-Men cast to L.A. (where production for the Spider-Man animated series was based) from Canada (where the X-Men animated series was based) was too costly, so the episode was dropped and only Storm was used as Iona Morris lived in L.A. Hulk and She-Hulk weren't used in these episodes because the Hulk animated series was on a different network, UPN.
The first season of the show brought the X-Men into conflict with human conspirators building mutant-exterminating Sentinel robots, Magneto and his attempts to instigate a human-mutant war, and the powerful mutant Apocalypse's plans to eradicate the weak, both human and mutant alike. Other storylines including X-Men member Morph's death at the hands of Sentinels, Beast's incarceration, and an assassination attempt on US senator Kelly by Apocalypse's minions to turn human sentiment against the mutants.
The second season sees Cyclops and Jean get married and become the targets of Mister Sinister, who hopes to use the genetically perfect combination of their DNA to create an army of obedient mutants. Morph returns, having been rescued by Sinister and brainwashed into forcing the X-Men apart. The season also features the growing rift between humans and mutants, spearheaded by the Friends of Humanity, an anti-mutant group who lead the persecution of all mutants. Apocalypse also returns, developing a deadly plague to be blamed on mutants, fuelling mutant hatred.
The third season focuses on the cosmic force, the Phoenix, which merges with Jean Grey and eventually turns her into the malevolent and powerful Dark Phoenix. The season also introduced the Shi'ar Empire who want to stop the Dark Phoenix, including Liandra and Gladiator. Other storylines include the introduction of Wolverine's former lover turned mercenary, Lady Deathstrike, former X-Men member Iceman, and the villainous Shadow King.
Cyclops / Scott Summers (voiced by Norm Spencer) — Cyclops is the field commander of the X-Men. This version of Cyclops is very similar to the comic book version. While he is generally stiff, he has expressed doubts to his own leadership from time to time. His love is Jean Grey, who he eventually marries towards the end of the series. Cyclops is shown to be in his late twenties. His eyes emit a powerful burst of light energy that can cause devastating damage. He can only control them if he closes his eyes or hides them behind ruby-quartz crystals (usually in the form of sunglasses).
Wolverine / Logan (voiced by Cathal J. Dodd) — Wolverine is nearly taken straight from the comics. Though he never kills his opponents, it has been implied several times that he would if the other X-Men were not there to hold him back. He dons the classic yellow and blue costume from the comics. Wolverine is also in love with Jean Grey, who is Cyclops's girlfriend for most of the series. This and Cyclops's decision to leave Morph and Beast behind following an attack from the Sentinels led to Wolverine feeling a great resentment for the X-Men leader. Wolverine remembers very little about his past. One difference from the comic version is that Wolverine actually sees the claws when they first come out his hands. Wolverine's mutation is an incredible regenerative power and heightened senses. His claws and adamantium endoskeleton are not part of his original mutant abilities and are, while considered unique, an artificial addition.
Rogue (voiced by Lenore Zann) — In her green and yellow costume with a brown leather jacket, Rogue is virtually interchangeable with her early 1990s comic incarnation. She speaks in a sassy, Southern accent and generally has an attitude of good-humored irreverence. Her impressive powers of super-strength, invulnerability, and flight are frequently demonstrated early in the series. Also in line with the comics are her deeply harbored, usually hidden feelings of isolation. Gambit flirts with her, and though she feels equally attracted to him, her fear of harming him with her powers causes her to push him away, thus driving her to further solitary, brooding soul-searching. She was the adopted daughter of Mystique, after running away from home when her father rejected her for being a mutant. Like her comic book counterpart, she put her boyfriend, Cody, in a coma when her powers manifested during her first kiss. Rogue is shown in her mid-twenties. Rogue has the ability to draw a human's energy from a mere touch, causing unconsciousness and, in some cases, elongated comas. This allows her to absorb their psyche, skills, and powers for a short time. Her powers of super strength and flight are revealed to have come from Ms. Marvel, who Rogue nearly killed by draining so much of her energy that the absorbed powers became permanent, and Ms. Marvel fell into an almost permanent coma.
Storm / Ororo Munroe (voiced by Iona Morris (1992-1993); Alison Sealy-Smith (1993–1997)) — Storm's origins are very true to the comics. She was orphaned at an early age and spent her childhood living on the streets, often stealing in order to survive. Early in the series, Storm defeats Callisto to become the leader of the Morlocks, a position she later gives back to Calisto. Like her comic counterpart, Storm is claustrophobic. Storm is capable of controlling weather of all varieties to a large array of manifestations. She can also use bursts of wind to enable her power of flight.
Beast / Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy (voiced by George Buza) — Beast is seen as the gentle giant. Beast is kind-hearted and highly intellectual. In the episode "Beauty and the Beast" (season 2), Beast's other side is shown when he falls in love with a young blind patient whom he is treating, and the Friends of Humanity kidnap her. Beast shows his natural aggression when invading their headquarters. His natural powers are supreme agility and super strength. An experiment to remove him of his powers, however, caused him to grow blue fur and mutated his body to that somewhat akin to a gorilla.
