X-Men, also known as X-Men: The Animated Series, is an American animated television series which debuted on October 31, 1992 in the United States on the Fox Network as part of its Fox Kids Saturday morning lineup. X-Men was Marvel Comics' second attempt at an animated X-Men TV series after the pilot X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men was not picked up.
In 1991, Margaret Loesch became head of Fox Children's Network. Having championed the Pryde of the X-Men pilot in 1989, she was quick to set up an order for 13 episodes of X-Men. Saban Entertainment was contracted to produce the show and hired a small studio Graz Entertainment to produce the episodes as it did not have sufficient staff at the time to handle production in house. Graz employed the creative staff, wrote and designed each episode, drew the storyboards and hired the voice actors. South Korean studio AKOM was hired to animate the episodes. X-Men was originally to premiere over the Labor Day weekend in September; due to production delays, it was pushed to the end of October. When the animation team AKOM turned in the first episode, it contained hundreds of animation errors, which AKOM refused to fix. Because of time constraints, the episode was aired it that unfinished form. The second episode was turned in just before deadline, with 50 scenes missing and only a single day reserved for editing. The "Night of the Sentinels" two-part episode originally aired as a "sneak preview" on October 31.
Because of the production delays and animation errors in these two episodes, Fox threatened to sever AKOM's contracts. When Fox re-aired the pilot in early 1993, the errors were corrected. The series earned top ratings throughout its first season, and was renewed for a second season of 13 episodes.
After the box office success of the live-action X-Men film in the summer of 2000, Fox began airing reruns of the cartoon on weekday afternoons. At first, only episodes that primarily featured content in the movie were broadcast. Later, the series was aired in proper order, but it was pulled from the air in early 2001. Soon after, ABC Family and Toon Disney began airing reruns, due to Disney's buyout of all Saban Entertainment programs. X-Men was taken off the air again after Toon Disney was discontinued and Disney XD took over its programming.
The show features X-Men similar in look and line-up to the early 1990s X-Men drawn by Jim Lee (specifically, Cyclops' Blue Team, established in the early issues of X-Men: Legacy), composed of Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Beast, Gambit, Jubilee, Jean Grey, Professor X, as well as an original character, Morph (an adaptation of previous X-Men member Changeling).
Although the majority of series' stories are original, a number of storylines and events from the comics are loosely adapted in the series, such as "The Dark Phoenix Saga", "Days of Future Past", the "Phalanx Covenant", and the "Legacy Virus". The third episode, "Enter Magneto", features a confrontation at a missile base: this is largely based on the X-Men's first battle with Magneto, as told in their 1963 debut The X-Men #1. The season four episodes "Sanctuary, Parts I & II", which involve Magneto creating an orbiting haven for mutants, were influenced by several storylines from the comics, chiefly the first three issues of X-Men: Legacy and the "Fatal Attractions" crossover. A time-line similar to that in Age of Apocalypse is shown in the episode "One Man's Worth". The entire saga of the Phoenix is retold and adapted in the third season, subdivided into the five-part "Phoenix Saga", in which Jean acquires the power of the Phoenix and the battle for the M'Kraan Crystal occurs, and the "Dark Phoenix Saga", showcasing the battle with the Hellfire Club, the Phoenix Force's transformation into Dark Phoenix, and the battle to decide her fate.
The series deals with social issues, including divorce ("Proteus"), Christianity ("Nightcrawler" & "[Bloodlines]]"), the Holocaust ("Enter Magneto", "Deadly Reunions", "Days of Future Past", and "The Phalanx Covenant"), and AIDS hysteria ("Time Fugitives"), and feelings of Loneliness ("No Mutant Is an Island"). Television was satirized in the episodes "Mojovision" and "Longshot".
X-Men crossed over with the animated series Spider-Man, when Spider-Man seeks out the X-Men's help to stave off his progressing mutation. In the abbreviated form of the Secret Wars storyline, the Beyonder and Madame Web selected Spider-Man to lead a team of heroes including Storm against a group of villains. An earlier draft of "Secret Wars" involved all of the X-Men, but transporting the voice cast to Los Angeles where production for the Spider-Man animated series was based from Canada had been too costly in previous crossovers, so the episode was re-written to include only Storm, whose actress, Iona Morris, lived in Los Angeles. Hulk and She-Hulk were excluded from the episodes because the The Incredible Hulk animated series featuring the characters was airing on rival network UPN.
