‘X-Men’ Is Back, but a Key Member Is Missing

When the voice actor Alison Sealy-Smith first received an email asking if she’d be interested in reprising her role as Storm, from “X-Men: The Animated Series,” she nearly marked the message as spam, shrugging it off as either a joke or a mistake. It had been three decades since she had worked on the action-adventure cartoon, which ran on Fox from 1992 to 1997, and the idea that it would be returning, let alone returning with its original cast, seemed so unlikely that she could hardly entertain it.

“At first, it was strictly disbelief,” she said in a video interview. “It can’t be true. Disney is doing this again? It didn’t make any sense.”

Disney was indeed doing it again, and after three years in production, the original “X-Men: The Animated Series” has returned as “X-Men ’97,” a revival streaming on Disney+ that the studio is treating as a direct continuation of the ’90s show. The new series picks up where “The Animated Series” left off with its Season 5 finale in September 1997, with the loss of the X-Men leader Professor X after an attack by the anti-mutant lobbyist Henry Peter Gyrich. It is designed to look and feel, in essence, like Season 6, with the intervening 30-year gap hardly noticeable onscreen.

“That was always the goal,” Jake Castorena, a supervising producer and director, said in an interview. “To go straight from the O.G. show to our show, and it feels connected.”

The level of fidelity is impressive, and early reviews have been effusive, with one critic describing it as “nostalgia handled perfectly.”

But the achievement has been slightly undermined by news that the showrunner, Beau DeMayo, had been fired by Marvel. The move was sudden: On March 11, publicists for Disney, Marvel’s corporate owner, canceled DeMayo’s planned interview for this article, saying his “scheduling has changed,” and the following day The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that he had been fired. Marvel and Disney did not provide an explanation for the move. DeMayo and his representatives did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Back to top button