X-Men ’97 Unexpectedly Related to MCU? Changes On Disney+ Take The Marvel Fan By Storm

X-Men ’97 may be set outside the MCU, but one recent update could give weight to theories concerning other projects in the MCU’s Multiverse Saga.

Cyclops and Magneto in X-Men '97

Marvel Studios’ recent X-Men ’97 update could hint at one major MCU Multiverse Saga theory actually being true. X-Men ’97 premiered in March 2024 as a revival of X-Men: The Animated Series, the popular series that previously released five seasons between 1992 and 1997. This marked the return of iconic X-Men heroes, including Cyclops, Rogue, Gambit, Storm, Jean Grey and Wolverine, embarking on new adventures roughly a year after Professor X left Earth in X-Men: The Animated Series’ finale. Since X-Men ’97 takes place outside the main MCU timeline, Marvel Studios can still deliver its own revamped live-action X-Men team.

After Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox was finalized in 2019, Marvel Studios began to integrate mutants into the live-action MCU, but also set to work developing X-Men ’97 for Disney+. The MCU’s X-Men reboot will introduce new actors as these legendary Marvel heroes, taking place firmly in the MCU’s official timeline, while X-Men ’97 itself is set outside the franchise’s main continuity, as confirmed by the series’ creator, Beau DeMayo (via Twitter). Nevertheless, a recent update concerning the animated series could suggest more close connections to the MCU proper, and may support a major, but as-yet-unconfirmed, Multiverse Saga theory.

X-Men ’97 Is Part Of The Multiverse Saga, Despite Being Set Outside The MCU

Magneto leading the X-Men in X-Men '97 episode 2

Following X-Men ’97’s premiere, the series was curiously moved into the Multiverse Saga section on Disney+, despite being set outside the MCU’s main continuity. This caused some confusion, as the series was initially confirmed to have no impact or connection to the live-action MCU, and this still appears to be the case, as X-Men ’97 is not included in the MCU’s complete timeline on Disney+. Nevertheless, the series now being part of the Multiverse Saga could mean more connections to the MCU will be established, as it seems the series takes place in an alternate universe adjacent to the MCU.

This could explain the mysterious appearance of the Watcher in X-Men ’97 episode 5, as the enigmatic character is voiced by Jeffrey Wright in the MCU’s What If…? series. This series explores stories from other universes across the MCU’s multiverse, with the Watcher usually presiding over tragedy, and X-Men ’97’s attack on Genosha certainly fits the bill. X-Men ’97’s mid-season trailer also included the appearance of Captain America’s iconic shield, hinting at the Marvel cameo being included in upcoming episodes, though this will most certainly be a variant of Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers, rather than the MCU’s Captain America himself.

X-Men ’97’s Multiverse Saga Inclusion Means Other MCU Projects Could Be In Alternate Universes

Rogue flying with her fist out in X-Men '97

The fact that X-Men ’97 has been included in the Multiverse Saga section on Disney+, despite clearly taking place in an alternate universe across the MCU’s multiverse, suggests that other projects released in Phases 4 and 5 could also be set in different realities. This has been a long-standing theory since the Multiverse Saga began, as there has been speculation that various MCU projects have been set in alternate worlds, with Marvel Studios keeping this hidden from the viewer, only to reveal the truth at a later date. This could have huge implications for how audiences watch the Multiverse Saga.

Since the conclusion of the MCU’s Infinity Saga, Marvel Studios has been criticized for its Multiverse Saga projects not connecting as well as those in the MCU’s first chapter. The idea that some of Phases 4 and 5’s projects may have been set in alternate worlds could explain this disparity, as it’s possible not all the MCU’s recent stories have taken place in the same timeline. 2021’s Loki blew open the Sacred Timeline and unleashed the multiverse, so it stands to reason that at least a few subsequent movies, shows, and Special Presentations would be set in slightly different worlds.

