X-Men: The Animated Series
GenreSuperhero
Based on
X-Men
by
Developed by
  • Eric Lewald
  • Sidney Iwanter
  • Mark Edens
Voices of
Theme music composerRon Wasserman
Composers
Country of origin
  • United States
  • Canada[a]
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes76 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Producers
Running time22 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkFox
ReleaseOctober 31, 1992 (1992-10-31) –
September 20, 1997 (1997-09-20)
Related

X-Men, also known as X-Men: The Animated Series (often shortened as X-Men TAS or XTAS), is an animated superhero television series that debuted in the United States on October 31, 1992, on Fox's Fox Kids programming block.[5] It was Marvel Comics' second attempt at an animated X-Men television series after the pilot X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men was not picked up.[6]

Production

In March 1990, Margaret Loesch became head of Fox Children's Network.[7] Having championed the Pryde of the X-Men pilot in 1989, she soon ordered 13 episodes of X-Men.[4] Saban Entertainment was contracted to produce the show and hired a small studio, Graz Entertainment, to produce episodes because, at the time, they lacked sufficient staff to handle in-house production. Graz employed the creative staff, wrote and designed each episode, and drew the storyboards. The voice work was done through Canadian studios and South Korean studio AKOM was hired to animate episodes. X-Men was originally set to premiere over Labor Day weekend in September; however, due to production delays, it was delayed to the end of October. When AKOM turned in the first episode, it contained several animation errors, which they refused to fix. Because of time constraints, the episode was aired in an unfinished form;[4] when Fox re-aired the pilot in early 1993, the errors were corrected.[8] The second episode was submitted just before the deadline, with 50 scenes missing and a single day reserved for editing.[4] The two-part episode "Night of the Sentinels" originally aired as a "sneak preview" on October 31.[9]

Because of the production delays and animation errors, Fox threatened to sever AKOM's contracts.[4] The series earned top ratings throughout its first season,[4] and was renewed for a second season of 13 episodes. Throughout its run, producers had to deal with quality control issues, including attempts to cut costs and requests to change the tone of the series to more child-friendly and integrate toys.[3]

The show was originally planned to run for 65 episodes, but as a result of its success, Saban funded eleven more episodes, albeit with a reduced budget due to Marvel's bankruptcy.[10]

The series was added to Disney+ following its launch on November 12, 2019, with a revival subsequently announced to be in development.[11][12]

Synopsis

Main article: List of X-Men: The Animated Series episodes

The show features a team similar to that of the early 1990s X-Men comics by Jim Lee, specifically the Blue Team established early on in X-Men (vol. 2). It consists of Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Beast, Gambit, Jubilee, Jean Grey, and Professor X, as well as original character Morph, who is based on Changeling.[citation needed]

The series deals with social issues, including divorce ("Proteus"), Christianity ("Nightcrawler" and "Bloodlines"), the Holocaust ("Enter Magneto", "Deadly Reunions", "Days of Future Past" and "The Phalanx Covenant") AIDS hysteria ("Time Fugitives"), and loneliness ("No Mutant Is an Island"). It also satirizes television in the episodes "Mojovision" and "Longshot".

It crossed over with Spider-Man when Spider-Man seeks the X-Men's help to stop his progressing mutation. In the abbreviated form of the Secret Wars storyline, the Beyonder and Madame Web select Spider-Man to lead a team of heroes against a group of villains. An earlier draft of "Secret Wars" involved all the X-Men, but transporting the voice cast from Canada to Los Angeles, where production for the Spider-Man animated series was based, had been too costly in previous crossovers, so the episode was rewritten to feature only Storm, whose actress, Iona Morris, lived in Los Angeles. Hulk and She-Hulk were excluded because[citation needed] the Incredible Hulk animated series, which featured them, was airing on rival network UPN.[13]

In the first season, the X-Men come into conflict with human conspirators building Sentinel robots to kill mutants, Magneto's plan to instigate a human-mutant war, and the powerful mutant Apocalypse's plan to eradicate the weak. Other storylines include X-Men member Morph's death at the hands of the Sentinels, Beast's incarceration, and Apocalypse's minions attempting to assassinate U.S. Senator Kelly to turn humans against mutants.

