The trailer for X Men 97 appears as Theo James joins

The trailer for “X-Men 97” appears as Theo James joins the cast and reveals old costumes

The X-Men have returned.

More than 30 years have passed since X-Men: The Animated Series aired and made Marvel's mutants household names. Now in 2024, at a time when all those Saturday morning cartoon kids are grown, Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Jean and more are returning to television to remind everyone why they are the GOAT.

Marvel Studios has released the highly anticipated first teaser trailer for X-Men '97, a direct sequel to X-Men: The Animated Series premiering March 20 on Disney+. Additionally, EW can exclusively get a first look at the core band returning to their classic Legacy costumes, which showrunner Beau DeMayo tells EW will serve a specific purpose in Season 1.

“Every design decision is actually indicative of the storylines we’re doing,” says DeMayo. “Nothing is arbitrary.” The reference from the old costumes is all about nostalgia. “It’s a nice nod to Pryde of the “What part of this do I want to keep?” Was it really easier back then, or were we just more naive?”

X-Men '97 follows the events of the 1997 finale of recover in the Shiite Empire. “Some fans said that when the show last ended 30 years ago, they felt like it was canceled,” says Lenore Zann, who returns to voice Rogue in the new series. “Well, finally you get the 'more.' You will be able to find out what happened next.

While Xavier believes in a world where humans and mutants can coexist, Magneto, the X-Men's long-time adversary, is now the new leader of the superhero team. “It’s always interesting to see Xavier’s dream turned on its head,” DeMayo says. “When I first came across it, I thought about what the world was like in the 90s, also questions of social acceptance and what does it mean to be different? It was much easier than it is today. [The X-Men] spent years telling humanity to embrace the future and move into the future together. What happens when they are hit with a future they didn't expect? How does it feel to be on the other end when you feel like the future is leaving you behind?”

EW can also exclusively confirm the cast of veteran and new actors who will be joining the sequel series.

Cal Dodd (Wolverine/Logan), Alison Sealy-Smith (Storm/Ororo Munroe), George Buza (Beast/Henry “Hank” McCoy), Adrian Hough (Nightcrawler/Kurt Wagner) and Chris Britton (Mister Sinister/Nathaniel Essex) return alongside Zann, she also returns to her roles from X-Men: The Animated Series.

“Rogue is still Rogue and has the same problems,” Zann teases the mutant, whose ability to absorb powers makes it impossible for her to physically touch another person. “A lot of people can relate to that, that she wants to be loved, wants to belong, wants to be touched and not be accepted for who she is. There are a lot of LGBTQ people who tell me they can really relate to it for the same reasons. Rogue really embodies this because she always seems to have trouble accepting herself for who she is, warts and all.”

The original “X-Men” return to their old costumes in “X-Men '97.”

Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

As for the other known characters, Ray Chase will now voice Cyclops/Scott Summers, Jennifer Hale will voice Jean Grey, AJ LoCascio will voice Gambit/Remy LeBeau, Holly Chou will voice Jubilee/Jubilation Lee, JP Karliak will voice Morph, Isaac Robinson -Smith will voice Bishop/Lucan Bishop, Matthew Waterson will voice Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr, Ross Marquand will voice Professor Charles the Sentinels.

Then there's The White Lotus and Divergent star Theo James, with whom DeMayo worked on the 2021 Netflix animated film The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf. (James provided the voice for lead character Vesemir, and DeMayo wrote the film.) While details about James' role are still a mystery, DeMayo teases, “I think it's a fan-favorite character, and it's going to surprise people.”

There's still a place for other veteran actors from X-Men: The Animated Series in the sequel. Catherine Disher, the original Jean Grey, now voices Dr. Valerie Cooper, who is apparently up to no good. Chris Potter, the original Gambit, now plays Cable/Nathan Summers. Lawrence Bayne, the original Cable, now plays Carl Dentil/X-Cutioner. Ron Rubin, the original Morph, now plays President Robert Edward Kelly. Finally, Alyson Court, the original Jubilee, now plays Abscissa.

There are many reasons for the recasts, explains DeMayo, ranging from more authentic portrayal (Court acknowledges that portraying an Asian character like Jubilee as a Canadian actress in the '90s was a product of her time) to vocal intonations. He uses the relationship between Cable and Cyclops as an example: Cable is the time-displaced son of Cyclops from a future timeline and “has a huge arc” in X-Men '97, DeMayo confirms. “It was really [about] How do we make sure the audience knows that this is a strange relationship where the father is younger than the son, and how do we make sure that the vocal qualities tell that story when they talk to each other?

There were also more symbolic reasons, as with Jean Grey. DeMayo wanted the actress behind his favorite X-Men character to embody the thesis of X-Men '97 as Valerie Cooper.

“Jean Gray is the epitome of empathy,” says DeMayo. “She is the only person who truly understands the sacrifices required to be an X-Man.” (See the Phoenix Saga from the original series.) “Val has a very interesting storyline in our first season, I must say. I remember the first meeting with Catherine. I thought, 'You're going to present the thesis.' series in this one particular episode, and we'll build it up very carefully over the course of those episodes.' To me, she was so at the heart of the original series that it felt right to me that she put forward the thesis.”

What kind of theory is this? DeMayo remains tight-lipped, but continues to reflect on the idea of ​​empathy: “The main thing I found with this series was that you can end up adopting the entire philosophy of Xavier's dream, but if you just boil it down, Empathy is the way forward.”

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