The first season of the show brought the X-Men into conflict with human conspirators building mutant-exterminating Sentinel robots, Magneto and his attempts to instigate a human-mutant war, and the powerful mutant Apocalypse's plans to eradicate the weak, both human and mutant alike. Other storylines including X-Men member Morph's death at the hands of Sentinels, Beast's incarceration, and an assassination attempt on US senator Kelly by Apocalypse's minions to turn human sentiment against the mutants. The second season sees Cyclops and Jean get married and become the targets of Mister Sinister, who hopes to use the genetically perfect combination of their DNA to create an army of obedient mutants. Morph returns, having been rescued by Sinister and brainwashed into forcing the X-Men apart. The season also features the growing rift between humans and mutants, spearheaded by the Friends of Humanity, an anti-mutant group who lead the persecution of all mutants. Apocalypse also returns, developing a deadly plague to be blamed on mutants, fueling mutant hatred.
The third season focuses on the cosmic force, the Phoenix, which merges with Jean Grey and eventually turns her into the malevolent and powerful Dark Phoenix. The season also introduced the Shi'ar Empire who want to stop the Dark Phoenix, including Lilandra and Gladiator. Other storylines include the introduction of Wolverine's former lover turned mercenary, Lady Deathstrike, former X-Men member Iceman, and the villainous Shadow King
- Cyclops / Scott Summers (Norm Spencer): The leader of the X-Men. He possesses the ability to fire concussive blasts from his eyes. He is in a relationship with Jean Grey.
- Wolverine / Logan (Cathal J. Dodd): A mutant with a regenerative healing factor, heightened senses, an adamantium-laced skeleton that render his bones virtually indestructible, and retractable claws capable of cutting virtually anything.
- Rogue (Lenore Zann): She possesses the uncontrollable ability to absorb the memories, powers and energy of those she touches. She has permanently absorbed the superhuman strength, durability and flight of Ms. Marvel.
- Storm / Ororo Munroe (Iona Morris (1992–93), Alison Sealy-Smith (1993–97)): She is able to control the weather, using it to injure her foes or fly and is second in command of the X-Men.
- Beast / Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy (George Buza): His mutation covers his body in fur and morphs his body, granting him superhuman strength and agility to complement his genius mind.
- Gambit / Remy LeBeau (Chris Potter (1992–96), Tony Daniels (1997)): He can charge virtually any object with explosive energy, turning them into bombs.
- Jubilee / Jubilation Lee (Alyson Court): The newest member of the X-Men, she is close to Wolverine.
- Jean Grey / Phoenix (Catherine Disher): A telekinetic and telepath. She is in a relationship with Cyclops.
- Professor X / Charles Xavier (Cedric Smith): The founder of the X-Men and a powerful telepath.
- Angel / Warren Worthington (Stephen Ouimette)
- Apocalypse / En Sabah Nur (John Colicos (1993–95), James Blendick)
- Avalanche (Rod Coneybeare)
- Banshee / Sean Cassidy (Jeremy Ratchford)
- Bishop (Philip Akin)
- Blob (Robert Cait)
- Bolivar Trask (Brett Halsey)
- Cable (Lawrence Bayne)
- Cameron Hodge (Stephen Ouimette)
- Colossus / Piotr Rasputin (Rick Bennett, Robert Cait)
- Emma Frost (Tracey Moore)
- Fabian Cortez (Lawrence Bayne)
- Forge (Marc Strange)
- Gladiator (Richard Epcar)
- Henry Peter Gyrich (Barry Flatman)
- Iceman / Bobby Drake (Dennis Akayama)
- Juggernaut / Cain Marko (Rick Bennett)
- Ka-Zar (Robert Bockstael)
- Lady Deathstrike / Yuriko Oyama (Tasha Simms, Jane Luk)
- Leech (John Stocker)
- Lilandra Neramani (Camilla Scott)
- Magneto / Erik Lehnsherr (David Hemblen)
- Master Mold (David Fox)
- Mister Sinister (Christopher Britton)
- Moira MacTaggert (Lally Cadeau)
- Morph (Ron Rubin)
- Mystique / Raven Darkholme (Randall Carpenter (1992–93), Jennifer Dale (1994–97)
- Nightcrawler / Kurt Wagner (Paul Haddad)
- Northstar (Rene Lemieux)
- Omega Red (Len Doncheff)
- Psylocke / Betsy Braddock (Tasha Simms)
- Puck/Eugene Milton Judd (Don Francks)
- Pyro (Graham Halley)
- Quicksilver / Pietro Maximoff (Adrian Egan)
- Sabretooth / Victor Creed (Don Francks)
- Sauron (Robert Bockstael)
- Senator Robert Kelly (Len Carlson)
