(Image Source: Marvel Animation)


A recent trailer for X-Men ‘97 stunned some fans with the sudden appearance of the shield of Captain America. This was surprising, given how the original X-Men animated series largely stood on its own. In this, it mimicked the comics that inspired it, which rarely crossed-over with the larger Marvel Universe. However, there were several occasions when X-Men did reference or crossover with other Marvel superheroes, establishing a shared reality before the MCU.

The most notable X-Men crossover in the Marvel Animated Universe came during Season 2 of the Spider-Man Animated Series. The season-long Neogenic Nightmare storyline found Peter Parker slowly transforming into a monstrous man-spider. This led him to seek out Professor Charles Xavier, the world’s foremost expert on mutation, hoping for a cure. It also led to a classic Marvel misunderstanding, as the X-Mansion defenses and the team turned on the intruding Spider-Man.

While Professor X and the X-Men couldn’t help Peter with his problem, they both profited from the meeting. Spider-Man helped the X-Men to thwart the bigoted Dr. Herbert Landon and his scheme to kill every Mutant on Earth. Spidey also left the meeting feeling somewhat better about his problems, reminded that friends can help shoulder any burden.

Season 5 of Spider-Man: The Animated Series presented an abbreviated version of the 1984 Secret Wars event. The three-part storyline put Peter Parker in charge of assembling a team of heroes to prove the power of Good in a battle against Evil. With a limited number of slots, Spidey chose the most powerful of the X-Men, Storm. The rest of the team included Captain America, Iron Man, and the Fantastic Four.

Originally, there were plans to bring in all the X-Men and devote an entire episode to their fighting Mister Sinister or Magneto. These plans were changed, however, due to the expense of assembling the entire cast for such a single episode. This was an issue due to X-Men being recorded in Toronto, while Spider-Man was recorded in Los Angeles. The reason Storm was brought in was that her original voice actress, Iona Morris, was living in Los Angeles at the time.

Written by Wolverine co-creator Len Wein, Old Soldiers was the biggest crossover episode of X-Men: The Animated Series. Most of the episode was devoted to a flashback, as Logan recalled fighting the Red Skull alongside Captain America during World War II. The episode also featured Nick Fury (then Sergeant Fury) and the Howling Commandos.

Most comic readers know that Rogue did not naturally possess the powers of flight and super-strength. The Season 2 X-Men episode “A Rogue’s Tale” reveals how Rogue gained those abilities after extended contact with Carol Danvers. The story was a nod to the characters’ complicated relationship in the comics, where Ms. Marvel confronted Rogue when she was still a villain.

Two Marvel heroes made cameo appearances through robotic duplicates. A robot Punisher was pit against Jean Grey and Wolverine during their time in the Mojoverse in the Season 2 episode “Mojovision.” Juggernaut similarly faced a Danger Room robot modeled on the Incredible Hulk in the Season 3 episode “The Juggernaut Returns.”

The King of Wakanda made a brief cameo in X-Men Season 4. In “Sanctuary, Part One,” T’Challa can be seen observing Magneto transporting African Mutants to his new base on Asteroid M. Sadly, this was the closest producer Larry Houston ever came to realizing his dream of a Black Panther animated series.

The Master of the Mystic Arts had three notable, non-verbal cameos in X-Men The Animated Series. The first came during the Phoenix Saga, in “The Starjammers,” where Doctor Strange reacted to Jean Grey’s bonding with the Phoenix. The second came later in Season 3, during Part 3 of the Dark Phoenix event. Once again, Doctor Strange was shown looking disturbed by the actions of the Dark Phoenix. 

Finally, Stephen Strange has a cameo in the Season 4 episode “Nightcrawler.” The Sorcerer Supreme can be seen with his wife, Clea, relaxing at the same ski lodge as Rogue, Gambit, and Wolverine. (There’s also a redhead with a spider-web pattern on her coffee mug, who might be Mary Jane Watson.)

A surprising number of Marvel heroes made cameos during X-Men Season 3. Apart from Doctor Strange, Spider-Man and War Machine both made appearances during “The Phoenix Saga, Part V: Child Of Light,” helping to mitigate the damage of the X-Men’s battle with Shi’ar Emperor D’Ken. Later, during the Dark Phoenix storyline, The Watcher, Eternity, and Thor were pictured among those cosmic beings aware of the Dark Phoenix’s actions.

Several of the X-Men made cameo appearances in the syndicated 1994 Fantastic Four cartoon. The Season 2 episode “Nightmare in Green,” had a sequence in which Johnny Storm and Hulk sidekick Rick Jones move around Manhattan on a flying motorcycle. The two buzz a Manhattan observation deck, where Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Gambit and Wolverine are seen in their civies. (The same sequence also features cameos by the Scarlet Spider and Juggernaut.)

The X-Men also had a cameo appearance in the 1994 Fantastic Four animated series finale, “Doomsday.” This episode found Doctor Doom stealing the powers of the Silver Surfer and using them to hold the world for ransom. This led to Doom facing both the Avengers and the X-Men and beating both easily. While the Avengers’ cameo highlighted Captain America, She-Hulk, Hercules and Vision, the X-Men cameo was limited to their Blackbird jet attempting to bring Doom down. He responded by turning the Blackbird (and the heroes inside it) to stone.

All the Marvel Animated Universe series can be streamed on Disney Plus.


”}]] Many Marvel heroes made cameos in the 1992 X-Men Animated Series, and the Mighty Mutants of Marvel also appeared in other cartoons.  Read More