X-Men "97 Season 1 Directors On Marvel Cameos, Storm"s Rebirth & The 3-Part Finale

  • X-Men '97 season 1 finale saw Bastion defeated, but split heroes in time and space, setting up big expectations for season 2.
  • Directors Emi/Emmett Yonemura and Chase Conley discuss emotional responses from fans to the finale, from joy to suffering.
  • Challenges directing a three-part finale were met with teamwork, setting up a strong finish and complex emotions for the characters.
Marvel directors Emi/Emmett Yonemura and Chase Conley break down handling the major X-Men '97 season 1 three-part finale. The world of X-Men: The Animated Series went through a lot of game-changing moments in its new sequel series, X-Men '97, serving as Marvel Studios' first official production centered on the iconic mutants. Following the fall of Genosha, the second half of X-Men '97 season 1 saw the rise of the heroes' true and newest foe.
While Bastion operated as the main antagonist, the X-Men '97 season 1 finale concluded with his defeat. However, as one obstacle is resolved, another one is thrown right at the mutants, with the team getting split into two and spread throughout time and space. While one half is stuck in 3960 A.D., One half is currently stuck in Ancient Egypt during 3000 B.C, while the other half landed in 3960 A.D., setting up big expectations for X-Men '97 season 2.
Related 10 Best Quotes From X-Men '97 Season 1 X-Men ’97 season 1 has proven itself to be as iconic as the classic X-Men: TAS, proffering a swathe of celebrated scenes and perfect quotations.
Returning to Screen Rant for an exclusive interview on the three-part finale, X-Men '97 directors Emi/Emmett Yonemura and Chase Conley chatted about the back half of the season. As Yonemura directed episode 9, while Conley handled episodes 8 and 10, the duo spoke about the fallout from X-Men '97 season 1, the massive amount of Marvel cameos packed into the rest of the season, and where they are at with season 2.
Emi/Emmett Yonemura & Chase Conley On The Massive X-Men '97 Season 1 Finale Close Screen Rant: I remember when we last spoke and you warned me that this back-half of the season was going to be rough and I thought, 'Oh, it's just their media training talk. Of course it's gonna be a happy ending.' I was wrong, there's been too much emotions going on in the last five weeks. Have you all gone to social media to look and see how people have been responding to the final five, especially the finale and what are your takeaways from it?
Emi/Emmett Yonemura: It's overwhelming because we're fans, and we've been working on this for three years, there's one part of us who is just happy that now the rest of the world can hurt with us and also enjoy this full expanse with us. Because not only was Gambit a huge thing, which we talked about last time, but just kind of seeing Rogue's arc, and what happens with her, what happens with Magneto. Honestly, the fact that it just resonates with everybody, because I can't help but look, it just means a lot and it just feels like, 'Oh, cool, we're fans, and we're succeeding, because other fans are also happy.' Well, happy....
Happy and suffering!
Emi/Emmett Yonemura: Yeah, exactly! [laughs]
Chase Conley: Yeah, no, I haven't been able to stay completely clear, because generally, I try to stay away from that stuff, especially while we're in the midst of production so it doesn't sway me one way or the other, I just like to trust my instincts as to what I think is going to work, story-wise, action-wise, in terms of how we approach the show, but it's unavoidable in certain capacities.
It is nice to see certain things that have legs online, they go viral in terms of little snippets of animation or getting tagged and things on Twitter or Instagram, seeing the engagement on the post that I get tagged in where I'm just like, 'Oh, these people are really going in about this!' 90% of it is love and I think that's an amazing percentage. So I do think at some point, though, once everything, the dust settles, I'll go, and I'll check everything out and see what the lay of the land is, so to speak.
The Rebirth Of Strom In X-Men '97 Season 1 Image via Disney+ On the subject of reactions, for you, Chase, because I loved the following episode after episode five with Storm finding her powers back. There's been a lot of comparisons to when she gets her powers back; I think Beau Demayo even said somewhere that there is definitely inspiration from Man of Steel. How long did that sequence and getting to that moment take in terms of getting it produced and making sure it looks absolutely perfect?
Chase Conley: Well, I know for a fact, whenever Beau was writing it, he probably referenced Man of Steel. For me, I try my best to not directly reference any one thing in particular, because I like to come up with my own stuff. Somebody can tell me that it's reminiscent of a scene, I may watch it to try to understand what they are responding to in that. Now, I regurgitate that in a different kind of way.
For me, that was the basis for it, but typical animation process, I would say we boarded it. That scene, we were coming up on a deadline and I remember I had to board that in a day and a half. I remember our first board pitch I just wrote, 'Storm gets her powers back - Cool s--t happens' and they edited that into our pitch and everybody trusted me to do it, I was like, 'It's gonna be cool when it gets done.' Then, of course, we get that kind of moment where you have 16 weeks before you get animation back. I believe we chose that as one of our wedge tests to see how the studio would handle that which was Tiger [Animation's] first episode.
16 weeks later, once we got the final animation back, it also went through another pass between Jeremy Polgar, who was our animation supervisor, as well as Naseer Pasha, they did another pass on it internally to strengthen the poses, and reanimating a lot of the horse. Especially the shot where Storm flies down to the ground, I think actually re-keyed most of the shots, based off of what they had gotten. I had a few passes of animation, just in order to get some of the grace, because I wanted Storm to not fly like a traditional superhero, like Superman, and be pushed by a gust of wind so that she would move a little bit different in the air. We were provided with some references as well from Beau as far as the way that she would ride the wind based off of a music video where you could clearly see it's not a person that's projected, but almost like a leaf but more controlled.
