“We all got very sad… working on that damn thing”: The Most Devastating X-Men ’97 Episode Left the Entire Team Working on it Weeping

Episode 5 of the recently-released X-Men ’97 Season 1 was a tragic watch for every fan.

x-men ’97

There are a plethora of reasons why the recently released X-Men ‘97 proved to be the kind of stellar success that it quickly became. The animation style, the continuation of the narrative, the quality of it itself, and the way in which it remained true to its roots were bound to impress viewers worldwide.

However, another reason it proved such a stellar watch was down to the kind of tragedies that graced our screen. Fans who have already watched the 10-episode-strong Season 1 will know exactly what we are talking about, especially with respect to Episode 5, Remember It, which we shall surely remember for a long time to come.

This is because it gave us a range of deaths of some of the best characters the franchise has on offer, with the likes of Gambit and Magneto biting the dust in Genosha after the mutant nation was about to be integrated into the UN. As it turns out, fans were not alone, as supervising director Jake Castorena himself revealed in a recent interview.

Jake Castorena reveals entire team was in tears while working on X-Men ‘97’s Remember It

X-Men '97.

Gambit fell while fighting the giant-sized Sentinels sent to destroy Genosha by the human-machine morph that was Bastion. While arguably the cockiest mutant of all, Gambit fell in heroic fashion after destroying several Sentinels, and was only one of several major characters who fell to their death in this episode.

This included Madelyne Pryor, Sean Cassidy, Sebastian Shaw, Squid Boy, and Magneto, amongst a plethora of mutants. While Magneto was later shown to have escaped his fate, Gambit remained dead and was paid a touching tribute by his team in a later scene.

Regardless, while fans were undoubtedly moved, so was the team working on the episode. Jake Castorena, in an interview with Discussing Film, revealed the following:

If we’re not convinced the scene is working, the audience won’t be convinced either. We all got very sad over Episode 5. Our episodic director Emi Yonemura and myself, personally, got really sad working on that damn thing. We reboarded and retold the Gambit send-off, not the actual death, but the goodbye of Rogue holding Remy dead in her arms.

What’s more, the team actually worked on three separate send-off scenes for Gambit, and ended up finalizing the one when they asked themselves a simple question:

We did the approach of that send-off three separate times in three different ways, because it’s about story over everything. What supports the narrative? What pushes it forward? And, more importantly, checking if we are giving things justice. Are we putting respect on the name of the characters and the IP, the allegories that they represent and stand for? A lot comes into play, but we try to make it very intimate and ask, “What do we want to see?”

Needless to say, the creators of X-Men ‘97 were as immersed in the Season as the fans, which led to one of the best Marvel creations till date.

X-Men ‘97 proves mutants are here to stay in the MCU!

Screengrab from X-Men '97 Episode 9 -Tolerance is Extinction Part II

There are several ways in which Season 1 of X-Men ‘97 paid off its viewers in the best way possible. The series proved that there was no real reason for Kevin Feige and company to hold off the introduction of mutants in the overall MCU. While the series in itself does not take place in the sacred timeline, there is plenty of scope for at least some of these characters to make it to live-action, in due time.

That in itself is majorly down to the way the series ended, and how the X-Men are now scattered across time in their universe. Regardless, even if the same personalities do not make it to the MCU, the show’s success means that Marvel might have finally found a foolproof was to move past the recent stagnancy that has hit the franchise.

The X-Men and mutants in general have a huge viewer base that is a result of traditional comic narratives. Further, the success of characters such as Wolverine and Professor X in live-action means that Marvel is not embarking on a new conquest. Instead, it is merely giving fans exactly what they want, and increasing the influence of mutants in the overall MCU is simply a no-brainer, as things stand.

Season 1 of X-Men ‘97 can be watched on Disney+.

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