Generation X
Official release poster
Based on
Generation X
Written byEric Blakeney[1]
Directed byJack Sholder[1]
StarringMatt Frewer
Finola Hughes
Music byJ. Peter Robinson[2]
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producers
ProducersDavid Roessell
Matthew Edelman (associate)
Production locationVancouver[2]
CinematographyBryan England[2]
EditorMichael Schweitzer[2]
Running time87 minutes
Production companies
Budget$4 million[4]
Original release
ReleaseFebruary 20, 1996 (1996-02-20)

Generation X is a television pilot directed by Jack Sholder that aired on Fox on February 20, 1996. It was later broadcast as a television film. It is based on the Marvel comic book series of the same name, a spin-off of the X-Men franchise. It was produced by New World Entertainment and Marvel Entertainment Group.[5][2][6]


Rebellious teenager Jubilation Lee (Heather McComb) finds herself in trouble after her mutant "fireworks" power manifests itself at a local arcade. She is rescued from her predicament by Emma Frost (Finola Hughes) and Sean Cassidy (Jeremy Ratchford), the headmasters of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. They recruit "Jubilee" and offer her sanctuary at the school, a place where mutants learn to control their powers. The trio then picks up teenager Angelo "Skin" Espinosa (Agustin Rodriguez) and proceed to the school where Jubilee and Skin are introduced to their fellow students; M (Amarilis), Mondo (Bumper Robinson), Buff (Suzanne Davis) and Refrax (Randall Slavin). At the school the students are taught not only to cope with their mutant powers but also with a world that fears and hates them. The students are warned not to leave the school grounds lest they come into conflict with the "townies" from the local area.

In addition to coping with their new abilities, Jubilee and Skin find their dreams haunted by Russel Tresh (Matt Frewer), a mad scientist obsessed with the power of dreams. Tresh once worked with Emma Frost as a researcher on a project to develop a "dream machine" to access the dream dimension but he was fired from the team when Emma discovered his unethical behavior. Tresh believes that material extracted from mutants' brains will allow him to develop his own psychic abilities. Although Jubilee is able to resist Tresh somewhat, Skin finds himself drawn to Tresh and his promises, and unknowingly falls victim to the scientist. Instructors Frost and Cassidy soon find themselves leading the novice team against an enhanced Tresh in order to rescue the enthralled Skin - a conflict which sees the youngsters pull together as a team and leaves a catatonic Tresh trapped in the "dream dimension".

Movie prologue

The following is a prologue quote that appeared at the beginning of the film, which was later emulated in the X-Men theatrical films with similar defining quotes on mutation and evolution, respectively, albeit in voice-over rather than on-screen text:

Mutation: n. 1. The act of being altered or changed. 2. The illegal genetic condition [US Statute 5504178], first apparent in puberty, caused by the X factor located in the pineal gland of the brain.



The film was planned to air during sweeps as Fox was confident it would make a strong impact, and had a budget of over $4m. Producer Eric Blakeney hoped it would lead to further Generation X TV movies, or a full series. New World Enterprises kept strong security over the script, which was not allowed to be viewed by the press. Blakeney had previously worked on 21 Jump Street, and saw common ground between the teenage mutants and real-life teenagers, noting "I remember what it was like to be a teenager, and everything is wrong in your skin.". Director Jack Sholder had experience on a comics property before, having directed an episode of Tales from the Crypt, which was loosely inspired by EC Comics' horror comic of the same name.[7]

Budgetary reasons meant a direct translation of the comic was impossible. The most notable casualties were the characters of Chamber and Husk.[7] In the comic, Chamber had his chest and the lower half of his face destroyed when his powers emerged, with the resulting cavity permanently filled with plasma energy, while Husk sheds her skin revealing an epidermis of a different composition beneath.[4][8] Instead, the film's producers consulted with Generation X comic writer Scott Lobdell to create two new characters - Refrax (Kurt Pastorius) and Buff (Arlee Hicks), and suggested that if they proved popular they might be added to the comic itself, and featured in Toy Biz's X-Men action figure range.[7]

Other changes were made to the characters in the development of this film. Jubilation "Jubilee" Lee, for example, was not portrayed as a character of Asian descent, despite the X-Men comics and broadcast series having portrayed her as Chinese American. Ironically, Sandra Oh auditioned for the part of Emma Frost.[1] Two new characters, Buff and Refrax, were created to replace characters from the comics.[8]


The film was shot in British Columbia over the course of 24 days.[7] The mansion used for the Xavier Institute is Hatley Castle, which was also used as Xavier's school in the films X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse and Deadpool 2.[1]


Just before the release, the TV special was testing the waters for a series of TV movies instead of a TV series.[4] Generation X was broadcast on Fox as part of the Fox Tuesday Night at the Movies[2] on February 20, 1996.[1] The movie tied for 72nd out of 108 Nielsen-rated programmes.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Exclusive: Director Jack Sholder on Fox's Generation X, controversial castings and the X-Men effect". Blastr (now syfywire). Archived from the original on 14 June 2021. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Fox Tuesday Night at the Movies Generation X". Variety. 20 February 1996. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  3. ^ McCaffery, James (1996-02-19). "Movie Banks on Popularity Carrying Over". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Archived from the original on 2019-04-07. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  4. ^ a b c d McCaffrey, James (February 19, 1996). "Movie Banks on Popularity Carrying Over". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2018-03-31. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  5. ^ "The History of Wolverine and the X-Men on TV". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
  6. ^ "Marvel In The 90's: GENERATION X". Twitch Film. Archived from the original on 2014-08-24. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Allstetter, Rob (February 1996). "Mutant '90210'". Wizard. No. 54. Wizard Entertainment.
  8. ^ a b Goldman, Eric (September 20, 2013). "Before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Marvel's TV History, From Spider-Man to Blade". IGN. ZiffDavis. p. 2. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  9. ^ "The Big Shots - 1996 (so far...)". Wizard. No. 60. Wizard Entertainment. August 1996.