In the second season, Cyclops and Jean are married and soon targeted by Mister Sinister, who seeks 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. Over time, a rift grows between humans and mutants, with the Friends of Humanity, an anti-mutant group, leading their persecution. Apocalypse also returns, developing a deadly plague that he plans to blame on mutants to fuel hatred against them. It also features a parallel narrative of Professor X and Magneto being lost in the Savage Land.

The third season focuses on the cosmic force, the Phoenix, which merges with Jean Grey and turns her into the Dark Phoenix. It also introduces the Shi'ar Empire, which includes Lilandra and Gladiator and seeks to stop the Dark Phoenix. Other storylines include the introduction of Wolverine's former lover turned mercenary, Lady Deathstrike, former X-Men member Iceman, and the villainous Shadow King.

Volume 5 of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Hardcovers lists the cartoon as part of the Marvel multiverse, inhabiting Earth-92131. As well, the plague-infested future that Bishop tries to prevent in Season 2 is listed as Earth-13393, while Cable's release of the cure is listed as Earth-121893.

Adaptations

Although most of the series' stories are original, several storylines and events from the comics are loosely adapted, including:

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Voice cast

See also: List of X-Men: The Animated Series characters

The series' voice acting was recorded in Toronto studios, with Dan Hennessey serving as voice director. Toronto voice actors had also been used in the 1960s Marvel Comics cartoons.

Principal cast

Additional cast

Other versions

The original opening sequence, used throughout the first four seasons, features the X-Men demonstrating their mutant abilities to an instrumental theme written by Ron Wasserman. A modified version is introduced in season five, episode one ("Phalanx Covenant, Part One"), which slightly changes the beginning of the theme. When UPN began airing reruns on Sunday mornings, an alternate credits sequence was used: a high-quality Japanese-animated version of the original opening. This modified version occasionally appears in the digital streaming release of the show, which was used for re-runs on Toon Disney.[citation needed]

In Italy, where the series began airing in 1994 on Canale 5, the intro and outro sequences were replaced by a new sequence and theme song: Insuperabili X-Men, sung by Marco Destro and Pietro Ubaldi.[14]

X-Men originally aired on TV Tokyo from 1994 to 1995. For the TV Tokyo dub of the series, the intro was replaced with a new, Japanese-animated sequence and a new theme: Rising (ライジング, Raijingu) by Ambience. Starting with episode 42, a second intro was used, featuring the song Dakishimetai Dare Yori Mo (抱きしめたい誰よりも). The end credits sequence was also changed: it featured shots of American X-Men comic books set to the song Back to You (バック・トウ・ユー, Bakku Tou Yū), also by Ambience.

The TV Tokyo dub was directed by Yoshikazu Iwanami and featured scripts rewritten to include a more humorous, self-satirical tone and with an emphasis on comical adlibbing, a hallmark of his dubbing style. Episodes were edited for time so that new segments could be added to the end to promote X-Men: Children of the Atom, which featured the dub actors pretending to play the game as their characters. A second dub was made in the early 2000s for broadcast on Toon Disney (Japan), which was more faithful to the original English scripts and did not cut episodes for time. This version used the original American intro and end credits rather than the unique ones created for the TV Tokyo version.

Two versions of the episode "No Mutant is an Island" exist, each with different animation. The first version was aired for Toon Disney reruns, can be seen on digital streaming services such as Amazon Video, aired on Fox Kids in the United States, and uses the remixed intro theme from Season 5. The second version is available on region 1 DVD, aired on Fox Kids overseas, and uses the default intro theme from Seasons 1–4.[15][citation needed]

Viewership

In its prime, X-Men garnered very high ratings for a Saturday morning cartoon, and received praise for adapting many different storylines from the comics. Haim Saban credits the success of the series in assisting him to sell his next project to Fox: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.[3]

X-Men reached a viewership of over 23 million households.[16]

Legacy

X-Men '97

Main article: X-Men '97

By 2019, there were ongoing talks with Disney+ to revive the series.[17] In November 2021, a revival titled X-Men '97 was revealed to premiere on the service in 2023, which will continue the plot of the series.[18] Beau DeMayo will serve as head writer, with most of the surviving cast members of the original series reprising their roles, including Dodd, Zann, Buza, Disher, Potter, Sealy-Smith, Hough, and Britton. They will be joined by Jennifer Hale, Anniwaa Buachie, Ray Chase, Matthew Waterson, JP Karliak, Holly Chou, Jeff Bennett, and A. J. Locascio; Court will not be reprising her role as Jubilee, and will instead voice another character as she asked for Jubilee to be voiced by an Asian actress.[19][20] The series will be produced by Marvel Studios Animation, but will not take place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[21][22]

