There's one key milestone that fans are anxious for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to reach: introducing mutants to the storied franchise. Ever since Disney purchased Fox, audiences have been on the lookout for the discovery of the X-Gene in a Marvel Studios project. Whenever the day comes, audiences' excitement will surely blow the roof off of theaters worldwide. But just when will that be?
Patrick Stewart is set to be a part of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and if he is a Variant of Professor X, this will mean the Benedict Cumberbatch project will be the first to include a mutant. But does that truly count? After all, it's basically a glorified cameo with no particular effect on the MCU-Prime.
Fans want Marvel Studios' proper take on the famous superheroes to be realized finally. While it doesn't quite match those parameters, the upcoming animated X-Men '97 revival will undoubtedly tithe over viewers while they hold out for the X-Gene to materialize in live-action.
Even though the animated series will likely not be canon, and more than likely is a direct continuation of the original show, bringing that project to life is probably a stressful experience, one that holds a lot of pressure given the characters being handled.
The Direct was able to speak with X-Men '97's head writer to talk about the pressure of penning a mutant project for Marvel Studios.
The Pressure of Reviving the Mutants
In an exclusive interview, The Direct's Russ Milheim got to sit down with Moon Knight writer Beau DeMayo, also the head writer and executive producer of the upcoming X-Men '97 animated Marvel Studios series on Disney+, to discuss the differences of working on both projects and the general pressure of reviving the Mutants with Marvel Studios.
The writer noted that the process is "no different" from "a studio and process standpoint," but that the "X-Men, in particular, is something that is very close to Marvel Studios' hearts:"
“From a studio and process standpoint, no different. Kevin [Feige], Brad Winderbaum, Dana [Vasquez-Eberhardt] who’s working with us on this, who are our producers, they have the same level of involvement. I know in some studios, animation is treated like the red-headed stepchild and, honestly, What If…? and Marvel’s other animated series are treated just as seriously as their live-action properties. And X-Men, in particular, is something that is very close to Marvel Studios’ hearts, now that it’s back home at the studio. So that has been different.
DeMayo noted that he feels a "weight and a responsibility" given that this is Marvel Studios' first go at an X-Men-focused project:
"It’s just like, X-Men means something to a lot of people. There’s a weight and a responsibility there, I think, now that it’s back at Marvel Studios, that is very different, and that I’m always aware of. The funny difference is more sleepless night, because on Moon Knight, if something didn’t go right, [I was like], ‘well, Jeremy [Slater] is is writing the show, so at the end of the day he’ll have to [figure it out].’ There have been several moments where I’m like, ‘Someone needs to figure this out—oh, it’s me now.’ [laughs] So, there’s been a lot of growth, I’d say, that I’ve had to do on X-Men ‘97. Just as a storyteller, and as a producer, and as a person, that has made it a very different experience than writing on Moon Knight."
Have No Fear, The Mutants of '97 Are Loved
Ever since the MCU's creation, the X-Men have been out of reach; their stories locked behind another studio. Despite that, the love fans have for those characters remained strong—even through projects such as X-Men: Dark Phoenix or New Mutants.
Given those movies, and the general world Fox built for its X-Men, Marvel Studios undoubtedly wants to make sure when they bring the mutants into play, that they do so in a respectful, thoughtful, and meaningful way—not to mention making sure the space they carve out for them in the MCU is unique.
Despite X-Men '97 likely not holding canonical weight, it seems the creatives at the top are still adhering to that philosophy for the upcoming animated show. To see the care and love already being expressed for these characters, fans should look forward to a glowing future for the mutant family.
X-Men '97 is rumored to hit Disney+ in 2023 with ten episodes in its first season.