The team behind X-Men: The Animated Series is hoping to continue the show at Disney. Airing from 1992 to 1997, the series ran for 76 episodes over five seasons, and was how many people who didn’t read comics were introduced to the team and its vast ensemble cast of distinctive characters.
In 1992, Marvel wasn’t anything like the omnipotent media powerhouse it is today. The most recent adaptation of its library was the 1990 Captain America movie that was, to put it lightly, a misfire. The release of Blade was six years away, and it wasn’t until two years after that that the release of the first live action X-Men movie ignited the comic book movie boom that's now reaching ever greater heights. This attempt at an animated series was initially hampered by production delays that pushed back the series premiere, and the first episodes ultimately airing in incomplete form with hundreds of errors that the animation studio refused to fix. Despite this, the series was well received and positively reviewed, and is remembered fondly by those who watched it as kids, widely considering it to be one of the best comic book cartoons ever made, perhaps second only to Batman.
As reported by THR, the team of creatives behind the 1990s X-Men cartoon are planning to approach Disney with a pitch for a continuation of the series. Larry Houston, the director of every one of the show’s episodes, as well as being a producer and storyboard artist, simply stated that “The one thing we'd like to do more than anything else is to continue where we left off.”
The episode plots of the series are largely original creations, but periodically take inspiration from comics stories such as Days of Future Past, Phalanx Covenant, Age of Apocalypse, Legacy Virus, and most notably the Dark Phoenix Saga, remaining the best received of the story’s several adaptations. The team line-up consists of Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Beast, Gambit, Jean Grey, Professor X and Jubilee, the latter of whom initially acts as an audience surrogate to introduce the setting and characters in much the same way Rogue was used in the 2000 movie. The roster also mostly equated to the Blue Team in the X-Men comics published at the time, with the looks of the characters resembling how they were drawn by then-current artist Jim Lee (a design that was almost vetoed by Marvel due to Lee being one of the major Marvel artists who left soon after to form Image Comics).
Although it seems that for the moment Marvel can do little wrong, audiences are getting dangerously close to overwhelming superhero fatigue. Despite the cancellation of the Netflix series, there are several others still going and with new ones on the way, meaning there might not be space for yet another. However, the series being animated would set it apart from current and most future offerings, and the nostalgic enthusiasm of those who watched the series in the 1990s would provide a boost to its early viewing figures that might help it establish a foothold in people’s personal schedules. Despite it being over 20 years since the series ended, most of the characters are fresh in people’s minds in one form or another due to Fox’s series of films, now ended in a somewhat lackluster fizzle with Dark Phoenix. X-Men: The Animated Series ended on a rather somber and poignant note, and picking up from there and carrying on to explore the fallout from its events has a great deal of potential, regardless of the direction in which it’s taken.