Comics

X-Men Adventures

X-Men Adventures
X-Men Adventures vol. 1 #1 (Nov. 1992)
Art by Steve Lightle
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
ScheduleMonthly
FormatOngoing
Publication dateNovember 1992 – March 1997
No. of issues53
Main character(s)X-Men

X-Men Adventures was a comic book spin-off of the animated series. Beginning in November 1992, it adapted the first three seasons of the show; in April 1996, it became Adventures of the X-Men, which contained original stories set within the same continuity.[23] The comic book lasted until March 1997, shortly after the show's cancellation by the Fox Network.

Bibliography

Additionally, stories featuring the same characters were print through the 19 issues run of Spider-Man Magazine, published between March 1994 and March 1997, alongside stories inspired by the animated series Spider-Man.

X-Men '92

The comic book series X-Men '92 was first released as one of the many tie-in titles for Marvel's 2015 Secret Wars event, and continued in its second volume as a regular series in early 2016, starring characters of the TV show's reality.[28]

In January 2022 Marvel announced a new series inspired by the cartoon, X-Men '92: House of XCII. Scheduled for publication in April of that same year, the series will explore an alternate universe where the events of Jonathan Hickman's House of X and Powers of X happened decades earlier, in the '90s of the original show.[29]

Books

Previously on X-Men

In 2017, series developer and showrunner Eric Lewald released the book Previously on X-Men: The Making of an Animated Series, which features his interviews with 36 of the staff and voice cast behind the TV series, as well as Lewald's personal experiences on the series' development and production.[30]

X-Men: The Art and Making of The Animated Series

In 2020, Eric Lewald and Julia Lewald released the book X-Men: The Art and Making of The Animated Series, which features previously unseen concept art, storyboards, character models, background layouts, animation cels, and other production/promotional materials, along with new interviews with the series principal artists and production staff.[31]

Video games

See also: Marvel vs. Capcom franchise

In film

The series was credited for being responsible for the beginning development of the 2000 X-Men film. Fox Kids owner 20th Century Fox was impressed by the success of the TV show, and producer Lauren Shuler Donner purchased the film rights for them in 1994.[33][34] The film's success led to a film franchise, which includes a series of sequels, prequels, and spin-offs, for two decades up to 2020, when the series came to an end due to Disney's acquisition of Fox, with the character rights reverting to Marvel Studios.

In the 2022 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, produced by Marvel Studios, the theme song from the TV series (orchestrated by Danny Elfman and credited as X-Men '97 Theme) is played when Charles Xavier (portrayed by Patrick Stewart) first appears; in the film, unlike his previous performances as the character in Fox's X-Men franchise, Stewart's Xavier is visually redesigned to match his animated counterpart, complete with his iconic green suit, blue and black tie, and yellow hoverchair.[35]

In television

In the Ms. Marvel episode "No Normal", set in the MCU, the theme song from the X-Men animated series is played when Kamala Khan discovers that she is a "mutant".[36]

Lawsuit

On October 9, 2019, Hungarian immigrant Zoltan Krisko filed a lawsuit against Marvel Entertainment Group, Haim Saban, Shuki Levy, UMG Recordings, the current distributor of Disney Music Group, and Fox Corporation. He claims the theme music was plagiarized from the theme song to the 1984–91 Hungarian action-adventure television series Linda, which was composed by Gyorgy Vukan.[37]

Notes

  1. ^ Sources differ regarding the country or countries of origin. Some indicate that the United States is the sole country of origin, while others (e.g, FilmAffinity, Allmovie) list it as a co-production of the United States and Canada.[1][2]

