Back in the nineties, animated comic book shows were at their peak. Not only were we fortunate enough to experience the “Dark Deco” awe of Batman: The Animated Series, but we also received arguably the greatest Marvel production of all time in the form of X-Men: The Animated Series.
First airing in 1992 and lasting for five seasons, this was the show that introduced Stan Lee’s favorite mutants to a wider audience. Additionally, it possessed one of the most hummable theme songs in the history of TV – an unshakeable tune that none of us could ever forget even if we tried.
While the surface looked incredible and inspired by Jim Lee’s legendary run on the comic book series, the storylines were amongst the deepest and most relevant for an animated series at the time. This wasn’t just a children’s program, as it tackled topics that drew parallels with real-life issues such as racism and homophobia.
There was so much to absorb and take in that it’s possible you missed more than a few interesting tidbits – and that’s why we’re here to help fill you in.
Here are the 15 Things You Completely Missed In X-Men: The Animated Series.
15. Deadpool Made An Appearance
Despite being one of the most popular comic book characters now, back in 1992 Deadpool was only a recognizable name for those buying the books. In fact, most people thought he looked like nothing more than an unfinished Spider-Man drawing.
Proving once again that the series was ahead of its time, X-Men: The Animated Series featured the Merc with a Mouth three times throughout its five seasons. While his appearances were nothing to write home about, they were relevant cameos since they tied him back to Wolverine’s back story and the Weapon X project.
What’s interesting about his appearance in the series is that it marked the first time that Wade Wilson had appeared outside of the comic book medium. Naturally, it was only a sign of things to come and he’s bloody everywhere now.
14. One Episode Had Two Completely Different Endings
While most of us look at the finished product and think it’s all put together flawlessly, it’s rather chaotic behind the scenes and all the people involved grayed a little. As anyone who has worked on a group project will attest to, working with people is never an easy or smooth ride.
When the episode “Slave Island” originally aired, the subsequent episode, “Unstoppable Juggernaut”, wasn’t ready for unknown reasons, so “Slave Island” couldn’t end as intended. This resulted in a different ending for the episode with typical stock footage of the Blackbird landing at the mansion being chosen to not impact any other storyline.
13. Rogue Introduced Herself As Miss LeBeau
While it’s no secret that Rogue and Gambit have one of the more interesting romances around in comic book lore, X-Men: The Animated Series made sure that Rogambit became more of a thing than Scott and Jean’s vanilla love story. Every interaction between them had electricity and you couldn’t help but root for them to be together.
It seems as if Rogue felt the same way, too, as she used the name Miss LeBeau in the episode “Hidden Agendas” when she introduced herself to the Guthries. LeBeau, if you weren’t aware, is Gambit’s real surname.
We’re pretty sure that the Ragin’ Cajun would’ve preferred if she’d said Mrs. LeBeau, but we guess he’ll take whatever he can get. Do you think she’s already practiced her future signature with his surname?
12. Beast Wore A Howard The Duck Shirt
Howard the Duck is one of those Marvel characters that’s universally loved – and no one really knows why. He’s become a cult character without ever having to reach the heights of Spider-Man or Captain America. Fittingly, his meta appearance on X-Men: The Animated Series was rather special.
After the team’s shuttle crashed and Jean Grey landed up in hospital, she was visited by her good friend Beast. While one might expect the furry X-Man to show up in a suit and tie, Hank McCoy went for a more casual look, wearing a shirt with an image of Howard the Duck.
11. Three Actresses Voiced Storm
Storm was one of the main characters on the show, so you’ll find it surprising to know that three voice actresses lent their talents to the character. The reason for this? Well, it’s complicated.
After season one had wrapped up production, the showrunners realized that it probably wasn’t a good thing that a white woman had voiced the most prominent black character on the series, so they roped in Iona Morris to re-record all of Storm’s lines.
While Morris was terrific in the role, she was also American, which caused a financial issue in the sense that American voice actors get paid residuals based on reruns and it wouldn’t be feasible in the long run.
10. Cyclop’s Eye Color Is Revealed
In most X-Men stories, we never get to see Scott Summers’ eye color. He’s normally chilling with a pair of shades on or behind his ruby-quartz visor. Mind you, with his powers, he’d put a hole through your head before you could even see if he is Charles Xavier’s blue-eyed boy– literally.
In the episode “Captive Hearts”, Scott and his bae, Jean Grey, are out on a date when they’re captured by the Morlocks who take them down below – but not too far down into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ pad, though. There, a mutant named Leech uses his powers to help Scott see out of his eyes without causing World War III.
9. Beast Reads Henry David Thoreau
We’re all aware of how smart Hank McCoy is. But what X-Men: The Animated Series excelled in was showing us just how cultured he is. Many majestic Shakespearean lines were quoted and Beast didn’t have his nose (or is it a snout?) too far from a book.
Everyone’s favorite blue furball showed his knack for the finer side of literature as well, as he was seen reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience.
While these titles didn’t alarm many viewers in the same way as Rupert the Bear’s naughty library collection did, they actually served a huge metaphorical purpose to the overarching theme of the X-Men and their battle for mutant rights with the government.
8. Wolverine References The Fastball Special
Longtime fans are familiar with the fact that Wolverine and Colossus have the coolest tag-team move since the Road Warriors’ Doomsday Device and The Shield’s Triple Powerbomb. It’s called the Fastball Special and involves Piotr Rasputin picking up the Ol’ Canucklehead and chucking him at an enemy with immense speed.
