Marvel Theory Unveils Startling Truth Behind Jean Grey’s Replacement 29 Years Ago

An exciting X-Men ’97 theory points to the likely moment in the original X-Men series when Mister Sinister might have replaced Jean Grey.


Warning! This post contains SPOILERS for X-Men ’97

An exciting X-Men ’97 theory may point to the moment when Madelyne Pryor replaced Jean Grey. Thanks to the dark efforts of Mister Sinister, it was revealed in the new X-Men ’97 series that Jean had at some point been replaced by a perfect clone copy, one that also held all of her memories. This resulted in this clone (now known as Madelyne Pryor) and Scott Summers’ Cyclops having a child together, as well as brand-new struggles for Scott and Jean once the real Jean Grey returned and the truth was revealed.

While X-Men ’97 has begun to make Madelyne Pryor a recurring character, it’s still unknown when Mister Sinister made the switch in Madelyne and Jean’s shared past. However, a compelling theory from Twitter/X user @amdiazart argues that the original X-Men animated series offers some clues as to when it might have happened. To that end, here’s the most likely moment when Jean Grey was swapped for Madelyne Pryor ahead of X-Men ’97.

We Still Don’t Know When Mister Sinister Swapped Jean Grey With Madelyne Pryor

A Major Clone Mystery

Jean Grey saying goodbye to Madelyne Pryor in X-Men '97

As seen in X-Men ’97, episode 3, it’s revealed that the Jean Grey who just had Scott Summers’ child (Nathan Summers aka Cable) was in fact a clone created by Mister Sinister. Having all the original Jean’s memories, this results in a major identity crisis once the real Jean returns and Madlelyne is briefly corrupted by Sinister, becoming the dark Gobin Queen as she’s known in the comics. However, Madelyne has since reconciled with the X-Men and was seen most recently in X-Men ’97, episode 5 on the mutant island nation of Genosha, having joined its leading council.

That being said, neither Madelyne nor Jean seemed to know when Mister Sinister switched them. Likewise, it certainly didn’t help that they both had each other’s memories, making it hard to determine who actually experienced what. However, it stands to reason that it must have been at some point during the original X-Men animated series. While it’s unlikely that any kind of specific answer will be revealed, the best guess is that Sinister made the clone swap at the end of X-Men season 4.

The Original X-Men Series May Hold The Answer

When Sinister Was Working For Apocalypse

Mister Sinister Kidnaps Jean Grey in X-Men Season 4

X-Men season 4 ends with the massive 4-episode season finale story entitled “Beyond Good and Evil”. In it, Apocalypse enlists several villains to his cause, seeking to kidnap and claim the power of various psychics to give him total control over all time and space. This includes Mister Sinister who kidnaps Jean just after her wedding day as she and Scott are about to leave for their honeymoon. Notably, there is some time when it’s just the two of them before Apocalypse arrives to gloat.

Essentially, the idea is that Mister Sinister likely had both the means, motive, and opportunity to swap Jean with Madelyne during “Beyond Good and Evil.” Although Apocalyse promised Sinister the power to conduct his experiments across time at his will to create the perfect human race, Sinister has always believed that Jean and Scott’s shared DNA would play a crucial role in his work. To that end, perhaps Sinister gave Madelyne to Apocalypse as a means to ensure that he could still have Jean for himself, especially considering the possible risk that Apocalypse co-opting the power of multiple Marvel psychics could have resulted in their deaths.

Jean Grey’s Hair May Be A Clue For X-Men ’97

Her Hair Is Down After X-Men Season 4

X-Men Animated Series Graduation Day

It’s also worth noting that Jean Grey starts wearing her down following this particular season finale arc. While that’s more than likely due to the change in animation style X-Men season 5 received, it could very well serve to be a solid retroactive clue now that X-Men ’97 has introduced this new clone conspiracy (as pointed out by @amdiazart). At any rate, the fourth season finale of the original animated X-Men series does seem like the most likely place where Mister Sinister could have easily switched out Jean Grey with Madelyne Pryor.

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