X-Men "97"s Sunspot Was Meant to Get a Huge Solo Series, But Marvel Decided It Wouldn"t Sell

  • Sunspot and Cannonball were set to star in their own X-Men book, but it was canceled, revealing a harsh reality of mainstream comics.
  • Jonathan Hickman teased a series with Roberto and Sam going on space adventures, but it wasn't a top priority for Marvel.
  • Despite the canceled book, Sunspot still played a significant role in the Krakoan era, showing his and Cannonball's stories will continue.
Sunspot is one of the most popular New Mutants and a Marvel editor has recently revealed that he, along with his best friend Cannonball, would have been the stars of their own X-Men book, which unfortunately never came to be. Sunspot has enjoyed a higher profile thanks to his role in X-Men '97, and he still got his moment in the sun during the X-Men's Krakoan era. However, the reveal of this canceled book shows one of the harsh realities of mainstream comics, even those potentially penned by hugely popular writers.
Speaking in AIPT’s "X-Men Monday" interview, departing X-Men group editor Jordan D. White touched on unresolved plots from the soon-to-be-completed Krakoan era. Among White's revelations was a Sunspot and Cannonball series that never came to be.
AIPT: Sunspot… was teased sitting atop the Shi’ar throne… that never quite paid off.
JDW: …that was a book Jonathan (Hickman) was going to do that he was really excited about. Because it was the Sam and Bobby book… It just wouldn’t be the one that would sell the most, so it wasn’t a top priority.
The idea was Roberto… becoming the lover of the acting empress, Deathbird… where he and Sam would have space adventures...
Jonathan Hickman, who helmed the initial years of the Krakoan era as writer of X-Men (2019) and Marvel's "Head of X," would have been the writer of the book.

As AIPT mentions, Giuseppi Camuncoli drew a variant for House of X #6, teasing the series that never came to fruition. Whether a specific artist had been chosen for the series itself remains unknown.
Related X-Men's Newest On-Screen Hero Holds The Key To Reconnecting The MCU One of the newest heroes introduced by Marvel stems from a team that is known for connecting different entities within the shared universe.
Sunspot and Cannonball's Solo Outing was Set Up in Other X-Men Books
Fans have long suspected that Hickman had planned a book featuring the characters since he’d been setting up a story for Cannonball and Sunspot in his released titles. Specifically, New Mutants (2019) #1-2, #5 and #7, all written by Hickman, feature Sunspot assembling an ad-hoc New Mutants team. Together, they go to space in order to reunite with Cannonball, whom Roberto misses dearly after his friend’s marriage to Smasher of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. It’s in this arc that Sunspot meets and has an instant connection with the former Shi’ar leader Deathbird, his theoretical love interest for the unpublished follow-up book.
New Mutants (2019) #1-2, #5 and #7 are written by Jonathan Hickman and Ed Brisson (co-writing #1), drawn by Rod Reis and lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham
Hickman has been one of the most prominent writers of Sunspot and Cannonball in the modern era, and clearly loves both the characters. He was the one who made both of these once and future New Mutants official members of the Avengers in Avengers (2013) #1. It’s in this same series that Cannonball would later meet and marry Smasher. Beto also got his moment in the sun during Hickman’s Avengers tenure, buying out the supervillainous scientist body AIM and turning it into an arm of the Avengers, a status quo that continued for him even past Hickman’s tenure.
Avengers (2013) #1 is written by Jonathan Hickman, drawn by Jerome Opeña, colored by Dean White and lettered by Cory Petit.
Sunspot Still Got His Moment in the Krakoan Sun
Fortunately, Sunspot didn’t just disappear in the Krakoan era after Hickman’s initial plan was canceled, even as Cannonball mostly retreated to the background. Writer Al Ewing brought Sunspot into X-Men Red (vol 2), in which he became a key player in the politics of both the Shi’ar and, more importantly, in the running of Arakko, the planet formerly known as Mars. Ewing is perhaps the other most prominent champion of Beto in modern times, having continued Hickman’s AIM story in New Avengers vol 4 and the subsequent U.S.Avengers, both of which also featured Sunspot.
This interview sheds some light on one of the realities of mainstream comics. For every great book that sees the light of day, there’s another that readers never even knew was in the planning that doesn’t. It’s never a fun feeling to find out that a creator didn’t get the chance to tell a story they wanted, but it’s also worth remembering that the blame shouldn’t be shouldered on any one individual. Besides, even though Sunspot and Cannonball’s solo X-Men outing never saw the light of day, their stories will continue on for years to come.
Source: AIPT
X-Men The X-Men franchise, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, centers on mutants with extraordinary abilities. Led by the powerful telepath Professor Charles Xavier, they battle discrimination and villainous mutants threatening humanity. The series explores themes of diversity and acceptance through a blend of action, drama, and complex characters, spanning comics, animated series, and blockbuster films.
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