X-Men
GenreSuperhero
Action
Adventure
Based on
Developed by
  • Eric Lewald
  • Sidney Iwanter
  • Mark Edens
Voices of
Theme music composerRon Wasserman
Composers
Country of origin
  • Canada[a]
  • United States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes76 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
ProducersWill Meugniot[1]
Larry F. Houston
Running time22 minutes
Production companies
Distributor20th Television
Saban International
Release
Original networkFox Kids Network
Original releaseOctober 31, 1992 (1992-10-31) –
September 20, 1997 (1997-09-20)

X-Men (also known as X-Men: The Animated Series) is a superhero animated television series which debuted on October 31, 1992, in the United States on the Fox Kids Network.[3] X-Men was Marvel Comics' second attempt at an animated X-Men TV series after the pilot, X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men, was not picked up.[4] A revival of the series, entitled X-Men '97, is set to be released on Disney+ in 2023.

The X-Men animated series is currently available on the Disney+ streaming service, which launched on November 12, 2019.[5][6]

Production

In 1991, Margaret Loesch became head of Fox Children's Network.[7] 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.[2] Saban Entertainment was contracted to produce the show and hired a small studio Graz Entertainment to produce the episodes as it did not have sufficient staff at the time to handle production in house. Graz employed the creative staff, wrote and designed each episode, and drew the storyboards. The voice work was done using Canadian studios and South Korean studio AKOM was hired to animate the episodes. X-Men was originally to premiere over the Labor Day weekend in September; due to production delays, it was pushed to the end of October. 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 in an unfinished form.[2] The second episode was turned in just before a deadline, with 50 scenes missing and only a single day reserved for editing.[2] The "Night of the Sentinels" two-part episode originally aired as a "sneak preview" on October 31.[8]

Because of the production delays and animation errors in these two episodes, Fox threatened to sever AKOM's contracts.[2] When Fox re-aired the pilot in early 1993, the errors were corrected.[9] The series earned top ratings throughout its first season,[2] and was renewed for a second season of 13 episodes. Throughout the series run, producers had to deal with quality control issues including attempts to cut costs, requests to change the tone of the series to something more child-friendly as well to integrate toys being sold into the show.[1]

The show was originally planned to run for 65 episodes. Given its success and Marvel's bankruptcy, Saban funded the additional eleven episodes at a much reduced budget.[10] Philippine Animation Studio Inc. and Hong Ying Animation also contributed some of the animation for this series.

Synopsis

Main article: List of X-Men (TV series) episodes

The show features X-Men similar in look and line-up to the early 1990s X-Men drawn by Jim Lee (specifically, the Blue Team established in the early issues of X-Men (vol. 2)), composed of Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Beast, Gambit, Jubilee, Jean Grey, Professor X, as well as an original character, Morph (an adaptation of previous X-Men member 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") and AIDS hysteria ("Time Fugitives"), and feelings of loneliness ("No Mutant Is an Island"). Television was satirized in the episodes "Mojovision" and "Longshot".

X-Men crossed over with the 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. An earlier draft of "Secret Wars" involved all of 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 re-written to include only Storm, whose actress, Iona Morris, lived in Los Angeles. Hulk and She-Hulk were excluded from the episodes because[citation needed] the Incredible Hulk animated series featuring the characters was airing on rival network UPN.[11]

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, fueling mutant hatred. A parallel narrative of Professor X and Magneto being lost in the Savage Land runs throughout this season.

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 Lilandra 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.

Adaptations

Although the majority of the series' stories are original, a number of storylines and events from the comics are loosely adapted in the series, such as:

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Voice cast

See also: List of X-Men (TV series) characters

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

Principal cast

Additional cast

Other versions

The original opening sequence features the X-Men demonstrating their mutant abilities to a now very distinctive instrumental theme (written by Ron Wasserman). This intro is used throughout the first four seasons. A modified version is eventually introduced in season five, episode one ("Phalanx Covenant, Part One"). In this new intro, the beginning of the theme is slightly changed. When UPN began airing repeats 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]

X-Men originally aired on TV Tokyo from 1994 through 1995. For the TV Tokyo dub of the series, the intro was replaced with a new, Japanese-animated sequence as well as a new theme called "Rising" (ライジング), by the band Ambience (アンビエンス). Starting with episode 42, a second new 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), also by Ambience.