X-Men '97 Season 1's Marvelous Cameos Custom Image by Kai Young We have to talk about how many cameos we had in these final episodes. I thought Jake Castorena was just kidding, thinking we might get one or two cameos. It's almost like seeing an early MCU, like in the finale. Were there any other cameos that you from a production team tried to work in there that you just could afford to include, either for time, or I guess if there were any licensing issues, or were you able to get everyone in that you wanted to get in there?
Emi/Emmett Yonemura: Oh, no, there's so many, there are so many who we want to see! Because Marvel is such a big universe and even the X-Men are such a big universe. It's hard but sometimes we run them up the ladder, we put in the names of people we want to see and then sometimes Marvel goes, 'You can't touch that one.' It's fun, because then we have to go, 'Okay, well then who's second on my list? Who is the third on my list? But there's a lot and we can't always say who, just in case they have planned - sometimes they don't. I think sometimes they just want to torture us and make us wait! It's a lot of fun, because we're fans too, so we get to be like, 'Well, who would you want to see?' Psylocke was obviously an easy one.
I know Beau said on Twitter that Deadpool was apparently off-limits for the show, was that one of the ones that you tried to get in for the finale?
Chase Conley: No, I don't believe so, there were not at any point, not in the finale.
The Challenges Of Directing A Three-Part Finale Custom image by Simone Ashmoore It's very rare when we have an animated show that gets to do a three-part finale. For you two handling those three episodes, how was that, what were some challenges that came up during that process?
Emi/Emmett Yonemura: Yeah, so Chase had [episodes] 8 and 10., and I got to be like the cream filling, which I love, I love being in the middle. But I love that because I get to see where and what he's building up to, because in our production schedule, that episode is still being made before mine, we still kind of are making them in order. I just love being able to kind of set up the pitch so that he can just knock it out of the park, which he's always going to do anyway. What was great is we already have very similar style and senses and we have excellent writers on our script, I know Anthony Sellitti really just helped set up a lot of what was going to be happening in those that then it was just easy to be able to make sure that I was doing my part, to make sure that Chase could really finish strong and [go,] 'Oh my god, he killed it.' It's amazing.
Chase Conley: It was great and I leaned on my editor Asher Lewis for a lot, because his ability to help stitch these threads together, especially as a person that's looking at it from the macro as I'm in the micro, these individual scenes. But like Emi mentioned, Anthony killed it as far as like setting up episode 8, and it was just a tone shift, and it feels like we just hit the gas from that point on. It's rewarding as well because a lot of this season is a lot of setup, and I enjoy all of that stuff. But I also enjoy the the big payoff, being able to wrap that stuff up and the poetry of it had a message as well.
And to see Bastion's turn and realization of, 'I might have been wrong about this' and admitting that with his word choice. 'Tons of humans that will never want to have children like us,' and 'Oh, now you are a mutant, huh?' and kind of accepting that, realizing that, 'I'm almost better to just destroy myself,' because he still couldn't get over some of his initial programming, which is literal programming from Nimrod. It's hard to get all that in one moment, [where] Bastion realized, 'Maybe I shouldn't have killed all these people, and maybe I should just kill myself. I don't have to deal with the consequences of all this stuff either.'
There's a lot of complex emotions that we tried to land in a small window, but hopefully we stuck the landing. But we're an amazing team, I couldn't have done it without Emmett and I feel like there's just moments where we go back and forth to tee each other up and throwing a lot for the other one to slam.
Before I wrap, are you guys back for season two, have you directed for season two already or are you not allowed to say?
Emi/Emmett Yonemura: Yeah, we're in full swing on season two, which has been absolutely fun. and now we get to wait even longer for you guys to get to see what we're been building. I mean, it was already hard keeping season one in, and now, it's like, 'We got to keep season two in?! What are you guys doing to us?!' So now we're very excited and we cannot wait for everybody to see what's coming.
Chase Conley: Yeah, yeah, for sure!
About X-Men '97 Your browser does not support the video tag. 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.
Check out our X-Men '97 other interviews here:
  • Jake Castorena
  • Emi/Emmett Yonemura & Chase Conley
  • The Newton Brothers
  • Brad Winderbaum
  • Alison Sealy-Smith (Storm)
  • Brad Winderbaum (X-Men '97 Season 1 Finale)

Catch every episode of X-Men '97 season 1 on Disney+.

X-Men '97 AnimationAdventureActionSuperhero X-Men '97 is the direct continuation of the popular 1990s animated series X-Men: The Animated Series. Taking up where the third season left off, Marvel's revival brings back famous mutants such as Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Gambit, Cyclops, Beast, Magneto, and Nightcrawler, who fight villains like Mr. Sinister, the Sentinels, and the Hellfire Club.
Cast Jennifer Hale , Chris Potter , Alison Sealy-Smith , Lenore Zann , Cal Dodd , Catherine Disher , Adrian Hough , Ray Chase , Chris Britton , George Buza Release Date March 20, 2024 Seasons 1 Streaming Service(s) Disney+ Franchise(s) X-Men Main Genre Animation Creator(s) Beau DeMayo Where To Watch Disney Plus Expand


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