The original 1992-1997 X-Men animated series still remains one of the most famous superhero cartoons ever created, and it’s not hard to see why. He not only expanded the possibilities of what superhero cartoons are capable of, directly adapting classic comic storylines such as Days of the Past Future and The Dark Phoenix Saga, but also introduced an entire generation of fans to such iconic characters as Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Rogue and Magneto.
However, not all classic X-Men characters were lucky enough to appear in the original series. It was largely a product of his time, so the characters that went out of fashion by the 90s are unlikely to appear. However, the upcoming Disney Plus sequel “X-Men ’97” should feature some characters that weren’t in the original show, including Sunspot and Valerie Cooper. Here are a few more fan favorites that should get their time in the spotlight when the X-Men return to animation.
Of all the X-Men characters who never got into the animated series of the 90s, the most important, by far, is Kitty Pryde, also known as Shadowcat. Throughout the 80s, Kitty was one of the central characters of writer Chris Claremont’s legendary novel about the “Strange X-Men”, serving as the reader’s point of view into the world of mutants. Over the course of almost 100 issues, she has grown from an inexperienced recruit into a determined, quick—witted hero- a classic coming-of-age story that has served as an emotional line in many X-Men adventures.
However, by the time the 92-year-old X-Men series began airing, Kitty had left the X-Men with the Night Serpent. The two became founding members of the UK-based Excalibur Heroes team, led by Captain Britain. They stayed in Excalibur throughout the 90s, not returning to the X-Men until the 2000s. This decrease in fame explains why the Night Serpent appeared in only two episodes of the 90s animated series, despite the fact that he was the central character in the 70s and 80s. But, unlike the Night Serpent, Kitty never appeared in the cartoon, and her main role in “Days of the Past Future” was replaced by Bishop. Nevertheless, she is still an important figure in the history of the X-Men, and “X-Men ’97” provides a great opportunity to draw attention to her.
Technically, this character has already been introduced in the original “X-Men” cartoon, just not in the form that she is best known for. The sword-wielding mutant sorceress Magic is none other than Illyana Rasputina, the younger sister of Colossus. But before she grew up and became an independent hero, Illyana was introduced as an ordinary little girl. This is the version of the character that appears in the season 2 episode “Red Dawn”, in which Colossus must save her from the villainous Red Omega.
But since her appearance, Illyana has gained fame as a member of the X-Men Magic, whose huge mystical power and fierce, hard-as-nails character appealed to countless comic book fans. These days, Magic has joined the likes of her brother Colossus as one of the most popular members of the X-Men, so it would be a shame to leave her out in the first X-Men cartoon in more than a decade. If you’re lucky, fans will see a more mature and strong Illyana coming on stage in “X-Men 97”.
One of the minor characters confirmed to be returning in X—Men ’97 is cyborg super soldier Cable, also known as Nathan Summers, the Cyclops and time-traveling son of Jean Grey from the future. But in the comics, Cable wasn’t the first child of Scott and Jean from the future to fight alongside the X-Men. The original comic “Days of Future Past” introduced Rachel Summers, who later traveled to the past to prevent her dystopian future.
Throughout the 80s, Rachel grew from a broken and vindictive young woman into a reliable ally who saw her teammates as her family. But, like Kitty and the Night Serpent, she has already left the X-Men for Excalibur, leaving her out of sight of the 90s. Although she is not as famous as the rest of her family, Rachel is still a beloved character who will be a long-awaited addition to “X-Men 97”.
While most of the known enemies of the X—Men are mutants like Magneto, Mystic, Sabretooth and Apocalypse, their biggest threat of all is undoubtedly the prejudice and oppression that mutants face from humanity. The original animated series reflected this by focusing on enemies such as the Guardians hunting mutants, or Graydon Creed, the leader of the Friends of Humanity hate group. And given that the ruthless government official Valerie Cooper will appear in “X-Men 97,” the sequel series seems to honor this tradition.