Five Ideas For Revivals Disney Plus Can Make Following ‘X-Men ‘97’ (In A Perfect World)

to me-my X-men
Cyclops (Ray Chase) summons the team in Marvel Animation's X-Men '97 | Official Trailer | Disney+ via Marvel Animation YouTube channel

X-Men ‘97 is in the bag and one of the most striking things about the nostalgia-bait series is how paradoxical it is in actuality. For instance, while it has some good reviews the show did very poorly in the ratings. 

Flash Thompson (N/A), Peter Parker (N/A), and Mary-Jane Watson (N/A) watch on as the X-Men attempt to stop the fall of Asteroid M in X-Men '97 Season 1 Episode 10 'Tolerance is Extinction - Part 3' (2024), Disney Plus
Flash Thompson (N/A), Peter Parker (N/A), and Mary-Jane Watson (N/A) watch on as the X-Men attempt to stop the fall of Asteroid M in X-Men ’97 Season 1 Episode 10 ‘Tolerance is Extinction – Part 3’ (2024), Disney Plus

Don’t think for a second, though, that will stop Disney from going full speed ahead into the possibilities both teased by this legacy sequel and that could arise as a result of it.

Almost as much as the existence of Disney Plus and the advent of streaming have, the revival of the X-Men animated universe has changed things. There will continue to be a future in nostalgic programming even if it has no more than a small but fervent audience. 

Naturally, this has me wondering – and maybe smoking a little hopium – about what could come next. What reboots and adaptations could be in development or on the list for consideration? There are quite a few possibilities and they could go in any direction.

Morph (J.P. Karliak) receives a surprise visitor at the X-Mansion in X-Men '97 Season 1 Episode 2 'Mutant Liberation Begins' (2024), Disney Plus
Morph (J.P. Karliak) receives a surprise visitor at the X-Mansion in X-Men ’97 Season 1 Episode 2 ‘Mutant Liberation Begins’ (2024), Disney Plus

Aside from the obvious, such as the rumored Spider-Man idea you could call ‘Spider-Man ‘98’, I know what I’d like to see from my own perspective as a junkie for 90s cartoons. Hence, I am presenting a top-five list (loosely ranked but in no particular order, really) of revivals I wish for.

Before I do, I want to be clear that I’m avoiding shows that weren’t churned out during the relevant period or could be seen as more of the same. Therefore, Wolverine and The X-Men and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes won’t be mentioned – as good as they are.

I’d also like to be clear this list is a little wish-fulfillment in a bubble on my part. I understand perfectly that any of these concepts risk being made with ‘modern audiences’ in mind and completely ruined by messaging and agendas. 

Cyclops (Ray Chase) welcomes Magneto (Matthew Waterson) to the team in X-Men '97 Season 1 Episode 2 'Mutant Liberation Begins' (2024), Disney Plus
Cyclops (Ray Chase) welcomes Magneto (Matthew Waterson) to the team in X-Men ’97 Season 1 Episode 2 ‘Mutant Liberation Begins’ (2024), Disney Plus

If I had my way, I guarantee that would not be a problem, but as we don’t live in that world, for now, I simply dare to dream.

And now, on with it!

Spider-Man: Unlimited

Unlimited Spidey sense tingles
Spidey’s (Rino Romano) spider sense tingles in Spider-Man: Unlimited (1999), Disney Plus

Here, we have a textbook case of a show with a strange premise that never had a chance to find its voice or see how far it could’ve gone. 

Long story short, Spidey travels to Counter-Earth to investigate a distress call from the stranded astronaut John Jameson warning of its ruler, The High Evolutionary, and his insane machinations.

This pits the web-slinger, Jameson, and a band of human rebels against the gene-splicing overlord and his Knights of Wundagore. Complicating matters further are the stowaway Venom and Carnage laying the groundwork for extra planetary chaos.

In the shadow of Batman Beyond over on The WB and the bow of its predecessor, Spider-Man: Unlimited rode coattails and took the wall-crawler in a direction “Counter” to what we know. It might have been a desperate and jarring left turn, but the show still found an adequate audience.

That wasn’t enough for the network, who canceled it and turned the season finale into a series end with an unresolved cliffhanger. As we’ve learned, that’s no obstacle. Enough time has passed to foment a revisit and Unlimited is perfect fodder.

Moreover, if “Spider-Man ‘98” ever materializes, a second season of SMU would be an appropriate continuation of that when it’s all said and done.

Night Man 

night eyes
Matt McColm suited up in the intro for Night Man (1998), Glen Larson Entertainment Network

Okay, hear me out on this one. First, reboots don’t have to be limited to mainline Marvel and, second, there is no rule saying they absolutely must be animated. It’s not a dealbreaker, though, if they all have to be. Why? 

Night Man might be the most well-known character from the Ultraverse due mostly to the syndicated live-action series produced by Glen Larson (Knight Rider). However, his first turn came in an episode of the Ultraforce cartoon – another one of the many superhero toons that only got a one-season shot.

The story of jazz musician Johnny Domino and the lightning strike on a cable car that gave him the power to sense evil and predict its next move can be retold in either format. In fact, animation might be preferable.

