X-Men ’97 Executive Producer Beau DeMayo recently revealed the series’ story is informed by his experience as a gay black man.
During Marvel’s X-Men: 60 Uncanny Years Live Virtual Event, DeMayo discussed the upcoming animated series and explained how the show came to fruition.
As part of this discussion, DeMayo said, “Came up with a pitch, pitched it to Kevin Feige and, you know, him and Brad [Winderbaum] could not have been more supportive and also just encouraging to make sure we got it right.”
“I think one of my favorite parts was like they were truly interested in like what my experience as a black gay man was and how it was going to inform the story we were telling. And that to them was like that is how we’re going to make this authentic,” he revealed.
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DeMayo then explained, “Because really what you’re talking about with X-Men — I don’t care what your religion, your nationality, your sex, your gender — you walk into a room full of people and you’ve gone, ‘Oh my gosh there is no one in here like me,’ and I think that is ultimately what X-Men is trying to get at.”
He went on, “And so then I went into the desert for about two weeks, came up with the entire first season, and then came back, and, you know, we got Eric [Lewald], Julia [Lewald], and Larry [Houston] to come aboard and be like, ‘Am I screwing this up?’ Such amazing, creative partners, parents I call them. Just moral and creative support.”
“And then we’ve just assembled a great team of really amazing directors, and artists, and storyboard artists, and writers to just get this right and really drill down to what I think the X-Men’s always going to be about which is just, you know, we talk a lot about the dream is social acceptance and it’s social justice,” he stated.
DeMayo elaborated ,”It is, but I think that can sometimes make certain people feel alienated and for me it’s always going to come down to, I think, the X-Men and what we’re going to be trying to do with this series is talking about the power of empathy, and how it can kind of heal these wounds that turn people against each other.
“That things like racism and bigotry don’t just exist,” he continued. “There’s a reason behind it that empathy can kind of help us connect and build those bridges where we can actually say, ‘Hey, we are all different.’ But we have these little things that can still connect us.”
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DeMayo then went on relay, “It’s been an incredible journey and I will always just go back to Larry, Eric, and Julia just being these kind of pioneers who told a story that we take it for granted looking at how diverse media has become, the voices that are out there right now. But like I will say with no exaggeration these are the people who made us like, ‘Hey we should keep going and we should try and we should be ourselves and we should advocate for ourselves.'”
“Their cartoon is that kind of lesson of how to contain your rage when you’re angry and you feel misunderstood, but how to fight, how to find love. All of that. It starts with them,” he declared.
He went on to state, “The show is a love letter to what they did, but it’s also a love letter to you guys to you three.”
After a user detailed how the initial X-Men: The Animated Series was meaningful, DeMayo interjected, “That is like the key point of X-Men right there. Like my parents are white. I was adopted as an orphan and I think that right there that power of resemblance and I think so many people grow up not having it and mistaking the physical for resemblance and connection.”
“And so I get you and that’s what we’re gonna be talking to,” he added.
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As DeMayo’s segment began to wrap up he did reveal when the show will pick up in regards to the original X-Men: The Animated Series.
“We’re gonna be picking up about several months after Professor X left Earth after being shot by Henry Gyrich and had to return to the Shi’ar homeworld to be with Lilandra. And what ends up happening is that assassination attempt has led to this wave of increased sympathy towards mutants understanding. Despite the Friends of Humanity still having their mullets and getting all kind of up in it, things are really starting to look up for mutants.”
He continued, “And this is going to kind of come to a head and leads to our X-Men to kind of say, ‘What does the future hold for us? We weren’t expecting this.’ And you’re going to have pretty much Cyclops and Storm really wanting to carry on the dream. They’ve recruited Morph and Bishop to actually become full-time members of the team while other X-Men like Jean and and the will they, won’t they couple Gambit and Rogue are starting to begin to question maybe there is a life we’ve been fighting to be for this life of acceptance. ‘Can we just go out there and enjoy it for once, maybe.'”
DeMayo then revealed, “And then of course somebody shows up who shouldn’t show up and it’s Magneto, who’s also kind of feeling like, ‘Professor X, he did a solid for mutantkind. I’m going to try and walk in his footsteps. I’m going to try and be a force of good for mutantkind.'”
He added, “But then, of course, as the X-Men are kinda looking at the future and really kind of — we’re going to be talking a lot about this — how do you face the future? How do the X-Men do what they’ve been telling humanity to do for decades, which is embrace the future?”
DeMayo then revealed who the main antagonist for the show will be, “A very, very, very, very, very, very, very, favorite character of mind and many other people, Mister Sinister, will rear his ugly head from the past with pretty much, pretty foolproof plan to destroy the X-Men once and for all.”
What do you make of DeMayo’s comments about the upcoming X-Men ’97 animated series on Disney+?
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