While Colossus is a major part of the X-Men, he wasn’t really part of the main cast in the series, making sporadic appearances throughout the five seasons. That said, he did have one encounter with Wolverine in the first season that had diehard fans geeking out at the cheeky reference.
In the episode “The Unstoppable Juggernaut”, Logan attacks Colossus at the construction site, only for him to be hurled into a pile of rubble in return. Characteristically, Wolverine quips, “The guy’s got a great arm.” You betcha, Wolvie.
7. Jubilee And Bishop Had The Same Mutant File Number
When Jubilee and Bishop first popped up in the first season of the series, fans must’ve been in seventh heaven. Not only were Xavier’s more famous students in the leading roles, but the two younger guns got some major screen time and played pivotal roles in the storylines.
Well, if you believe the animators, the Sentinels see Bishop and Jubilee as exactly the same person. You see, in “Days of Future Past – Part 1”, we spot that the mutant file on the Sentinel scan for Bishop’s card is 051063-241. If you’ve got a keen eye, you’ll undoubtedly know that Jubilee had the same number earlier on in the series.
6. Rogue Made Wood Explode
Rogue had one of the most powerful (and equally tragic) powers in the series. Much like a parasite, she could suck another’s mutant’s powers out of him/her and use them, while simultaneously draining their life force. It’s something that made her the ultimate fighter on the battlefield, but also prevented her from having physical contact with another human being.
However, none of us knew that she was capable of being a hit at a barbecue, too. In one episode, Rogue strikes a piece of wood and it proceeds to explode like it was made by the Acme Corporation. It didn’t just burst into flames– it exploded.
Now, it’s possible that she could’ve inherited some power like Gambit’s which would make her able to charge an object with energy. Yet, in this instance, she just hit the wood and it went kaboom. Weird, right?
5. “Mojovision” Parodied Other TV Shows
The episode “Mojovision” isn’t often regarded as one of the strongest in the series. Truth be told, it’s one of the silliest and campiest. Still, it did make us chuckle with its barrage of parodies of popular TV shows.
In this tale, Mojo is unhappy that his TV ratings are down, so he kidnaps the X-Men to put them in his Mojoverse and get the ratings up. Think of him as the producer of Arrow and the mutants as Manu Bennett, if you will.
So, Mojo put Storm and Cyclops in Miami Mutants (Miami Vice), Rogue and Beast in Rogue Star (Star Trek), and Wolverine and Jean Grey in I Dream of Jean (I Dream of Jeannie). As expected, his plan fell apart and the X-Men escaped. However, it was still humorous to see the mutants in these familiar roles.
4. A Skrull Appeared
The Skrulls are a race of alien shapeshifters who’ve caused a lot of havoc in Marvel since their first appearance in Fantastic Four #2 in 1962. Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, these buggers truly do come in all shapes and forms, and appear wherever you most least expect them to.
Proving they didn’t want to be left out of the party on X-Men: The Animated Series, a Skrull can be seen as an audience member on the episode “Mojovision”. It’s a brief blink-and-you-miss-it moment, but he’s there, nonetheless.
After appearing on this show, the aliens went on to make numerous appearances on the Silver Surfer and Fantastic Four animated series as well. It’s rumored they’ll make their MCU debut in 2019’s Captain Marvel, so hold thumbs for that live-action appearance, folks!
3. Doctor Strange Had The Books Ditko And Brunner On His Shelf
In the latter part of the series, many familiar faces from the Marvel universe began showing up on the show. One of them was Doctor Stephen Strange, who also cameoed on Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
In one of Strange’s appearances, the keenest of eyes would’ve spotted two familiar names– Ditko and Brunner– sitting on his bookshelf. In case you don’t know the relevance of these books, they’re references to Steve Ditko and Frank Brunner: two of the most important people to work on the Doctor Strange comic book series.
It’s a nice little tribute to the brains behind the character and not an over-the-top homage that you might usually expect. Later on in the show, we were treated to another popular MCU character, Captain America, popping up as well.
2. Storm Was Called By Her Real Name For The First Time In Season Three
Despite the X-Men using their real names rather freely in the series, it took a really long time for anyone to call Storm by her real name: Ororo Munroe.
Considering all of these new-age names and hippie parents, it’s possible that a lot of people thought Storm was actually her real name. Alternatively, maybe she preferred to keep it all strictly professional, and didn’t like it when people referred to her in a personal fashion?
Nonetheless, it wasn’t until season three when we first heard Beast utter the name “Ororo“ instead of “Storm,” and there was something about the way he said it that made it roll off his tongue silky-smooth and sound like the greatest name ever spoken. Bless his voice actor, George Buza, for having one of the best TV voices of all time.
1. The Other X-Men Don’t Seem To Know The Color Of Psylocke’s Hair
She was one of the most popular X-Men characters when the series came out, yet Psylocke was relegated to guest roles and a few non-speaking cameos.
Fortunately, when we did see her, it was good to see that the showrunners didn’t mess with what she was capable of doing too much, like X-Men: The Last Stand did.
However, Wolverine and Archangel seemed confused by one thing about her: her hair. Despite it being as clear as daylight that she had purple hair – like she does in the comic books – Wolvie referred to her as “black-haired” and Angel called her “raven-haired.” Are both of them maybe colorblind or something?
Or what if it was one of those white-gold or blue-black dress scenarios? Because if it is, her hair is still definitely purple.
Did we miss any obscure X-Men: The Animated Series facts or Easter eggs? Let us know!
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