X-Men ’97 Episode 10 Ending & Credits Scene Explained

X-Men ’97’s finale may have brought a major story’s ending, but Marvel’s mutant family will face something bigger and darker in the future.

X-Men '97 Episode 10 Ending & Credits Scene Explained

Marvel has wrapped up the first season of X-Men ’97 in some style, setting up an exciting future for the revived mutant show, and setting the bar extremely high for the MCU’s live-action X-Men movies. The action-packed episode brought an end to Bastion’s Project Zero Tolerance storyline, with the villain’s defeat, but set up an even bigger threat with the return of a huge X-Men villain.

While the X-Men once more saved the Earth and perhaps restored humanity’s faith in them (at least partly), this was not a happy ending, and there are a lot of questions for X-Men ’97‘s already-confirmed season 2. Most excitingly for some, the finale also teased the resurrection of a fan favorite mutant, with an incredibly dark twist, as X-Men ’97 ingeniously teased a shocking future for Gambit. And in typically smart fashion, the finale brought the season’s major messages about unity and trauma full circle for a perfect pay-off.

X-Men ’97 Episode 10 Key Story Takeaways

Bastion Strangles Storm in X-Men 97

– Professor X hijacks Magneto’s powers to reverse his EMP attack on Earth, but shatters his psyche

– Jean Grey is resurrected by the Phoenix Force and defeats Mister Sinister
– Bastion evolves into a higher form, by removing Cable’s arm and absorbing his techno-virus
– Terrified, the UN approve the use of the Magneto Protocols, firing missiles at Asteroid M in an attempt to destroy it

– Xavier leads Magneto back to his body, he saves Earth from Asteroid M, but the X-Men are scattered, some sent to the past and some to the future

– Bishop returns to unite with Forge to find the X-Men or rebuild a new mutant team
– Most of the X-Men meet Apocalypse in Ancient Egypt, while Cyclops and Jean are sent to the distant future, where they meet Clan Ascani and a young Cable
– X-Men ’97‘s post-credits scene reveals Apocalypse in present day Genosha, where he picks up one of Gambit’s cards from the rubble

What X-Men ’97’s Credits Scene’s Apocalypse Return Sets Up

Gambit Will Return, With The Worst Twist Possible

Apocalypse Gambit Tease in X-Men 97

Just as the credits roll on X-Men ’97‘s finale, a credits stinger is quickly thrown in, taking us back to the wreckage of Genosha in the present day. An off-screen voice mourns the destruction saying “so much pain, my children, So much death” as Apocalypse is revealed, retrieving one of Gambit’s destroyed cards from the dirt. The choice of words is incredibly loaded, of course, because Gambit became one of Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen in the comics after the events of Decimation – and Death specifically.

X-Men ’97 has introduced how Gambit will return, with a shocking twist. In the comics, Gambit actually volunteers to become Death, in the belief that he can help restore mutantkind after Scarlet Witch wiped them out. Here, there’s a darker tease, as Apocalypse will apparently revive Gambit to take up a role at his side.

Apocalypse was last seen in X-Men: The Animated Series when the X-Men defeated him, sending him to the Astral plane. There, he demanded Fabian Cortez find him a new body, and ultimately took Cortez’s body when he failed. In the time since that episode, Apocalypse has clearly found a way to restore his physical appearance to the hulking form X-Men fans will be most familiar with. Given his powers, that isn’t too much of a stretch, but we can probably expect X-Men ’97 season 2 to show exactly how it happened.

What Happened To The X-Men At The End Of X-Men ’97?

The X-Men Are Lost In Time

Cyclops in the year 3960 in X-Men 97

While attempting to save Earth from the catastrophic impact of Asteroid M when the UN’s misguided Magneto Protocols backfired, the X-Men prepare to sacrifice themselves. Beast’s plan to stop the impact fails, but Charles Xavier manages to revive Magneto in time to stop the asteroid’s descent. In a shocking twist, however, the asteroid is apparently vaporized, vanishing along with the X-Men, before it’s quickly revealed that they were teleported through time.

The majority of the mutants – including the revived Magneto – are sent to 3000 BC Egypt, where they encounter En Sabah Nur, the alternate name for Apocalypse, in a more human-looking form to his X-Men: The Animated Series appearances. Meanwhile, Cyclops and Jean Grey are sent to the year 3960 AD, where they meet Mother Askani and the Clan Askani. They also meet their young son Nathan, who they sent to the future for his protection, along with Bishop earlier in the season.

But who or what sent the X-Men through time? In the comics, both Beast and the Phoenix Force have been behind storylines where the X-Men were pulled through time, but neither feels right here. X-Men ’97 episode positions Apocalypse as the key to the temporal event, and the iconic villain did use time travel in TAS, of course, so this may be explained by his link to the Axis of Time in some way.