- Scarlet Witch / Wanda Maximoff (Susan Roman)
- Sentinels (David Fox)
- Sunfire (Dennis Akayama)
- Guardian (Barry Flatman
- Minor characters
- Amelia Voght (Susan Roman)
- Amphibius (Peter McCowatt)
- Annalee (Kay Tremblay)
- Ape (Ross Petty)
- Arkon (Paul Haddad)
- Aurora (Jennifer Dale)
- Cannonball (Adrian Egan)
- Captain America (Lawrence Bayne)
- Darkstar (Elizabeth Rukavina)
- Domino (Jennifer Dale)
- Erik the Red (Lawrence Bayne)
- Famine (Catherine Gallant)
- Gorgeous George (Rod Wilson)
- Graydon Creed (John Stocker)
- High Evolutionary (James Blendick)
- Longshot (Rod Wilson)
- Ilyana Rasputin (Tara Strong)
- Mastermind (Nigel Bennett)
- Mojo (Peter Wildman)
- Ms. Marvel / Carol Danvers (Roscoe Handford)
- Plague / Pestilence (Judy Marshak)
- Polaris / Lorna Dane (Terri Hawkes)
- Proteus (Stuart Stone)
- Ruckus (Dan Hennessey)
- Sasquatch (Harvey Atkin)
- Shadow King (Maurice Dean Wint)
- Shaman (Don Francks)
- Shard (Kay Tremblay)
- Silver Samurai (Dennis Akayama)
- Snowbird (Melissa Sue Anderson)
- Sunder (Dan Hennessey)
- Tar Baby (David Corbain)
- Vertigo (Megan Smith)
- Dr. Heather Hudson (Rebecca Jenkins)
- War (James Millington)
The original opening sequence featured the X-Men demonstrating their mutant abilities to a now very distinctive instrumental theme (written by Ron Wasserman). This intro is used throughout the first four seasons. A modified version is eventually introduced in season five, episode one ("Phalanx Covenant, Part One"). In this new intro, the beginning of the theme is slightly changed. When UPN began airing repeats on Sunday mornings an alternate credits sequence was used: a high-quality Japanese-animated version of the original opening.
X-Men originally aired on TV Tokyo from 1994 through 1995. For the TV Tokyo dub of the series, the intro was replaced with a new, Japanese-animated sequence as well as a new theme called "Rising" (ライジング), by the band Ambience (アンビエンス). Starting with episode 42, a second new intro was used, featuring the song "Dakishimetai Dare Yori Mo" (抱きしめたい誰よりも…). The end credits sequence was also changed: it featured shots of American X-Men comic books set to the song "Back to You" (バック･トウ･ユー), also by Ambience.
The TV Tokyo dub was directed by Yoshikazu Iwanami and featured scripts rewritten to include a more humorous, self-satirical tone as well as an emphasis on comical adlibbing (a hallmark of Iwanami's dubbing style). Episodes were edited for time so that new segments could be added to the end which promoted the X-Men: Children of the Atom video game from Capcom. The dub actors would pretend to play the game as their characters and make humorous asides and remarks. X-Men was dubbed a second time in the early 2000s for broadcast on Toon Disney (Japan). This dub was more faithful to the original English scripts and episodes were not cut for time. The Toon Disney version used the original American intro and end credits rather than the unique ones created for the TV Tokyo version.
The show was both acclaimed and commercially successful. Along with Batman: The Animated Series, the series success helped launch numerous comic book shows in the 1990s.
In its prime, X-Men garnered very high ratings for a Saturday morning cartoon, and like Batman: The Animated Series, it received wide critical praise for its portrayal of many different storylines from the comics.
In 2009, IGN ranked X-Men as the 13th greatest animated show of all time in their Top 100 list, the third-highest standing for a comic book-adapted show on the list. The show also ranks in at 152 on IMDB's Highest Rated TV Shows with At Least 5,000 Votes
X-Men Adventures was a comic book spin-off of the animated series. Beginning in November 1992, it adapted the first three seasons of the show; in April 1996, it became Adventures of the X-Men, which contained original stories set within the same continuity. The comic book lasted until March 1997, shortly after the show's cancellation by the Fox Network.
Volume 5 of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Hardcovers lists the X-Men cartoon as part of the Marvel multiverse, inhabiting Earth-92131. Also, the plague infested future that Bishop tried to prevent in Season 2 is listed as Earth-13393 while Cable's release of the immediate cure of the plague is listed as Earth-121893.
