In October of 1992, the X-Men animated series premiered as part of the Fox Kids programming block, and an entire new generation became fans of the mutant superhero team created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
And yesterday, nearly 30 years later, X-Men showrunner Eric Lewald and his wife Julia Lewald (who also served as a writer on the series) took the stage at WonderCon 2022 to celebrate three decades’ worth of the series with a look at the past, present, and future of this animated phenomenon.
With fans filling the room at the Anaheim Convention Center dressed like popular characters such as the villainous Juggernaut (pictured above), Eric and Julia Lewald started off the panel by discussing the history of Marvel animation prior to the arrival of X-Men in the early 90s. They then paid tribute to a number of the FOX executives and creative talents who helped bring X-Men to television screens, but also credited Batman: The Animated Series for paving the way. Next the Lewalds discussed how the perfect team of X-Men was assembled for the series, and how they and the other writers and producers adapted many of the familiar storylines seen in X-Men comic books through the decades. One of the most interesting topics was how they managed to sneak in other Marvel superheroes like Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and the Watcher, even though they did not have legal access to use these characters. Basically they had to call them generic or misleading names like “web-shooting person” or “mysterious professor” in the scripts so the lawyers wouldn’t catch on.
The WonderCon audience was shown X-Men character concept art while the Lewalds discussed the show’s overarching theme of “finding a home for outsiders.” Several years ago they were thrilled to find out that X-Men was the #1 most-requested show to become available at the launch of Disney+, and they are elated to have the entire series available on the streaming service. They’re also extremely thankful to the fans for keeping the animated series alive over so many years, and to the book publishers who have put out the X-Men art books. Lastly, the Lewalds talked about the highly anticipated X-Men ‘97 revival series, which is set to arrive on Disney+ in 2023. They’re contributing to the new show as consulting producers, but right now they aren’t allowed to say anything more about it except that “this is a continuation of our show. It’s not a reboot.” That’s very exciting news indeed.
The original 1992 X-Men animated series is currently available to stream in its entirety on Disney+, while X-Men ‘97 is scheduled to debut on the streaming service next year.