Saturday, July 20, 2024

X-Men: The animated series, why was it canceled?

X-Men: The Animated Series ended in 1997 after airing 76 episodes, but the show should run much longer than originally planned

X-Men: the animated series was a huge hit for Fox Kids Network, and although Marvel's finally came to an end in 1997 after five seasons, it was never exactly cancelled. Although it faced numerous production problems along the way, X-Men came to a natural conclusion after a five-season, 76-episode run that was actually longer than originally planned.

The influence of X-Men: the animated series should not be underestimated, especially with the resurgence of X-Men ’97 which brought back much of the original cast. The show paved the way for the X-Men movie timeline, which, along with Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies, became the foundation for the current golden age of superhero movies. When The Avengers came out in 2012, its target audience of young adults were people who had grown up watching a superhero team work together on the small screen and were eager to see more of the same on the big screen.

X-Men '97
X Men 97

Explanation of the original idea and the “cancellation” of the animated series

Fox executive Margaret Loesch, who believed the X-Men had a lot of potential as a franchise for Fox Kids, ordered a 13-episode first season after becoming head of the network in 1991. Produced by Saban Entertainment, the show premiered in 1992 to top ratings and an overwhelmingly positive response from critics.

However, From the beginning there was a plan for the series to run for 65 episodes. In a THR retrospective of the series, artist and producer Will Meugniot recalled that X-Men animator Larry Houston even had this plan in mind when designing the show's iconic opening credits: “Because Larry was such a solid X-Men fan and knew the show was going to have 65 episodes and eventually they would all appear, he put them all in the title.” This plan would fall a bit by the wayside instead of allowing more episodes of the show to be made, which would generate some confusion regarding the series and its ending.

X-Men: The Animated Series
X Men The Animated Series

Explanation of the length of the animated series

And X-Men: The Animated Series Had it followed the original plan, the series finale would have been Cable's four-part story “Beyond Good and Evil,” which aired during Season 4. However, instead of ending there, the series more or less wrapped up over the course of an additional season.

According to X-Men showrunner Eric Lewald, “Some of the quality checks were removed in season 5. Budgets went down. They decreased”. The final episodes were animated by a cheaper studio in the Philippines, which is why season 5 looks a little different than previous seasons. However, the show remained popular until the end, and Meugniot says it was never actually “canceled.” “What I think people don't understand is that X-Men wasn't cancelled. It was actually scheduled to have 65 episodes and had been extended beyond the original order. When it was finished, it was like 'okay, contract fulfilled.'”

X-Men '97
X Men 97