References

  1. ^ "X-Men (TV Series) (1992)". FilmAffinity.
  2. ^ "X-Men (1992)". Allmovie.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Couch, Aaron; Burton, Byron (October 30, 2017). "'X-Men' at 25: The Unlikely Story of the Animated Hit No Network Wanted". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Mangels, Andy (August 1993). "Scorching the Screen". Wizard: X-Men Turn Thirty. pp. 70–73.
  5. ^ "Top 10 Comic to TV Adaptations". IGN. June 21, 2007. Archived from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  6. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 923–926. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  7. ^ "Kids vet Margaret Loesch to run Hasbro-Discovery cable network". Los Angeles Times. July 16, 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  8. ^ "DRG4's Exclusive X-Men Cartoon Pilot Differences". drp4.wariocompany.com. Archived from the original on 2008-01-19. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  9. ^ Mangels, Andy (January 1993). "Hollywood Heroes". Wizard. Wizard Entertainment (17): 32.
  10. ^ Moore, Rose (March 23, 2016). "10 Things You Didn't Know About X-Men The Animated Series". Screen Rant. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  11. ^ White, Brett (27 November 2019). "Every Single X-Men Animated Appearance on Disney+, in Order". Decider. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  12. ^ "X-Men, Spider-Man & More Animated Series Confirmed for Disney+ Launch Day". Comic Book Resources. 14 October 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  13. ^ Goldman, Michael. "Stan Lee: Comic Guru". Animation World Magazine. Animation World Network. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  14. ^ Genna, Antonio. "AntonioGenna.net presenta: IL MONDO DEI DOPPIATORI - ZONA ANIMAZIONE: "X-Men"". Il Mondo dei doppiatori (in Italian). Retrieved 2022-08-19.
  15. ^ "Animation Changes in No Mutant Is An Island". DRG4's Marvel Cartoon Pages. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  16. ^ "X-Men: Children of the Atom". RePlay. Vol. 20, no. 3. December 1994. p. 8.
  17. ^ Marshall, Andrew (June 10, 2019). "X-Men: The Animated Series Creators Want to Revive Show With Disney". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on June 11, 2019. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  18. ^ Couch, Aaron (November 12, 2021). "Disney+ Orders '90s 'X-Men' Revival, 'Marvel Zombies' and 'Spider-Man: Freshman Year'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on November 12, 2021. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  19. ^ "X-Men '97: Original Jubilee Alyson Court Confirms She Will Not Reprise Role, Wants Asian Voice Actress to Replace Her". 16 November 2021.
  20. ^ Patches, Matt (November 12, 2021). "New X-Men cartoon set in the '90s Animated Series continuity coming to Disney Plus". Polygon. Archived from the original on November 12, 2021. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  21. ^ Gartenberg, Chaim (November 12, 2021). "Marvel embraces the Sad Wolverine meme to announce X-Men '97, a new animated Disney Plus show". The Verge. Archived from the original on November 12, 2021. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  22. ^ Bacon, Thomas (March 5, 2022). "Is X-Men 97 In The MCU? Disney+ Mutant Debut Explained". Screen Rant. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  23. ^ "The 1990s: Claremont's exit, mega-crossovers". Archived from the original on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
  24. ^ "X-Men Adventures Comics checklist Volume 1". comics-db.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2007-02-13.
  25. ^ "X-Men Adventures Comics checklist Volume 2". comics-db.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2007-02-13.
  26. ^ "X-Men Adventures Comics checklist Volume 3". comics-db.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2007-02-13.
  27. ^ "Adventures of the X-Men Comics checklist". comics-db.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-20. Retrieved 2007-02-13.
  28. ^ Schedeen, Jesse (13 March 2015). "X-Men: The Animated Series Lives On in X-Men '92". IGN.
  29. ^ Blum, Jeremy (14 January 2022). "X-Men: The Animated Series Meets House of X in New Marvel Series". Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  30. ^ "Previously on X-Men: The Making of an Animated Series". Jacobs Brown Media Group. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  31. ^ Lewald 2020
  32. ^ "Hot at the Arcades". GamePro. No. 67. IDG. February 1995. p. 20.
  33. ^ Lee, Stan; Claremont, Chris; Singer, Bryan; Lauren Shuler Donner; Tom DeSanto; Avi Arad (2000). The Secret Origin of The X-Men (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  34. ^ Jensen, Jeff (July 21, 2000). "Generating X". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  35. ^ "The Marvel Movie Music Secretly Hidden In Doctor Strange 2". Screen Rant. May 5, 2022. Archived from the original on May 7, 2022. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  36. ^ "Ms. Marvel Finale MCU Easter Eggs & References". Screen Rant. July 13, 2022. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  37. ^ Pedersen, Erik (2019-10-09). "'X-Men' Cartoon Theme Song Sparks Lawsuit Against Marvel, Disney, Amazon, Apple". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2019-10-18.

Sources