You can thank Konami for the X-Men ‘97 revival

You can thank Konami for the X-Men ‘97 revival
Images via Konami | Disney

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Published 

27th Mar 2024 10:22

Although it's been 27 years since the credits rolled on X-Men: The Animated Series, the return of Charles Xavier's Gifted Youngsters for X-Men '97 makes it feel like barely a day has passed. As we cue up that iconic theme tune and check our colourful suits still fit, X-Men' '97 feels like an evolution of the '90s classic.

SPOILER WARNING: X-Men '97 spoilers ahead

As the name suggests, X-Men '97 picks up a year after the events of "Graduation Day," technically making it X-Men '98. It's not quite business as usual, and with Charles Xavier presumed dead, Magneto steps up to lead the team, Storm loses her powers, and Jean Grey... is an evil clone.

X-Men '97's return is thanks to Konami

 

X-Men The Arcade Game advert
Click to enlarge
Image via Konami

Word of an X-Men: The Animated Series revival had been doing the rounds since 2019, with Disney finally confirming X-Men '97 in 2021. The inclusion of the iconic theme tune in Ms. Marvel and Patrick Stewart appearing in Xavier's yellow chair for Multiverse of Madness only hyped us more, but finally, X-Men '97 is here.

While the rabid obsession of fans is a huge part of X-Men '97's return, Supervising Producer Jake Castorena would also like to thank Konami and Pizza Hut. It might seem like an odd pairing, but speaking to Den of Geek, Castorena explained how these '90s favourites helped bring the X-Men back to our screens. 

"Two major factors contribute to my love for the X-Men," said Castorena. "One is definitely the OG show. Like many people in my generation, we were introduced to these characters and [the show] let us know that these characters, and the many derivatives of teams and storylines that they got, existed."

Anyone worth their gaming salt will have played Konami's side-scrolling X-Men arcade game from 1992. Catorena is also a huge fan, citing it for X-Men '97's return: "It was also the original Konami game. That's actually where I was able to trace back my love of Storm."

Castorena said he was always drawn to the Windrider, Storm, adding, "Her power to just do a tornado that wipes out the whole map… that was awesome." As for the Pizza Hut influence, Castorena says he remembers a Pizza Hut promo for the series premiere, "Night of the Sentinels": "That was my intro. I watched Morph die over and over and over."

X-Men '97 is a massive hit

X-Men '97 Madelyne Pryor
Click to enlarge
Image via Disney

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It's not just Castorena's love of X-Men: The Animated Series that's brought him back into the fold. Fans themselves can't seem to get enough of the revival. It's a juggernaut (no, not the mutant) over on Disney+, with Deadline reporting four million turning into the premiere across just five days.

X-Men '97 is having a knock-on effect, as views of the original series have leapt by 522% since the first trailer debuted. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an unheard-of 98% rating. This puts recent Marvel output like Secret Invasion and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania to shame. 

Castorena teases that things are only going to get better, telling fans, "I will say, if you love the action, you’ve seen the slowest episodes so far. The show does not let up." X-Men '97 already has a second and third season in development, and if the first three episodes are anything to go by, we're in for something special. 

Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.

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