X-Men '97: Marvel Studios Exec Addresses That Dark Genosha Twist

Marvel exec Brad Winderbaum discusses the most grown-up moments in X-Men '97, including the Genosha Massacre and one other standout moment...

X-Men '97 has been the shot in the arm that the Marvel Cinematic Universe never knew it needed.  The X-Men animated series has re-galvanized mainstream interest in the X-Men franchise, and Marvel Studios has capitalized on that momentum by locking in a writer for the X-Men Marvel Cinematic Universe movie

ComicBook.com's Phase Zero podcast sat down with Brad Winderbaum, Marvel Studios Head of Streaming, Television and Animation, to talk about X-Men '97. One of the biggest topics that had to be addressed was the infamous Genosha Massacre in X-Men '97 Episode 5, "Remember It". It was one of the most epic and heart-wrenching piece of Marvel storytelling that fans ever experienced – and it was also our first clear confirmation that X-Men '97 is tied to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe in a significant way. 

(Photo: Disney+)

During the interview with Winderbaum, The Marvel exec expressed how X-Men '97 was always shooting for a balance between the nostalgic experience of X-Men: The Animated Series and bringing something deeper and more serious to fans who had grown up since the days of that Saturday Morning cartoon: 

Part of the philosophy of making the show that we all just embraced from the beginning was that we wanted to emulate the feelings that the original show gave us as kids. When you're a kid watching these shows and you see Morph die, you see Jean die, or you're just living through The Dark Phoenix Saga, or whatever it might be, and just the idea of cliffhangers or serialized storytelling ... I mean, all this stuff was so new to me personally as a kid, and probably so many of us, that to jump ahead 30 years and deliver that same magnitude of emotional impact, the story had to become heightened. And for those moments of tragedy to land pretty significantly.

There where several examples of that guiding philosophy shining through that Winderbaum points to – the Genosha Massacre was definitely one of them – but there was another moment in the series that Winderbaum felt was the greater standout moment of the series, in terms of delivering adult-level seriosness: 

"The ending of 1x05 is hard to beat so I'll just table that one. The trial of Magneto speech after ... His final speech in the atmosphere of Earth where we see this guy, this man struggling with his own philosophies and trying to stay empathetic when the world is just confirming for him that he's right over and over again, to me, is probably the ... If I was forced to choose one, it's probably that speech."

X-Men '97 is now streaming on Disney+.