X-Men '97 Director Teases Marvel Cameos In Upcoming Episodes (Exclusive)

By Russ Milheim Posted:
X-Men, Marvel, Avengers

The director for X-Men ‘97 teased fans about the possibility of exciting faces showing up at some point in the new season.

The original X-Men: The Animated Series was no stranger to cameos, with a handful of characters showing up for brief stints, including Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Strong Guy, and more.

Those fun appearances weren't limited to the X-Men characters either. Notable heroes such as Captain America, War Machine, Nick Fury, Ms. Marvel, Spider, and more also made fun appearances.

[ Disney+'s X-Men Reboot Reviews: Critics Share Strong First Reactions ]

X-Men ‘97 Director Briefly Teases Marvel Cameos

X-Men '97, Jean Grey, Rogue, Bishop, Wolverine, Morph, Storm, Cyclops, Beast, Jubilee, Gambit

In an exclusive interview with The Direct’s Russ Milheim, X-Men '97 supervising producer and head director Jake Castorena teased the Marvel cameos that may show up in the new animated Disney+ series.

When asked if Marvel Studios ever kept the team from including particular characters, Castorena admitted that "it was mostly nothing but encouragement" and that he "encourage[s] fans to keep a look out to see who they spot:" 

"On our end, it was mostly nothing but encouragement… Cameos [are] in the DNA of the show. That's been ingrained from day one, that goes down to what the OG show did, right? Because if we're going to be a spiritual successor or revival, we got to follow in the footsteps of what was ingrained in their DNA… The OG 'X-Men' show was the MCU before the MCU became the MCU. And that's just the key fundamental in that show, so for us to be a true success or a true revival, we got to adhere to that. I highly encourage fans to keep a look out to see who they spot."

Captain America and Wolverine in X-Men: The Animated Series

The original series first aired in the '90s. Needless to say, the world is far different now than it was then.

In talking about how the show needed to adapt to a new age, he mentioned how a lot of that was "figured out well before [he] was brought on board" thanks to the original head writer Beau DeMayo:

“Luckily, a lot of that more or less figured out well before I was brought on board... That's been the mission statement in the Bible from day one from Beau DeMayo's vision all the way through scripts... We've just had such a good foundation and a strong understanding of these characters through Beau's vision that—not to say it's easy, right, because doing good work takes a good long time. But it made it easier for our visual team to come in and go, 'Cool. This is what we need to embellish. This is what we need to do.'"

Castorena pointed out how, for him, “It all comes down to the phrase… ‘fresh but familiar,” exclaiming how the world has “learned so much in the last 30-something years:”

"It all comes down to the phrase, at least for me, fresh but familiar. That's the phrase I believe is one of the things that got me the job... The show is so monumental in introducing us to these characters, to this world, to these stories, to these mutant abilities… But we've also learned so much in the last 30-something years, just as far as in the animated medium, what we can do in storytelling, just raising the bar for what it means to be an animated show. The stories we can tell long-form storytelling. We've just grown as an audience and as storytellers."

It is a "unique challenge," Castorena explained, figuring out the balance between clean and modern while staying within "that 90’s sandbox that we all know and love:"

"And so it is that unique challenge, what's too clean, what's too HD, what's too modern, what's too potato, what's too old, what's going to lose modern audience's attention today. Because you look around, post-pandemic animation is just getting the recognition that it truly deserves, not only for what you can do in the visual medium, but also just for it being another avenue and another medium for storytelling. Not just a children's medium. So understanding that that's where animation is going right now, and staying relevant and hot with all of that while still staying in that '90s sandbox that we all know and love. That's where the real secret sauce comes in…"

X-Men '97, Jean Grey, Rogue, Bishop, Wolverine, Cyclops, Beast, Gambit

Jake Castorena credited the many other talented artists who helped make X-Men ‘97 a reality:

"I definitely wouldn't be up here without the help of the whole team. I gotta shout out to our production designer, Anthony Wu; our lead composition artist, Ashley Phillips; our lead animation supervisor, Jeremy Polgar; and our lead effects animation supervisor, Chris Graf. Their teams, and myself, all of us working in correlation together, and the many hours that are spent with production to get what you see on screen, that's all meticulously planned."

He noted how "it's just been wonderful to hear the audience be as receptive and responsive" as they have been:

"It literally comes down to us sitting in a room on a giant couch in front of a giant TV, going frame by frame for every episode. 'Okay, let's fix this. Let's tweak that...' Every episode. So yeah, it's just been wonderful to hear the audience be as receptive and responsive to all the work that the visual team has been working on."

But what about when fans might see Season 2? After all, more episodes are already in production.

Castorena said "Marvel doesn't want to put a cake out there if the cake ain't finished baking yet:"

"What I can say is we're really happy and looking forward to getting Season 1out to all you guys right now… I will say that good animation takes a long time; great animation takes a little longer... Marvel doesn't want to put a cake out there if the cake ain't finished baking yet. So, if we're baking, if we're getting the ingredients in, it's for a damn good reason."

X-Men '97 is now streaming on Disney+.

Read more about X-Men '97 on The Direct:

X-Men 97: Magneto's Backstory In Animated Series Explained

X-Men '97: Here's How Professor X Died In the Animated Series

X-Men '97 Voice Cast: 12 Main Actors & Characters Confirmed for Disney+ Reboot

- In This Article: X-Men 97
Release Date
March 20, 2024
Cal Dodd
Catherine Disher
Chris Potter
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.