There might not have been a Marvel Studios panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, but Marvel didn’t come to the five-day event in Southern California empty handed when it comes to upcoming programming — as attendees to the Designing the X-Men panel Thursday afternoon were thrilled to discover. Following a surprise appearance by producers for the upcoming Disney+ animated series X-Men ’97, the crowd was treated to an exclusive screening of an internal teaser created for Marvel and Disney executives to demonstrate the tone of the show.
Good news for fans of X-Men: The Animated Series, which the new show is following: not only does the series feature the return of much of the voice talent from the 1990s animated classic — including Cal Dodd as Wolverine, Lenore Zane as Rogue, and Alison Sealy-Smith as Storm — but the animation, at least in this tease, is smoother and more ambitious than what’s been seen before.
Head writer and producer Beau DeMayo said that the animation was unfinished and intended as a sampler to show executives what to expect from the show in terms of tone, and explained that Marvel knew that this year’s SDCC was going to be a weird show… but that it wouldn’t feel right not to give attendees something that wouldn’t be seen anywhere else.
Rather than a traditional teaser or trailer format, the sequence was part of a larger narrative, as Cyclops and Storm interrogated Henry Gyrich over what appeared to be the shooting of Charles Xavier. (It was left unclear if Xavier was still alive as a result of the attempt on his life.) Gyrich was unrepentant for his actions, suggesting that humanity had to fight back or else be eradicated by mutants, but bravado was pointless — after he attempted to out-macho Cyclops, the latter simply asked, “have you met my wife?” before the audience saw Jean Grey using the Cerebro helmet, enter Gyrich’s mind… where something happened to wrest control back from her, so that she ended up in a dreamscape that was a hellish red, interrupted by the appearance of a giant robotic head that announced, “I am death. I am Master Mold.”
The action then shifted to the Blackbird, as the X-Men sped to the Sahara Desert, where they believed they would find both Master Mold and his creator, Bolivar Trask — and they were probably right, in that they were immediately attacked by a Sentinel that destroyed their craft and sent them plummeting to the ground. Of course, they’re the X-Men, so they survived (not least of all because Morph transformed into Angel, complete with his 1990s metal wings), with the teaser ending with a fun sequence where Cyclops used his optic beams to slow his fall until he landed safely, before staring into the camera and saying, “To me, my X-Men.”
DeMayo said that work was proceeding apace on the animated series. “We’re deep in post on season one, writing season two,” he revealed. The first season is expected to debut on Disney+ late in 2023.
Popverse saw it and did most of it, and you can find all about our guide to All the big news, magic, and moments from San Diego Comic-Con. And if you want to go to SDCC next year, we have the San Diego Comic-Con 2024 dates as well.