X-Men ’97 season 2 tees up Apocalypse, the Askani, and time travel

Summoner, Cable, Apocalypse, Rachel Grey, Monet St. Crox, and Beast face a horde of monsters, as the faces of the Four Horsemen loom in the clouds behind them, on the cover of X of Swords: Creation #1, Marvel Comics (2020).

X-Men ’97 closed out its first season in the glorious, traditional way of its forebear, X-Men: The Animated Series. That is to say, with a wild cliffhanger.

But unlike the last season of The Animated Series, which saw Professor Xavier leaving Earth to (presumably) die of wounds sustained in battle with anti-mutant forces, X-Men ’97 won’t take 27 years to follow up.

Is X-Men ’97 getting a second season?

Yes! X-Men ’97’s second season was greenlit in back in 2022, and production on it is already largely wrapped, with Marvel Animation spinning up production on a third season as well.

It’s a good time to be a fan of the X-Men in animation!

What will X-Men ’97 season 2 be about?

Image: Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia/Marvel Comics

In a word: Apocalypse. The final episode of season 1 left the X-Men separated across three different time periods following the destruction of Magneto’s floating base, Asteroid M. This doesn’t seem to have been intentional on their part — the time-stranded X-Men seem flummoxed by it, and as Bishop describes it, “something or someone yanked our friends through time.” Being a time traveler himself, Bishop would know.

So the second season of X-Men ’97 looks to be separating itself into three plot lines — at least to start with — set in Egypt’s ancient past, Earth’s far future, and the present day. And if we bring in some X-Men comics knowledge, it’s clear that all of these plots arc back to the villain Apocalypse.

How does En Sabah Nur become Apocalypse?

En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse) stands in a desert holding a staff. He’s got his characteristic grey skin, blue face markings, and red eyes.

Image: Marvel Animation

Rogue, Nightcrawler, Beast, Professor X, and Magento seem to be stranded in the ancient past, just in time to interact with the origin story of Apocalypse. The big, blue-faced X-Men villain who believes mutantkind must be put through rigorous “survival of the fittest”-based challenges in order to claim their dominance over humans began his immortal existence as an ancient Egyptian man.

Who is Mother Askani?

Mother Askani with her followers in X-Men ’97. She has a long, grey braid, red facial markins, and is wearing a purple, hooded robe, from which her eyes look, piercingly.

Image: Marvel Animation

Cyclops and Jean are stranded 2,000 years in the future, in the time of Clan Askani, a group of rebel fighters resisting the (ahem) post-apocalyptic rule of Apocalypse. In the comics, the Askani’s timeline is where baby Cable was sent, in the hopes that the future might hold the cure to his techno-organic virus, and Cable was received there as a kind of messianic child — his time-travel confirmed destiny being to put an end to Apocalypse’s reign.

Also, in the comics, Mother Askani (who is actually Scott and Jean’s grown-up daughter from yet another timeline, but don’t worry about it) used her own mutant gift of time manipulation to pull Cyclops and Jean into the future so that they could actually raise their own son there, before returning to the present day as if no time had passed. Cable’s presence here — as the teenage Nathan — indicates that X-Men ’97 will be taking its own swing at that story, called The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix.

What will Apocalypse do next?

Apocalypse’s hand, with one of Gambit’s burnt playing cards — the queen of hearts — nestled in it.

Image: Marvel Animation

Season 1’s finale credits scene brings us back to Apocalypse in the present, and gives us a big hint at the future of all those really juicy, loved, or love-to-hate X-Men characters — like Gambit, Emma Frost, and Sebastian Shaw — who died on Genosha.

“So much pain, my children,” Apocalypse orates over one of Gambit’s playing cards. “So much death.” The odds of Apocalypse striking back at humanity for the fall of Genosha seem likely, and that he’ll resurrect some of Genosha’s dead as his Four Horsemen seems inevitable.

So as the X-Men search for their friends from the present, its seems they’ll have to contest with Apocalypse’s plans as well.

Oh and then there’s the matter of Wolverine’s bones.

When does X-Men ’97 season 2 come out?

Work on the season 2 finale had already begun as of July 2023, and development on a third season was soon to begin as of this past March. Before beginning production on season 3, however, Marvel Animation will be searching for a new showrunner, after the studio “parted ways” with writer Beau DeMayo.

That being the case, and judging from how Disney usually spaces out its Disney Plus offerings, it seems likely we could see X-Men ’97 season 2 in 2025.

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