The TV Tokyo dub was directed by Yoshikazu Iwanami and featured scripts rewritten to include a more humorous, self-satirical tone as well as an emphasis on comical adlibbing (a hallmark of Iwanami's dubbing style). Episodes were edited for time so that new segments could be added to the end which promoted the X-Men: Children of the Atom video game from Capcom. The dub actors would pretend to play the game as their characters and make humorous asides and remarks. X-Men was dubbed a second time in the early 2000s for broadcast on Toon Disney (Japan). This dub was more faithful to the original English scripts and episodes were not cut for time. The Toon Disney 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 with completely different animation. The first version was aired for Toon Disney re-runs and can be seen in 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.[12][citation needed]

Reception

The show was both 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. Haim Saban credits the success of the series in assisting him to sell his next project to Fox, the live action series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.[1]

X-Men reached a viewership of over 23 million households.[13]

The show has been hailed as a pioneer in crafting mature, serialized storylines for an animated series, as well as paving the way for the 2000 X-Men feature film.[1] In 2009, IGN ranked X-Men as the 13th greatest animated show of all time in their Top 100 list.[14]

Legacy

Revival

By 2019, there were talks ongoing with Disney+ to revive the series.[15] In November 2021, it was announced that a revival titled X-Men '97 will premiere on the service in 2023, which will continue the plot of the original series.[16] 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, but will instead voice another character as she asked for Jubilee to be voiced by an Asian-American actress.[17] The series will be produced by Marvel Studios, but it is not set in the company's Marvel Cinematic Universe.[18]

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.[19] The comic book lasted until March 1997, shortly after the show's cancellation by the Fox Network.

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

Bibliography:

X-Men '92

The comic book series X-Men '92, one of the many tie-in titles for Marvel's 2015 Secret Wars event and later was released in its second volume as a continuous series in early 2016, starring members of the TV show's reality.[24]

In January 2022 Marvel announced a new series inspired by the cartoon, X-Men '92: House of XCII. Scheduled for pubblication 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.[25]

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.[26]

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.[27]

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. The show's broadcasting network (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.[29][30] The film's success led to the beginning of 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 to gain control of these characters.

Lawsuit

In 2019, Hungarian immigrant Zoltan Krisko filed a lawsuit against Marvel Entertainment, Haim Saban, Shuki Levy, UMG Recordings, the current distributor of Disney Music Group and Fox Corporation. He claims the song was plagiarized from the theme song to the 1984–91 Hungarian action-adventure television series Linda, which was composed by Gyorgy Vukan.[31]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Couch, Aaron and Burton, Byron (October 30, 2017). "'X-Men' at 25: The Unlikely Story of the Animated Hit No Network Wanted". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 17, 2018.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Mangels, Andy (August 1993). "Scorching the Screen". Wizard: X-Men Turn Thirty. pp. 70–73.
  3. ^ "Top 10 Comic to TV Adaptations". IGN. June 21, 2007. Archived from the original on January 6, 2013. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  4. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 923–926. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  5. ^ White, Brett (27 November 2019). "Every Single X-Men Animated Appearance on Disney+, in Order". Decider.com. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  6. ^ "X-Men, Spider-Man & More Animated Series Confirmed for Disney+ Launch Day". Comic Book Resources. 14 October 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Kids vet Margaret Loesch to run Hasbro-Discovery cable network". Los Angeles Times. July 16, 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  8. ^ Mangels, Andy (January 1993). "Hollywood Heroes". Wizard. Wizard Entertainment (17): 32.
  9. ^ "DRG4's Exclusive X-Men Cartoon Pilot Differences". drp4.wariocompany.com. Archived from the original on 2008-01-19. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  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. ^ Goldman, Michael. "Stan Lee: Comic Guru". Animation World Magazine. Animation World Network. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  12. ^ "Animation Changes in No Mutant Is An Island". DRG4's Marvel Cartoon Pages. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  13. ^ "X-Men: Children of the Atom". RePlay. Vol. 20, no. 3. December 1994. p. 8.
  14. ^ "IGN - 13. X-Men". Archived from the original on February 20, 2009. Retrieved July 24, 2009.
  15. ^ Marshall, Andrew (June 10, 2019). "X-Men: The Animated Series Creators Want to Revive Show With Disney". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on July 11, 2019. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ "The 1990s: Claremont's exit, mega-crossovers". Archived from the original on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
  20. ^ "X-Men Adventures Comics checklist Volume 1". comics-db.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2007-02-13.
  21. ^ "X-Men Adventures Comics checklist Volume 2". comics-db.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2007-02-13.
  22. ^ "X-Men Adventures Comics checklist Volume 3". comics-db.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2007-02-13.
  23. ^ "Adventures of the X-Men Comics checklist". comics-db.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-20. Retrieved 2007-02-13.
  24. ^ Jesse Schedeen (13 March 2015). "X-Men: The Animated Series Lives On in X-Men '92". IGN.
  25. ^ Jeremy Blum (14 January 2022). "X-Men: The Animated Series Meets House of X in New Marvel Series". Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  26. ^ "Previously on X-Men: The Making of an Animated Series". Jacobs Brown Media Group. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  27. ^ Lewald 2020
  28. ^ "Hot at the Arcades". GamePro. No. 67. IDG. February 1995. p. 20.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ Jensen, Jeff (July 21, 2000). "Generating X". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 9, 2008.
  31. ^ Erik Pedersen (2019-10-09). "'X-Men' Cartoon Theme Song Sparks Lawsuit Against Marvel, Disney, Amazon, Apple – Deadline". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2019-10-18.

Notes

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

Sources