It would broaden the scope of the series without breaking the bank. They could introduce more characters from the Malibu Comics vault and the God Wheel. Members of Ultraforce would be topping that list.

On the other hand, anyone familiar with that defunct imprint knows there are a number of characters modern Hollywood creatives (so-called) would love to shove down our throats – from the uber-feminist Topaz and transwoman Mantra to the gay speedster sidekick Turbocharge.

That’s a risk but ideally those names will be passed over in favor of someone more awesome like Rune or (God Wheel willing) Lord Pumpkin. It’s high time those two made a comeback on our screens.


Elisa (Salli Richardson) is shocked to find Goliath (Keith David) and Lexington (Thom Adcox-Hernandex) frozen to stone in Gargoyles Season 2 Episode 20 "The Cage" (2023), Disney
Elisa (Salli Richardson) is shocked to find Goliath (Keith David) and Lexington (Thom Adcox-Hernandez) frozen to stone in Gargoyles Season 2 Episode 20 “The Cage” (2023), Disney

For the no-brainer entry, I give you the stone-by-day defenders of the night. “Frozen in stone by a magic spell for a thousand years,” as the dulcet tones of Keith David pointed out, Goliath (voiced by David) and his clan awaken in 1994 New York.

Once betrayed by humans in the Middle Ages, they find out not much has changed about human nature as they encounter new challenges and some old enemies. Luckily, they make a few allies along the way who prove not all people are bad.

Gargoyles was Disney’s Hail Mary play in the 90s, a time when they mostly made lighthearted series out of their big-time summer movies. That was until they looked at what their competitors did with Batman, X-Men, and Ninja Turtles and said, “Anything you can do, we can do better.”

I’d argue they achieved that, at least in the first two seasons. For quite a while, Gargoyles was able to match any similar show in action, lore, set pieces, character design, acting, writing, and not to mention animation style.

The quality fell off with The Goliath Chronicles when they lightened it up and cut a fair share of corners production-wise, but everybody remembers the show for what it was when it began. The sequel comics (not Dynamite’s), which Disney could draw from, reflect that in their increased blood, violence, and other mature content.

A new series could easily skew PG or TV-14 in this day and age on less inhibited streaming platforms, if so inclined. Don’t worry, I’d stay away from the gay Lexington business and Elisa Maza shagging Goliath. (Seriously, why’s that a thing?)

Captain America 

Captain America and Rogue
Captain America meets Rogue in X-Men ’97 season 1 episode 7, “Bright Eyes,” (2024) Disney Plus

Where Spider-Man: Unlimited didn’t get enough time, a proposed Captain America animated series set in the 40s never got off the ground. Marvel’s bankruptcy didn’t help, but that’s all in the past, and now there should be no obstruction.

All impediments, especially the binding DEI production checklist, are artificial as long as the showrunner has a clear vision. Fidelity to the source material wouldn’t hurt either.

It all begins with Steve Rogers whose backstory is academic at this point. A pillar of the MCU, he is canonically “The First Avenger” which is invariably more than a moniker or a marketing ploy contrived by filmmakers self-conscious about their citizenship.

It’s a title earned by the combined tour-de-force of Chris Evans’ acclaimed portrayal and Cap’s status as one of the most important comic characters of all time. He is effectively and unwaveringly irreplaceable as Disney is beginning to find out.

You can’t just pass the shield to Falcon or John Walker and call him “Captain America.” Considering that, if Brave New World turns out to be the disaster everybody is expecting it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Disney to pivot by fast-tracking this idea – as desperate as that would come across.

Silver Surfer

The Silver Surfer contemplates his existence on Mike McKone's variant cover to Silver Surfer Rebirth Vol. 1 #2 "Shattered Reflection" (2022), Marvel Comics
The Silver Surfer contemplates his existence on Mike McKone’s variant cover to Silver Surfer Rebirth Vol. 1 #2 “Shattered Reflection” (2022), Marvel Comics

In terms of missed opportunities and things never given a fair chance due to circumstances beyond their control. Fox’s ill-fated Silver Surfer series might be the uncrowned king.

Marvel’s infamous Chapter 11 bankruptcy of the 90s had a lot of casualties. The mid-season replacement that retold the saga of Norin Radd and his sacrifices to save two worlds, including his own, was one.

However, its mix of computer and traditional animation that was ahead of its time didn’t go unappreciated. The show found new life in re-airings and is on Disney Plus to this day. It never went away, fortunately.

Silver Surfer has a loyal following and is the kind of gamble Disney could have pulled off back then for longer than half a season with little effort if they had a hand in it. Those were the days we sadly don’t live in anymore – like I said earlier.

Instead, it’s 2024 and the risk they’re taking is on a Shalla Bal Surfer no one asked for. I don’t understand that when Radd isn’t even the mainstream pop culture staple he could be. A Plus series with the short-lived cartoon as a starting point might go a long way to fix that error.

It wouldn’t be the worst thing they can give us. The Mouse already burned that bridge.

NEXT: James Gunn Doesn’t Want To Give ‘Justice League Unlimited’ A Legacy Sequel Like ‘X-Men ‘97’ – And That’s A Mistake

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