X-Men ’97 Update Supports Major Fantastic Four Theory

MCU's Fantastic Four cast revealed in Valentine's Day poster

Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige first teased the introduction of the MCU’s Fantastic Four team in 2019, but it wasn’t until February 2024 that the official cast of Phase 6’s The Fantastic Four was revealed. Pedro Pascal, Vanessa Kirby, Joseph Quinn, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach will be portraying the Fantastic Four, though there has been some dispute as to how they’ll be brought into the MCU’s current timeline, particularly since the project’s initial poster teased a 1960s setting for the Fantastic Four’s MCU debut. One major theory answers exactly how this happens, and is supported by X-Men ’97’s Multiverse Saga update.

Pedro Pascal will play Reed Richards’ Mister Fantastic, Vanessa Kirby will portray Sue Storm’s Invisible Woman, Joseph Quinn has been cast as Johnny Storm’s Human Torch, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach will perform motion capture for Ben Grimm’s the Thing in The Fantastic Four .

One popular theory suggests that the MCU’s Fantastic Four will begin their journey in an alternate universe before making their way to Earth-616 of the MCU proper. These theories were fueled by the release of a character poster featuring Joseph Quinn’s Human Torch, which seemed to display a retro-futuristic city that hasn’t been seen before. The fact that X-Men ’97 is now in the Multiverse Saga, though also exploring an alternate reality, suggests that the Multiverse Saga’s The Fantastic Four can see the same treatment, though this project will likely establish stronger connections to the wider world of the MCU.

Marvel’s New Multiverse Saga Timeline Could Solve Phases 4 & 5’s Mistakes

Nick Fury showing his scars in Secret Invasion

Undoubtedly, the Multiverse Saga has delivered some of the MCU’s most disappointing projects since the franchise began with 2008’s Iron Man. Projects such as Thor: Love and Thunder, Secret Invasion, Eternals, The Marvels, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania have failed to impress, but the mistakes of these Phase 4 and 5 stories could be rectified if this Multiverse Saga theory turns out to be true. It’s possible Marvel Studios could confirm any number of these projects to have taken place in alternate realities, allowing the MCU’s main continuity to remain untainted by poor box office draws and negative reviews.

This could answer why there have been dangling plot threads left unanswered, such as Eternals’ Celestial Tiamut rising from the ocean, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’s Kang the Conqueror mystery, and Secret Invasion’s war on extraterrestrials, including the Skrulls. While any of these would be interesting stories to follow in the MCU’s future, the idea of them taking place in other universes explains why they have seldom been mentioned in subsequent MCU projects. Having the Multiverse Saga be comprised of adventures set in alternate universes could be a stroke of genius from Marvel Studios, but may create even more confusion.

The Celestial Tiamut from Eternals did receive a mention in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law , but it’s possible this series and Eternals could be set in the same reality – maybe KEVIN really is the mastermind of the MCU.

X-Men ’97 As Part Of The MCU Raises Hopes For A Secret Wars Crossover

X-Men '97's full team gathered together

It’s recently been revealed that Kevin Feige dabbled with the idea of making X-Men ’97 canon to the MCU, and the series’ massive success could constitute this decision being made now. Perhaps including the series in the Multiverse Saga is a sign that this change could be made, and this could hint at a major crossover. 2027’s Avengers: Secret Wars is expected to feature a huge number of cameos from the MCU’s history and other, non-MCU Marvel franchises, and this could include X-Men ’97, with a crossover perhaps being more likely now the series is in the Multiverse Saga itself.

X-Men ’97’s ambition, character depictions, concise storylines, and intense drama have been celebrated, making it one of the most popular projects released by Marvel Studios in recent years. This means it would be fantastic to see X-Men ’97’s version of the X-Men team crossover into the live-action MCU, and Avengers: Secret Wars is the perfect place for this to happen. This could introduce the idea of the X-Men into the MCU’s main timeline before Marvel Studios actually debuts the MCU’s official team, and now that X-Men ’97 is officially part of the Multiverse Saga, this may be much more likely.

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