Six months ago, in the wake of Disney+ day and the EARTH-SHATTERING announcement that X-Men: The Animated Series would be revived on Disney+ under the Marvel Studios banner, I had the crazy theory that this revival could tie into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. I even wrote an article explaining in depth how animated Charles Xavier’s story left off, and why it would make sense for X-Men ’97 to continue without him.
[Warning: article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. If you want to avoid spoilers, but are interested in learning more about the new animated series, visit the article below or other articles in the X-Men ’97 tag.]
Is the Multiverse of Madness Xavier connected to the X-Men ’97 series?
So was Professor X as seen in the Doctor Strange sequel, actually the animated Xavier? And if so, what does this mean for the future?
To answer the first question: Yes. Or at least a very similar variant. When Patrick Stewart’s Xavier rolls in, the score plays a piece of music that’s iconic to an entire generation of fans. As well-known as it is, it’s not a theme from any of the movies that actually star Patrick Stewart; instead, it’s a new arrangement of the classic X-Men ’92 theme.
I was so excited that I scanned the end credits for it after the movie, and the answer was even more than I expected. It’s not just credited as a variation of the X-Men ’92 theme – it’s credited as “X-Men ’97 Theme.”
That’s right: In Multiverse of Madness, we got the first tease of the official new theme from X-Men ’97. So the animated music cue, coupled with the animated series’ distinctive yellow chair (which Xavier only has in classic comics and the animated series – NOT the live-action films), shows that the filmmakers were indeed trying to tie this Xavier to the 90s animated series instead of his live-action iterations.
So how does X-Men ’97 connect to the Illuminati?
At the end of the original X-Men series, Charles is sick. He flies off to the Shi’ar to be treated with their advanced medicine and presumably dies in peace, and that’s the bittersweet end of his story. If Multiverse of Madness Xavier is the same Xavier, then there is an untold story of how he got better, left the Shi’ar, met the other heroes, and formed the Illuminati.
Never mind how his X-Men factored into the alternate Thanos saga teased in the movie, or where they are now. If he is the same Xavier, then that is a LOT of story left untold in Doctor Strange 2.
So why not tell it?
In addition to being a continuation of the X-Men’s adventures, what if X-Men ’97 is also the origin story of the Illuminati in Multiverse of Madness? The 90s animated shows were groundbreaking for being one connected universe. X-Men (1992). Iron Man (1994). Fantastic Four (1994). Spider-Man (1994). Fifteen years before the MCU, this was the most successful shared universe of comic book heroes outside of the comics themselves.
What if the MCU, the new gold standard of shared universes, is about to revive not just the X-Men characters, but all of them? With one show from that universe coming back, there is potential for all the other characters to come back for guest appearances as well. Then yes, the Reed Richards we saw in Multiverse of Madness could even be the same Reed Richards from the 1994 Fantastic Four series.
So what if X-Men ’97 is an Illuminati prequel show?
On paper, I think this is would be awesome. I’d love to see ALL the animated shows come back in a cohesive shared animated universe. Or even if it’s just X-Men ’97, I’d love to see characters from the other shows return and crossover again in that show. I would love this, and the potential for greatness is there under the stewardship of Kevin Feige and the Marvel Studios parliament.
But after seeing how the Illuminati met their demise in Multiverse of Madness, I don’t know if that is the endgame I want for those characters. I am excited for all the rich crossover potential that an Illuminati origin story could mean for X-Men ’97. However, I am only excited if Marvel doesn’t connect them to the Illuminati from this movie specifically. I don’t want the 90s characters to be revived just to be unceremoniously slaughtered.
This theory is just a theory. It’s what I think might happen. And for once, I hope this theory isn’t true.
If you are interested in checking out my theory from last November connecting Charles Xavier, X-Men ’97, and the Multiverse of Madness Professor X, then follow the link below!