Gambit / Remy LeBeau (voiced by Chris Potter (1992-1996); Tony Daniels (1997)) — Gambit is originally from New Orleans and speaks with a thick Cajun accent. He is seen as the very laid-back character. Gambit's past is explored in the episode "X-ternally Yours" (season 2), revealing his affiliation with the civil war between thieves and assassins. As mentioned before, he is seen flirting with Rogue whenever possible. They both share an obscure relationship, but as the series goes on their relationship develops into a more mature, loving one. While outwardly Gambit is shown to have a cocky bravado personality, several episodes reveal that he has a deeper side, showing his strong sense of honor and devout loyalty to those he considers family (namely the X-Men), like in the episode "Sanctuary (part 2)," when Gambit sacrifices himself in order to let the others escape. In the episode "X-ternally Yours," Remy passes up the chance to wipe out the Assassins Guild and chooses the X-Men over any ties he has to either guild, telling Belladonna Boudreaux, "I am not Thief, or Assassin. I am an X-Man, and I'm never coming back." Gambit is shown to be in his late twenties. Gambit is able to charge any object with a kinetic energy and, when thrown, these objects become explosive. His durable strength and agility possibly also come from this ability, charging himself with a potent amount of energy to undertake many tasks that normal humans cannot perform.
Jubilee / Jubilation Lee (voiced by Alyson Court) — The youngest of the X-Men, Jubilee was an orphan and was sent to many foster homes. In the first episode, she was captured by the Mutant Control Agency as bait to draw out the X-Men, but was rescued at the end. Jubilee is a some-what carefree girl, who wants to be seen as an adult in the eyes of her counterparts. Nevertheless, the team appreciate her involvement in the team. Her costume is the same as it is the comics. She is always trying to get involved in the missions, but is always excluded because of her age, much to her frustration. Jubilee is able to create pyro-kinetic sparks from her hands, which she can use to strike things from a distance, or disable machinery from her very touch.
Jean Grey / Phoenix (voiced by Catherine Disher) — As in the comics, Jean Grey is the heart-and-soul figure of the X-Men, usually seen at the side of Professor X as he discusses the purposes and activities of the team. Her costume is basically the one introduced in Uncanny X-Men #281 when she joined Storm's Gold Team, although her red hair is tied-back rather than hanging loose. Her and Scott's relationship is deepened and she takes on a central role in the "Phoenix Saga." Unlike most adaptations, in the animated series Jean was Xavier's first student. Jean has mastered the skill of telekinesis, the ability to move objects with her mind, along with some minor telepathic skill similar to Professor X. Her powers manifest themselves and she is possessed by the alien entity, the Phoenix, whose powers expand upon her own, but eventually turn to evil when she refuses to leave the sensation of being in a human body.
Professor Charles Xavier (voiced by Cedric Smith) — The founder of the X-Men, Professor Xavier is very similar to his comic book counterpart, and his friendship with Magneto is explored in greater detail during this series. Differing slightly from the comics, Xavier is stated to have lost the use of his legs "battling Magneto" in the episode "Sanctuary" and instead of a wheelchair, he uses a yellow hover-chair. He is shown at times to be a lonely man, such as when he sadly watches Moira MacTaggart and Banshee embrace. In the "Phoenix Saga," Xavier's dark side briefly manifests itself. Charles possesses supremely powerful telepathic abilities, allowing him to see peoples' minds or to control their thoughts or actions, though the latter is not used for his personal gain.
In 1991, Margaret Loesch became head of Fox Children's Network. Having championed the Pryde of the X-Men pilot in 1989, she was quick to set up an order for 13 episodes of X-Men. X-Men was originally to premiere over the Labor Day weekend in September; however, due to production delays, it was pushed to the end of October. Moreover, when the animation team AKOM turned in the first episode, it contained hundreds of animation errors, which AKOM refused to fix. Because of time constraints, the episode was aired as is. The second episode was turned in just before deadline, with 50 scenes missing and only a single day reserved for editing. The "Night of the Sentinels" two-part episode originally aired as a "sneak preview".
Because of the production delays and animation errors in these two episodes, Fox threatened to sever AKOM's contracts. When Fox re-aired the pilot in early 1993, the errors were all corrected. The series earned top ratings throughout its first season, and was renewed for a second season of 13 episodes. X-Men stands as the longest-running Marvel Comics-based show, lasting 76 episodes. The second longest, the 1990s Spider-Man animated series, lasted 65 episodes.
After the box office success of the live-action X-Men film in the summer of 2000, Fox began airing reruns of the cartoon on weekday afternoons. At first, only episodes that primarily featured content in the movie were broadcast. Later, the series was aired in proper order, but the series was pulled from the air in early 2001. Soon after, ABC Family and Toon Disney began airing reruns, due to Disney's buyout of all Saban Entertainment programs. The series was taken off the air again after Toon Disney was discontinued and Disney XD took over.
X-Men has a total of 76 episodes spread over 5 seasons that were produced from October 1992 to September 1997.