Is 'X-Men: The Animated Series' setting the tone for the MCU's mutant era with a revival in the works?
Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Fox Kids Network aired 'X-Men: The Animated Series', a show that would go on to revitalize the popularity of comic book superheroes and set the stage for the live-action adaptations to come. And now it looks quite likely that Marvel Studios will look to that groundbreaking Saturday morning cartoon to inform the impending era of mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
First launched in 1992, 'X-Men' was so ridiculously popular that its starring lineup of characters would go on to become the single most beloved roster of X-Men ever. In fact, the popularity of the animated series is what helped catapult the X-Men to mainstream status, paving the way for 20th Century Fox to create the 'X-Men' movie franchise. Unlike most adaptations, the show was largely true to the comics with very minor changes from the source material. And all these years later, the series still has its fans who celebrated enthusiastically when the show was added to the Disney+ streaming service.
In many ways, the animated series outdid the movies that were to come. 'The Dark Phoenix Saga', for example, which the movies have tried and failed to do justice to (twice) was adapted to perfection by the show. And that's just one of the many great 'X-Men' storylines that the series brought to great acclaim.
Considering the sheer popularity of the show and the resurgence in audience interest, there's a very good chance that Marvel might use the show as its basis for bringing the X-Men into the MCU. With all the love that this show has generated over the years, that would probably be one of the best decisions Marvel Studios has made since they cast Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Iron Man.
While this is speculative at the moment, fans of the show have plenty of reason to rejoice as there is news of a revival in the works. Nothing's set in stone yet but series producer and director Larry Houston confirmed in an interview that he is in talks with Disney to revive the show for a Disney+ sequel series that would pick up where the old show left off.
"We've had talks, but that's about it," Houston said Friday during a virtual Wizard World panel. "We've made conversation and it's up to them to make the decision, but we've let them know that we're all available for whatever they want to do in the future."
Houston is essentially retired now but he has said that for the X-Men, he would come out of retirement without hesitation, whether it is for "a special, a one-off episode, or a five-part episode. Whatever they wanted to do if we had all the original team. That's what I would come out of retirement for."
He's not the only one who's keen on a revival. The show's stars have all expressed interest in returning to their roles and we know for a fact that the fans would go crazy if this plan were to come to fruition. And who knows, after years of mixed-bag movies ranging from the excellent to the terrible, maybe a revival of the show could be what helps Marvel Studios remember why we love these merry mutants in the first place and incorporate those factors into the MCU's version of the X-Men.
'X-Men: The Animated Series' is currently available for streaming on Disney+.