- X-Men Adventures vol. 1 (1992–94) (15 issues)
- X-Men Adventures vol. 2 (1994–95) (13 issues)
- X-Men Adventures vol. 3 (1995–96) (13 issues)
- Adventures of the X-Men (1996–97) (12 issues)
- X-Men Cartoon Maker: The X-Men Cartoon Maker was a recreational software package that allowed the user to create animations with a minimal level of sophistication by utilizing a library of backdrops, animations and sound effects from the show. Wolverine and Storm (voice-only) help you out.
- X-Men: Released by Western Technologies INC in June 1993 for Mega Drive. (This game was later followed by X-Men 2: Clone Wars in May 1995.) Sega also released several X-Men game titles for its GameGear hand held system.
- X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse: Released by Capcom in November 1994 for Super Nintendo.
- Capcom's VS. Series: The characters in the series were licensed by Capcom and were the inspiration for the video game X-Men: Children of the Atom, which in turn would be the basis for the Marvel vs. Capcom sub-series of video games.Most of the voice actors who did the voices in the series reprised their roles for the video game. Capcom would continue to use these characters long after the show was cancelled before eventually losing the rights to create Marvel-based games to Electronic Arts in 2001. Capcom, however, would reacquire the rights in 2008 and released Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds on February 15, 2011. Some games in this series are:
- X-Men: Children of the Atom: Released in December 1994 for Arcade, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PC.
- Marvel Super-Heroes: Released in 1995 for Arcade, PlayStation, Sega Saturn.
- X-Men vs. Street Fighter: Released in 1996 for Arcade, PlayStation, Sega Saturn.
- Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter: Released in 1997 for Arcade, PlayStation, Sega Saturn.
- Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes: Released in 1998 for Arcade, PlayStation, Dreamcast.
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes: Released in 2000 for Arcade, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PSN, XBLA.
- Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds: Released in 2011 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The comic book series X-Men '92, one of the many tie-in titles for Marvel's 2015 Secret Wars event and later a continuous series in All-New, All-Different Marvel, is based on the TV series, starring members of the show's reality.
- Season 1
- Night of the Sentinels (Part One)
- Night of the Sentinels (Part One)
- Enter Magneto
- Deadly Reunions
- Captive Hearts
- Cold Vengence
- Slave Island
- The Unstoppable Juggernaut
- The Cure
- Come The Apocalypse
- Days of Future Past (Part One)
- Days of Future Past (Part Two)
- The Final Decision
- Season 2
- 'Til Death Do Us Part (Part One)
- 'Til Death Do Us Part (Part Two)
- Whatever It Takes
- Red Dawn
- Repo Man
- X-Ternally Yours
- Time Fugitives (Part One)
- Time Fugitives (Part Two)
- A Rogue's Tale
- Beauty and The Beast
- Reunion (Part One)
- Reunion (Part Two)
- Season 3
- Out of the Past (Part One)
- Out of the Past (Part Two)
- Phoenix Saga (Part One) - Sacrifice
- Phoenix Saga (Part Two) - Dark Shroud
- Phoenix Saga (Part Three) - Cry of the Banshee
- Phoenix Saga (Part Four) - Starjammers
- Phoenix Saga (Part Five) - Child of Light
- Savage Land, Savage Heart (Part One)
- Savage Land, Savage Heart (Part Two)
- Dark Phoenix Saga (Part One) - Dazzled
- Dark Phoenix Saga (Part Two) - Inner Circle
- Dark Phoenix Saga (Part Three) - The Dark Phoenix
- Dark Phoenix Saga (Part Four) - The Fate of the Phoenix
- Cold Comfort
- Orphan's End
- The Juggernaut Returns
- Weapon X, Lies, and Video Tape
- Season 4
- One Man's Worth (Part 1)
- One Man's Worth (Part 2)
- Proteus (Part 1)
- Proteus (Part 2)
- Sanctuary (Part 1)
- Sanctuary (Part 2)
- Beyond Good and Evil (Part 1): The End of Time
- Beyond Good and Evil (Part 2): Promise of Apocalypse
- Beyond Good and Evil (Part 3): The Lazarus Chamber
- Beyond Good and Evil (Part 4): End and Beginning
- Have Yourself a Morlock Little X-Mas
- The Lotus and the Steel
- Love in Vain
- Secrets, Not Long Buried
- Xavier Remembers
- Family Ties
- Season 5
- The Phalanx Covenant (Part 1)
- The Phalanx Covenant (Part 2)
- A Deal with the Devil
- No Mutant Is an Island
- Longshot (episode)
- Storm Front (Part 1
- Storm Front (Part 2)
- Jubilee's Fairytale Theatre
- The Fifth Horseman
- Old Soldiers
- Hidden Agendas
- Graduation Day