'X-Men '97' lead director Jake Castorena on the "responsibility" of adapting beloved animated series

Marvel Studios

The anticipated animated series X-Men '97 debuts Wednesday on Disney+.

The original X-Men: The Animated Series from the 1990s introduced a whole new generation to Wolverine, Magneto, Storm and the rest of Professor Xavier's friends and enemies, and sustained the property long before there was a Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Indeed, the unexpected success of the animated series spurred the creation of the first X-Men movie in 2000, helping open the door for the big screen superhero genre.

"If you are of a certain generation. You can go and hum the theme song in a public place, and you'll get heads turning around, right?" X-Men '97's lead director Jake Castorena laughs to ABC Audio.

The new show takes the fan-favorite characters on new adventures but hews closely to the original, from the theme music to character design, because as Castorena says, you don't mess with a classic.

He adds, "I have the love for the OG show. I mean, that's part of the whole reason why I started drawing. You know, it was either Batman [The] Animated Series or X-Men: The Animated Series."

"We are a revival, not a reboot," Jake explains. "The OG show straight into our show ... should all feel like one cohesive thing."

The veteran animator enthuses, "You know, getting asked to be on any sort of X-Men anything is like, 'Hell yeah,' right? But it's when it's this X-Men show and it's 'Oh, we want to do that X-Men show'... 5, 6-year-old me would be losing his head right now." 

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Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 6:00AM by Stephen Iervolino Permalink