Marvel Just Made 1 X-Men Villain More Inevitable Than Thanos

Magneto looking angry in X-Men '97 episode 9 with Thanos in Avengers Endgame

Warning: This article contains spoilers for X-Men ’97 episode 10, “Tolerance is Extinction – Part 3.”

Marvel Animation’s X-Men ’97 season 1 may have directly set up a powerful X-Men villain for season 2, but the series may have also made another terrifying foe more inevitable than Thanos in the MCU. X-Men ’97 caught up with the original X-Men team from 1992’s X-Men: The Animated Series roughly a year after Professor X’s departure from Earth. The 10-part first season pitted the X-Men against some of Marvel Comics most dangerous antagonists, including Mister Sinister, the Friends of Humanity, and the human-Sentinel hybrid Bastion, but X-Men ’97’s dramatic finale also set up new enemies for the series’ future.

After battling Bastion, his Prime Sentinels, and Magneto in X-Men ’97’s three-part finale, the X-Men team found themselves separated and displaced in various different time periods, each posed to take on another dangerous villain, Apocalypse. En Sabah Nur presented himself to Rogue, Nightcrawler, Beast, Professor X, and Magneto in Ancient Egypt, while Cyclops and Jean Grey crossed paths with the Clan Askani in the distant future, and Apocalypse scoured the rubble of Genosha in the present day. However, Apocalypse isn’t the only villain being set up for X-Men ’97 season 2, as another significant threat may have also been teased.

X-Men ’97’s Finale Subtly Sets Up Onslaught

Magneto as a young man in X-Men '97 episode 10

After Magneto sent out an electromagnetic pulse in X-Men ’97 episode 8, “Tolerance is Extinction – Part 1,” many theorized that the series would explore Marvel Comics’ Fatal Attractions storyline from 1993. These suspicions were confirmed in X-Men ’97 episode 9, as the Master of Magnetism declared war on humanity, was opposed by the X-Men and Professor X, and ultimately tore the adamantium from Wolverine’s skeleton, bringing some of Fatal Attractions’ most memorable events into the animated series. These themes continued in X-Men ’97 episode 10, subtly setting up one of Marvel Comics’ most powerful villains for the series’ future.

X-Men ’97 episode 10, “Tolerance is Extinction – Part 3,” saw Professor X take control of Magneto’s mind, hoping to bring him back to the side of good. However, the combination of these two powerful minds in Marvel Comics’ Fatal Attractions storyline ultimately led to the emergence of Onslaught, a psionic entity formed from the dark aspects of Professor X and Magneto’s personalities. Professor X and Magneto’s mental battle in X-Men ’97’s three-part finale has perfectly set the stage for Onslaught to make his animated debut, though it may be some time before the villain actually rears his ugly head.

Why Onslaught Is The Perfect Villain For Magneto’s Future

Magneto in his helmet with an aurora in X-Men '97 episode 9

Magneto has seen a huge transformation in X-Men ’97, as he was initially given control of the X-Men team in Professor X’s last will and testament, but ultimately reverted to his humanity-hating philosophy following Bastion’s initial attack on Genosha and activation of the Prime Sentinels. This lays the foundations of Onslaught’s debut perfectly, as the entity, forged from Magneto’s hatred of humans and Professor X’s own dark thoughts on the matter, originally had the same goal as Magneto: to rid the world of humanity and make mutants the superior species. This makes Onslaught the perfect dark mirror to Magneto himself.

X-Men ’97’s finale may have seen Magneto become something of a villain again, but episode 10 did see him aid the X-Men team in stopping Asteroid M from hitting Earth, proving there is still good in him. This would become a very twisted reality if Onslaught emerges in the series’ future, as Magneto will be able to see just how dangerous his own philosophy can be, potentially allowing Magneto to see the error of his ways once-and-for-all. This would come into conflict with the rising sentiment of “Magneto was Right”, creating a poignant next evolution for the Master of Magnetism.

Onslaught was eventually defeated in Marvel Comics by the combined might of the X-Men, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four, teasing a potential crossover of these teams in X-Men ’97’s future.

Onslaught Doesn’t Need To Appear In Season 2

Onslaught beginning in Marvel Comics

While the events of Marvel Comics’ Fatal Attractions storyline unfolded in 1993, Onslaught didn’t emerge until 1996, giving the villain plenty of time to fester before subtly beginning to influence Professor X from inside. The fact that it took so long for Onslaught to debut in Marvel Comics suggests that X-Men ’97 may take a similarly long time, meaning Onslaught may not be featured in X-Men ’97 season 2. Apocalypse has been set up as a significant threat in season 2, but with X-Men ’97 season 3 already in development, it’s possible Onslaught could be the series’ next major antagonist.

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