The X-Men ’97 Team Dishes on the Finale’s Big Bad Reveal

The X-Men ’97 Team Dishes on the Finale’s Big Bad Reveal

That X-Men ‘97 season finale was quite the sucker punch for fans invested in Marvel Animation’s revived classic series coming into a modern era. We saw the X-Men overcome seemingly insurmountable odds against Bastion after the reveal that he was this season’s big bad—not the red herrings Magneto and Sinister (who still played a major villainous role in the finale).

But it was the surprise during the end credits scene that revealed more end-of the-world sized threats were on the way—including a major villain. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, supervising producer and head director Jake Castorena, head of Marvel Animation Brad Winderbaum, and episodic director Emi Yonemura discussed the exciting X-Men ‘97 twist.

“All roads eventually lead to Apocalypse,” Castorena told EW about bringing in the major X-Men foe into the fold. “I mean, how do they not? It’s either Apocalypse or Magneto or Sinister more often than not.” It makes sense after having the X-Men appear in the past in Egypt to meet En Sabah Nur, who has been affected by the alien powers of his origin, to contrast that with him as Apocalypse in the present, post-Bastion battle.

“It was always part of Beau [DeMayo]’s pitch to bring Apocalypse in at a certain point,” said Winderbaum, referring to the series creator, who has since left the show. “Apocalypse was never really on the table for season one, but he was always top of mind as we thought about the future.”

Yonemura added that it’s a plan they’re still keeping in place. “I love it because both Magneto and Xavier are right and wrong, so you’ve got to have this other party come in and completely destroy how both of them see the world, completely put both of them at odds and challenge their thoughts,” they said. “But also, his ultimate goal is power. What does that mean? How does that manifest?”

Added Castorena, “Magneto is somebody that embraces their mutant identity, their mutant nature, and behooves others to do the same. Apocalypse is the first mutant that refuses to acknowledge that.” The character helps raise the tension surrounding Charles and Magneto’s ever-evolving discourse about the X-Men existing among humanity.

It will be interesting to see how the X-Men influence En Sabah Nur before he progresses into Apocalypse with powers that include strength, shapeshifting, mental abilities, and immortality; he shows up when the X-Men scatter across timelines and does the wildest thing—picks up Gambit’s card—which to fans foreshadowed how, in the comics, he used his superior tech to turn certain mutants into his his Four Horsemen: War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death. Will Gambit be reanimated like in the comics to be the Horseman of Death? Castorena’s reference in the interview was knowingly cryptic: “Oh, did something happen with Gambit in the comics? Oh, that’s cool.”

Watch X-Men ‘97 season one now streaming on Disney+.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

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