X-Men '97 Director Didn't Feel Pressure Adapting Iconic "Lifedeath" Storyline

We talked to Chase Conley about Storm's big arc in X-Men '97.

X-Men '97 released its sixth episode on Disney+ this week, and it continued Storm's story after she lost her powers earlier in the season. If you're a fan of the comics, you know that "Lifedeath" is an iconic storyline for Storm. The original story came from writer Chris Claremont and artist Barry Windsor-Smith and kicked off in 1984's Uncanny X-Men #185 when Storm was hit with the neutralizer gun. While things unfolded a bit differently onscreen, many will recognize similar beats from the comics storyline. This week, ComicBook.com had the chance to chat with directors Emi Yonemura and Chase Conley, and Conley explained why they didn't feel pressure when it came to adapting the storyline. 

"No. I don't necessarily feel pressure," Conley revealed. "You try to do your best to elevate the script, and to really highlight the subtext of each scene, and to get into Storm's POV, and what she's feeling in that time. And the only real restriction is runtime, right? Because sometimes you really want to try to build out these moments, but you try to do the best that you can, as far as, and I think constraints also is a plus, too, because I think that it forces you to get creative."

"So no," he continued. "I don't really feel any pressure, and I always treat her with the dignity that I would treat any other character for that matter. And it is just about making it feel real, getting into her head space. And as a person that's lost everything that makes them who they are, there's a lot of things, that you might go to some dark places. So it's just, 'How do we showcase that without a feeling contrived, or feeling disingenuine?'"

Which Voice Actors Return in X-Men '97?

Original X-Men: The Animated Series cast members Cal Dodd (Wolverine), Lenore Zann (Rogue), George Buza (Beast), Alison Sealy-Smith (Storm), Adrian Hough (Nightcrawler), and Christopher Britton (Mister Sinister) reprise their roles from the '90s series while returning cast members Catherine Disher (original Jean Grey), Chris Potter (original Gambit), Alyson Court (original Jubilee), and Lawrence Bayne (original Cable) voicing new characters. 

The new cast includes Ray Chase (Cyclops), Jennifer Hale (Jean Grey), JP Karliak (Morph), AJ LoCascio (Gambit), Holly Chou (Jubilee), Isaac Robinson-Smith (Bishop), and Matthew Waterson (Magneto).

X-Men '97 director/producer Jake Castorena recently spoke with RadioTimes and explained why some of the voice cast has changed. 

"If we're doing this show, we got to do it with the legacy cast – that was the decision from day one," Castorena explained. "[But] time hits us all – it's been 30 years and so, unfortunately, some of the legacy voice cast is no longer with us, and some of the legacy voice cast, voices and things just change."

"Finding people to take up the mantle for the legacy cast, to fill in the roles, was an absolute process, but I absolutely love and appreciate all of our new cast taking on their new roles – and to hear the blessings from the legacy cast has been also awesome, too," he added. 

"For those who wanted to come back and for whatever reasons weren't able to do the voice, we brought them back to play other characters, to make sure we still had everybody in the sandbox... because how do you invite one person to come play, but not somebody else? Especially when they're game and they want to. It's like, 'We'll find something for you,'" Castorena continued. 

"Honestly, it's a way to get everybody back. It's the best way to get everybody back, as best as we could."

X-Men '97 releases new episodes on Wednesdays.