X-Men '97 Director Reveals Gambit Death Wasn't Always Planned

Gambit wasn't always the one to kick the bucket in X-Men '97.

X-Men '97 director Jake Castorena told ComicBook.com that Gambit wasn't always supposed to die in Episode 5 of the animated series. Our Phase Zero podcast managed to grab a second with the supervising director to talk about the Disney+ juggernaut. It seems as though the fans could have been even more shocked. We had to ask about which character were going to meet their untimely end during Episode 5. Surprisingly, Gambit wasn't always in that slot. However, Castorena teased that he couldn't reveal every single choice that went on behind the scenes.

"Yeah, Magneto. Yes, but Gambit wasn't the… You know, it was one of those… Was it always Magneto? Yes. Was it always Gambit? Half. Magneto was always kind of like the staple. The other character, it wasn't initially Gambit. I dare not say who it was because it changed a few times. Because as you change script and story, and you push things based on what the story needed was. Who got the bucket, you know?"

"That's one of the things that really, genuinely, intrigued me about coming to this project. It was like, 'Oh, we're gonna take some swings, but it's all gonna be narratively-driven.' It's all gonna be pushing the narrative in a way that's gonna benefit, story and validating why we're making these changes. Not doing this stuff for the sake of shock value, but to genuinely challenge and push narrative forward."

A Shocking Moment For The X-Men

(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

"That's been in the script, that's been in the mission statement in the Bible from day one was that, at a certain point, we were going to have our characters in the show start to face real consequences on a level that the OG show and the characters haven't dealt with before," Castorena told us. "Full credit to, Beau [DeMayo] and his genuine approach to wanting to do this. That was something that was talked about a lot in the, in the rooms or in our discussions with visually adapting the script."

"Any generation that grew up with the original show… That genuinely grew up watching the show. Now, there's a level of crap that we've gone through, as a people, right? And, I'm talking from 911 to COVID," the director added." So in that the generation that grew up with X-Men also grew up with understanding, 'oh, man, the world's real.' Learning about that, seeing that through everyone's individual lenses. But ultimately, we all can relate to that. I was really stoked."

Who Will Lead The X-Men Now?

(Photo: Disney+)

Even with all this turmoil, the X-Men aren't out of the woods yet. The question of who will lead them still swirls in the air.  ComicBook.com asked Jake Castorena about the new status quo moving forward. He is anticipating fans going on that journey with the X-Men. Who will step up and lead the mutants to the future? 

"Magneto is kind of not matter right now?," Castorena smiled during our interview. "it is just that question, right? It is: How does our team, these characters we know and love, how do they go into this honestly overnight? It's a new world and what are the consequences of that? What are the ramifications worldwide of mutant and human coexistence now?"

"The the thing that Charles died for, that was sacrificed for, that Magneto ended up carrying the torch, only to be crushed down in his prime," he added. "Right? But, that he rose to the occasion of. It's exactly that. How do you deal with consequences that are just so big? And also again, speaking of consequences: What are those ramifications? What are those echo effects? How does it affect human relations? What political aspects does that roll into different schools of thought, pro or against. And, neutral people, not even getting into the team aspects of it. All the different derivatives of mutants and superpowered beings, right?"

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