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Monday, May 20, 2024

10 Best Characters in ‘X-Men 97,’ Ranked

Marvel Studios Animation and showrunner Beau DeMayo unite, delivering a revitalized take on the beloved X-Men: The Animated Series, the iconic 90s cartoon. With stunning modern animation and a gripping screenplay, the show finally brings the X-Men universe back to life. The stakes have never been higher for the team as the narrative chronicles the poignant loss of Charles Xavier. A daring leap forward, X-Men ’97 embraces a new adult sensibility that transforms the characters into more interesting and emotionally complex versions of themselves.




Whether hurtling through adrenaline-pumping action sequences or grappling with personal conflicts, many of the series’ scenes have more in common with BoJack Horseman than the high-octane action cartoons of the 1990s. The mature characterization on display is best appreciated in its ensemble of characters. The best characters in X-Men ’97 are familiar but unexpectedly poignant; the show adapts these figures beautifully, adding more layers and revealing new sides to them.

Poster for X-Men '97

X-Men ’97

Release Date
March 20, 2024

Cast
Jennifer Hale , Cal Dodd , Chris Potter , Catherine Disher , Adrian Hough , Ray Chase , Lenore Zann

Seasons
2

Number of Episodes
10


10 Jubilee

Voiced by Holly Chou

Jubilee draws her shades down in X-Men '97
Image via Disney+


Jubilation Lee, affectionately known as Jubilee among the X-Men, shines brightly in X-Men ’97. Rocking her signature yellow raincoat and pink sunglasses, Jubilee bursts into scenes with infectious enthusiasm, injecting a refreshing, youthful energy into the team and showcasing her vibrant, fireworks-based powers. Despite being only seventeen years old, Jubilee displays remarkable loyalty to the X-Men’s principles and shows glimpses of strong leadership potential early into the series. For example, she befriends fellow mutant Roberto Da Costa, also known as Sunspot, and supports him through his struggles with his powers.

Originally voiced by Alyson Court in X-Men: The Animated Series, Jubilee is now portrayed by voice actress Holly Chou, known for her performance as Chiki in Netflix’s original animation Blue Eye Samurai. Despite the change, Jubilee remains her same old self at the start of the series. However, as X-Men ’97 unfolds, pivotal events seem likely to set the stage for Jubilee to finally evolve into a formidable hero in her own right.


9 Wolverine

Voiced by Cal Dodd

Wolverine shows his claws while clenching his teeth in X-Men '97
Image via Disney+

In X-Men ’97, Logan, the indomitable Wolverine, carves his way back into fans’ hearts. Reprising his role as Wolverine, iconic actor Cal Dodd brings the character’s very essence that fans have come to know and love. A hero with near-indestructible adamantium claws and an equally formidable demeanor, Wolverine remains a vital member of the X-Men, always ready to charge headfirst into perilous situations as the team’s primary front-line fighter.


However, in X-Men ’97, Wolverine isn’t merely defined by his slashing and fighting prowess. Having developed close bonds with fellow team members in the original series, Wolverine now finds solace in their company during his downtime. Whether engaging in basketball games or honing his skills in the danger room, Logan embraces his newfound family. Sharing a chummy friendship with Morph and a profound connection with Jean Grey, Wolverine showcases a range of emotional vulnerabilities that resurface throughout the show, which makes him that much more compelling.

8 Mister Sinister

Voiced by Chris Britton

Mister Sinister smiling deviously in a glow of toxic green smoke in X-Men '97
Image via Disney+

In X-Men ’97, Mister Sinister resurfaces as a formidable adversary in the third episode, “Fire Made Flesh.” A startling revelation is followed by a nightmarish assault by Sinister on the X-Mansion, forcing the X-Men to confront their deepest fears. Voiced by Chris Britton, the ever-underrated Mister Sinister exudes a chilling presence that can only be matched by his cold intellect.


Seemingly able to emerge from the very shadows, Sinister keeps the X-Men on their toes throughout the show. As his mysterious agenda looms, connections between Sinister’s malevolent schemes and other world events begin to arouse questions: does Sinister simply relish these confrontations with his adversaries, or is there a deeper motive at play? Only time will reveal the true extent of his machinations.

7 Charles Xavier

Voiced by Ross Marquand

An expressionless Charles Xavier looking at Lilandra in X-Men '97
Image via Disney+


Plucked from the brink of death by Shi’ar empress Lilandra Neraman in the closing moments of X-Men: The Animated Series, Xavier’s absence reverberates profoundly in X-Men ’97. As the void left by his departure becomes a focal point of tension within the group, Cyclops, Xavier’s longest-standing student, assumes the role of team leader. His role is short-lived, as Magneto appears with Xavier’s final will, revealing the professor’s dying wish for the ‘Master of Magnetism’ to lead his bewildered students.

However, in the series’ intergalactic sixth episode,Lifedeath – Part 2,” audiences are stunned to discover that Xavier survived his ordeal. This revelation marks the introduction of the all-new Xavier, one who is engaged to marry the empress Neramani. On the brink of an awe-inspiring transformation, Xavier seems poised to ascend as a co-ruler of an extraterrestrial empire. X-Men ’97 presents a significantly different Xavier and promises to thrust the professor into a position of cosmic power unlike anything seen before. However, the looming question remains: will Xavier truly abandon his “children of the atom” to face a newly emerging threat alone?


6 Gambit

Voiced by A.J. LoCascio

Close up of Gambit in X-Men-'97
Image via Disney+

Living life by the luck of the cards, Remy LeBeau is Gambit, the X-Man with the ability to manipulate kinetic energy, weaponizing objects and causing them to glow a dark shade of pink before exploding upon impact. A renowned smooth-talker, Gambit’s charming ways are on full display throughout X-Men ’97. Whether flirting with Rogue or smart-mouthing Cyclops, Gambits’s Cajun accent and confident demeanor effortlessly oozes charisma throughout the series.


