I’m Glad X-Men ’97’s Biggest Ending Villain Theory Was Totally Wrong

Split image of Magneto screaming and Professor X from X-Men '97

X-Men ’97 season 1’s biggest and most believable villain theory turned out to not be the case – and it’s arguably ideal that’s the case. X-Men ’97 episode 10 cemented the show’s reputation as one of the best superhero adaptations in recent history, meshing modern visuals and themes while also continuing the stories of X-Men: The Animated Series with impeccable nuance and reverence. This has also seen suggestions that it may well be the best adaptation of the X-Men in broader history, which is certainly hard to argue with given the depth and breadth of the X-Men ’97 character roster.

Naturally, the way in which X-Men ’97 takes preexisting storylines from the original show and comics has meant that it’s been a prime series for fans to theorize about. While many of these have proved to be correct in one regard or another, some others have turned out to be wrong despite seemingly heavy foreshadowing – including a major theory about a villain who appeared very much set to be in the X-Men ’97 season 1 ending.

Onslaught Didn’t Appear In X-Men ’97 Season 1’s Ending Despite The Theories

Onslaught Didn’t Appear In Season 1, Despite Seemingly Being Teased

Magneto finally awakens and utilizes his powers to help the team in X-Men '97 season 1 episode 10

Professor X and Magneto’s conflict during the latter episodes of X-Men ’97 appeared to be heading for as much disaster as could be feasibly possible, leading to speculation that Xavier would use his powers to invade into Erik’s mind in the manner that created Onslaught in Marvel comics. The concept was viable at first, and then became far more credible when the X-Men leader did indeed delve into his Magneto’s brain in X-Men ’97 episode 9, which set up for exactly this kind of devastating consequence.

While believable theories were rife before the release of X-Men ’97 season 1, episode 10 concluded the first installment of the series reboot, its release revealed that Onslaught would not be a part of this chapter of the story. Though there were teases that Xavier’s actions could break the minds of both men and thus leave them primed to become the unimaginably powerful X-Men villain, ultimately instead the pair are flung into 3000BC at the end of the season alongside Nightcrawler, Rogue and Beast, wherein they meet a young version of Apocalypse instead.

Onslaught Is A Great Marvel Villain For X-Men ’97, Just Not For Season 1

Onslaught Is Perfect For A Later Season Of X-Men ’97

Onslaught beginning in Marvel Comics

Onslaught is a perfect villain for X-Men ’97 to adapt, as it shows the strengths and weaknesses of Professor X and Magneto remarkably well – both in terms of their powers, but also in terms of highlighting that their conflict leaves them inseparably tied to one another, and so desperate to prove their ideology to one another that it often sets up for further cataclysms.

However, it’s exactly this premise that means introducing Onslaught this early in the series would’ve been a risky prospect at best. Onslaught is so powerful that it’d be hard to keep upping the ante for future seasons, and such a useful metaphor to explore Charles and Erik’s relationship that having it as an early moment poses the possibility of sabotaging its potential.

Onslaught could have been set up to linger in future seasons of the show until becoming a major antagonist down the line, but this would have taken two of the biggest characters in the season off of the playing field. While X-Men ’97 proved it could work without needing to focus on either figure – and the teases of a further growing cast make this doubly possible – it still makes most sense to not prematurely get rid of two such integral figures for a villain whose most optimal appearance may be later in the series to begin with.

When & How Onslaught Could Appear In X-Men ’97 Still

Onslaught’s Appearance In X-Men ’97 Season 2 Or 3 Is Still Very Possible

Xavier revealing his powers in X-Men '97 season 1 episode 10

The idea that Professor X’s actions will have consequences could still eventually lead to Onslaught, but X-Men ’97 doesn’t need to rush into the story. Episode 10 provided the first subtle tease this may be the case down the line, showing a radio station tuned to 1996.06, which is also notably the year and month of Onslaught’s first Marvel comics appearance. With X-Men ’97 season 3 confirmed to be in development, it’s clear there will be plenty of time for a villain of this magnitude to come into play so long as the show keeps up its phenomenal story work.

Showing Erik and Xavier still impacted by their melding of minds throughout season 2 could make Onslaught a perfect season 3 villain, allowing the entire next season to setup the antagonist. This would also mean the setup for Apocalypse to potentially be the next main X-Men ’97 villain could also hold true, showcasing one of X-Men: The Animated Series‘ strongest opponents before leading into something new.

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