X-Men '97 Director Breaks Down Heartbreaking Midseason Twist

Emi Yonemura addresses Episode 5's shocking deaths.

We're over halfway through the first season of X-Men '97, Marvel Animation's beloved continuation of X-Men: The Animated Series. The series has definitely delivered plenty of shocking moments thus far, culminating in the massacre of Genosha in the fifth episode, "Remember It." The storyline led to some character deaths, and undoubtedly led to a lot of tears from viewers, and now we have a bit more insight as to how it came to be. In a recent interview with ComicBook.com's Phase Zero podcast, X-Men '97 director Emi Yonemura spoke about wanting to earn the moment among the show's audience, instead of defaulting to misery.

"It was quite an honor to get assigned to that episode," Yonemura explained in our interview. "I knew that it was going to be quite an undertaking, and we never wanted it to feel like it was death for death's sake. I never wanted to feel like we were forcing the audience to cry, because there's nothing I hate more than trying to force that upon people. So I think the real challenge was earning it, and also by earning it, showing how much we love these characters, and we don't want to see them go. And from top down, it was always a pleasure to get, 'Okay. How is this new person on our crew going to react,' getting people's responses, and then going, 'Okay. We're doing it. We're doing something special here.' But we wanted to make sure that everything was earned."

What's Next After X-Men '97 Episode 5?

Shortly after "Remember It" premiered on Disney+X-Men '97 showrunner Beau DeMayo explained the root of the tragic storyline.

"My plan was the first half of the season is the OG audiences pre-9/11 days, rife with nostalgia and comfort," DeMayo's post reads in part. "Then 9/11 — like Tulsa and other mass tragedies — turned the world upside down and reminded us the whole world unsafe…"

What Is X-Men '97 About?

Marvel Animation's X-Men '97 revisits the iconic era of the 1990s as The X-Men, a band of mutants who use their uncanny gifts to protect a world that hates and fears them, are challenged like never before, forced to face a dangerous and unexpected new future.

The voice cast of X-Men '97 includes Ray Chase as Cyclops, Jennifer Hale as Jean Grey, Alison Sealy-Smith as Storm, Cal Dodd as Wolverine, JP Karliak as Morph, Lenore Zann as Rogue, George Buza as Beast, AJ LoCascio as Gambit, Holly Chou as Jubilee, Isaac Robinson-Smith as Bishop, Matthew Waterson as Magneto, and Adrian Hough as Nightcrawler. Beau DeMayo served as head writer; episodes are directed by Jake Castorena, Chase Conley and Emi Yonemura, and the series is executive produced by Brad Winderbaum, Kevin Feige, Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso and DeMayo.

New episodes of X-Men '97 debut on Wednesdays exclusively on Disney+. If you haven't signed up for Disney+ yet, you can try it out here.

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