The Age Of Apocalypse Is Coming To X-Men ’97 Season 2

The Four Horsemen Are Just The Start

Young Apocalypse in X-Men 97

The X-Men ’97 credits scene’s set-up of Gambit’s return is just one part of what will no doubt be a huge storyline in season 2: the new Age of Apocalypse. In Marvel Comics run Blood of Apocalypse, the villain seeks to revive mutantkind, establishing a new Horsemen of the Apocalypse team, for which Gambit volunteers, naively. He is unsuccessful, ultimately, but X-Men ’97 sets up an alternative take, also potentially drawing on the Age of Apocalypse storyline.

Sending the X-Men back to Ancient Egypt to confront the young En Sabh Nur before he evolves into his more dangerous final form could be the key to changing the timeline and rescuing the future timeline, where the Clan Askani rebels meet Cyclops and Jean Grey from Apocalypse’s dominion. Having the villain active at three different points in the timeline is an incredibly intriguing prospect that promises to be true X-Men event storytelling.

In the comics, Mother Askani – voiced in X-Men ’97 by Star Trek legend Gates McFadden – leads the rebellion against Apocalypse, while also protecting the young Nathan Summers (Cable). In the finale, Askani (really Rachel Summers) is told by Nathan that Cyclops and Jean are not a threat, setting up a continuation of their complex family story against the backdrop of Apocalypse’s war with humanity.

Crucially, Bishop also returns after he was split from Cable in the timeline, uniting with Forge – the only X-Men member to remain on Earth – reintroducing his time-traveling powers as a handy plot device for eventually reuniting the X-Men. It may be, however, that the X-Men currently trapped in 3000 BC decide that their best hope for the future is to stop En Subh Nur becoming Apocalypse centuries before his radical final form emerges.

X-Men ’97’s Finale Firmly Sets Up Onslaught’s Arrival

Magneto And Charles Xavier May Have Teased Another Huge Villain

Charles Xavier uses his powers in X-Men 97

Apocalypse aside, there is still also a very good chance that Onslaught will still arrive in X-Men ’97 season 2 as the fallout from Xavier’s psychic attack on Magneto unfolds properly. Professor X was warned that both of the long-time rivals could be lost if he failed in his attempt to save Magneto, hinting at the long-term impact that could be spun into Onslaught’s arc in season 2 (or beyond).

In the comics, Xavier’s attack on Magneto led to the most volatile parts of Erik’s psyche entering his subconscious mind and merging with Charles’ own suppressed resentment at his treatment by humanity. After lying dormant for some time, Onslaught manages to manifest his own body, leading to the arrival of one of Marvel’s most compelling villains. It would be a logical path for X-Men ’97‘s future to follow suit, even if it doesn’t come for a while.

What The Ending Of X-Men ’97 Really Means

Strength In Unity Overcomes Trauma

Xavier and Magneto in X-Men 97

Subtext matters in X-Men ’97. Already, the first season of the revived show has explored more adult themes than the ’90s original, with Beau DeMayo keen to reflect how collective experiences of mass trauma have changed us all. That subtext was very much the key to unlocking the ending of X-Men ’97 episode 10, as Charles Xavier was forced to effectively recondition Magneto’s mind after shattering his psyche.

Xavier and Magneto were trapped in a sort of psychic limbo within Erik’s psyche, as what was left of his mind attempted to reconcile fragments of his traumatic past. Xavier managed to convince his old friend that he could be a better man, effectively helping him unlock his trauma and deep-seated hatred of humanity borne out of the Holocaust. He does so by breaking down Magneto’s belief that he is unique and alone in his trauma, and suggesting that the X-Men’s shared experiences are their strength: “The X-Men and I may not resemble one another, but we are still family.”

The idea of unity despite difference is one that X-Men ’97 has foreshadowed repeatedly in the first 10 episodes. For most of them, the X-Men team was fragmented by their own storylines and the team was effectively torn apart by the events of Genosha. That led to the radicalization of Rogue and Sunspot, who briefly allied themselves to Magneto, in the belief that his mutant world order was the only way to deal with their own trauma.

It is ultimately only through the team overcoming those fractures, and their pain (particularly over Gambit and Maddie’s losses) that they are able to save Earth. Every episode led to that moment, and though it is Magneto who lends the hail mary blow to stop Asteroid M’s extinction event, the team working together, by embracing but also overcoming their trauma – including offering Bastion salvation rather than death, that they succeed. In short, X-Men ’97 preaches the lesson of unity as strength.

All 10 episodes of X-Men ’97 are now available on Disney+

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