Not without inner conflict, Gambit remains torn between a criminal past, his brash persona as the X-Men’s resident charmer, and the noble soul hidden beneath it all. Portrayed by the electric A.J. LoCascio, Gambit spends a lot of time soul-searching throughout the series, culminating in moments of breathtaking intensity that will come to define the character for many new fans. As the season unfolds, Gambit’s evolution is truly captivating, as he becomes the emotional driving force behind some of the most unforgettable scenes in X-Men history.

5 Jean Grey & Madelyne Pryor

Voiced by Jennifer Hale

Madelyne Pryor as Corrupted Jean Grey, with glowing green eyes and a purple/green aura
Image via Disney+

Few characters in Marvel’s mutant pantheon are as complex as Jean Grey. Possessing immense telepathic and telekinetic powers, she holds the power to physically and mentally overwhelm almost any living being. In an ideal world, this would make Grey the ultimate force for good, but her road is fraught with inner turmoil as she grapples with personal battles and the powerful entity within herself known as the Phoenix.


Originally voiced by Catherine Disher in the beloved ’90s series, Jean Grey returns with a new voice actress, Jennifer Hale, who brings her iconic character to life once again. Additionally, Hale provides the voice for the clone Madelyn Pryor, revealed during the second episode’s shocking cliffhanger ending. The result of a monstrous experiment, Pryor quickly discovers the secret of her horrifying origin and transforms into the nightmarish Goblin Queen. Jean remains as fascinating and shifting in this new show, offering fans a complicated yet enthralling character who is at her best when avoiding black and white and existing in the grey.

4 Storm

Voiced by Alison Sealy-Smith

Storm with eyes of glowing white in X-Men '97
Image via Disney+


An immense force among the X-Men, Storm is a fierce leader who has earned her fellow mutants’ respect and admiration. A formidable adversary to the enemies of mutant-kind, Storm wields the weather as her ally, calling upon the winds and rain to smite her foes like a deity from ancient stories. As powerful as she is (an Omega-Level threat, according to the Sentinels sent to eradicate the X-Men), even Storm can’t escape the dramatic events of X-Men ’97 unscathed.

After the heartbreaking events of episode 2, “Mutant Liberation Begins,” Storm finds herself separated from the X-Men, the only family she has known for years. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, Storm’s subplot stands out as possibly the most significant in the series, leading the goddess through multiple nightmarish trials that will come to reinvent the character the fandom has come to know and love.


3 Rogue

Voiced by Lenore Zann

A close-up of a furious, crying Rogue as she flies into danger in X-Men '97
Image via Disney+

Rogue, the Southern belle whose skin carries a lethal sting, continues to come to terms with a life devoid of physical touch in X-Men ’97. Having absorbed the powers of super strength, flight, and invulnerability from Carol Danvers, the Rogue that audiences meet at the beginning of the series is already a formidable X-Man. Despite the complexities of her powers, she keeps a positive outlook on life, often encouraging and inspiring her teammates.


However, everything changes with Magneto’s shocking reappearance at the X-Mansion. Just as Rogue’s feelings toward fellow X-Man, Gambit, seem to be on solid ground, Magneto’s arrival threatens to bring chaos back into her life. As Rogue and Magneto’s secret romance becomes more apparent, rifts within the team begin to take hold. At a crossroads and torn between conflicting emotions, Rogue’s transformation throughout X-Men ’97 is dramatic and heartbreaking, with the potential to damage human/mutant relations forever.

2 Cyclops

Voiced by Ray Chase

Cyclops smirks while firing his beam directly at the camera in X-Men '97
Image via Disney+

In almost every popular iteration of the X-Men, Cyclops takes center stage with his unwavering commitment and commanding presence. Famous for his iconic visor and strategic prowess, Cyclops is a natural leader and shows an absolute dedication to the X-Men’s cause. In X-Men ’97,Cyclops at last showcases his mutant abilities more accurately than in the original series.


At the heart of the show’s drama is Cyclops, who finds himself grappling with a myriad of challenges. From the absence of Xavier to the shifting dynamics within the team, the pressure even begins to take a toll on his marriage to Jean Grey. Meanwhile, the emergence of formidable threats, such as Magneto’s return to lead the X-Men and the persistent appearances of Mister Sinister, add to the pressure mounting against the X-Men. As Cyclops balances these competing demands, his resilience and leadership are put to the ultimate test. His arc is typical of a classic hero, allowing Cyclops to finally level up as the face of the X-Men.

1 Magneto

Voiced by Matthew Waterson

Magneto with his helmet off and lightning behind him in X-Men '97
Image via Disney+


In the aftermath of Charles Xavier’s demise, Magneto finds himself unexpectedly thrust into the role of leader of the X-Men. Despite lingering uncertainties about Xavier’s ultimate intentions, Magneto steps into the position out of reverence and affection for his old opponent and friend. Confronted with the skepticism of both the X-Men and the wider world, Magneto grapples with the daunting task ahead: demonstrating restraint, compassion, and a willingness to change.

As he navigates this newfound responsibility, fueled by an extraordinary vocal performance by Matthew Waterson, Magneto becomes a figure of intense fascination. Swiftly targeted by extremists, his choices carry weight that could shape the destinies of all involved. In X-Men ’97, Magneto’s journey unfolds as a compelling exploration of redemption, power, and the potential for change in even the most formidable of characters.


X-Men ’97 is available to stream on Disney+.

Watch On Disney+

NEXT: This Is the One Thing ‘X-Men ’97’ Does Way Better Than the MCU

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