The X-Men Legacy Lives On: Comic Con Revolution 2024 Panel Recap

Author: Travis Hayward

The excitement was palpable at Comic Con Revolution 2024 as fans gathered in droves to the Inland Empire to celebrate the resurgence of Marvel Comics’ X-Men franchise. The panel, dedicated to the iconic X-Men: The Animated Series from the 90s and its eagerly anticipated continuation, X-Men ’97, now streaming on Disney+, was a nostalgic and exhilarating journey for both long-time devotees and new enthusiasts.

The panel featured a trio of special guests pivotal in bringing the original series to life: Eric Lewald, Julia Lewald, and Larry Houston. These creators shared their experiences and insights into making the ‘90s animated series, which played a significant role in catapulting the X-Men into mainstream pop culture. They discussed the challenges and triumphs of producing a show that entertained and addressed complex social issues and character dynamics.

Eric, the showrunner of the original series, reflected on how surreal it felt to have the X-Men back after all these years. “It’s kind of like having a family, then watching them go out into the world and not hearing from them for a couple years. Then suddenly you find out you have grandchildren.”

Julia, a writer for the original series, shared anecdotes about crafting compelling storylines that resonated with audiences. She explained that the characters were relatable to anyone who’s gone through puberty and that we all have some experience of feeling like outsiders at some point in our lives.

Houston, the series’ director, and animator, explained how during the original run of the series, the advertisers would often push back, asking why they couldn’t make the show sillier and more fun so it’d be easier to sell toys, citing Scooby-Doo as an example. Houston was an avid comics fan growing up, and it was very important to him and the Lewalds to stand their ground and tell the story they wanted to know by making it as faithful to the source material as possible.

As the conversation shifted to the new series, X-Men ’97, the panelists expressed their excitement about continuing the story for a new generation. The revival aims to capture the spirit of the original while introducing contemporary themes and fresh story arcs.

The Lewalds and Houston emphasized the importance of staying true to the essence of the characters and the world they inhabit, ensuring that both new and returning fans find something to love. They explained that they were very grateful to Disney for not only wanting to revisit their original work but to call them and have them consult on the new series.

Adding to the panel’s star power were the voice actors from X-Men ’97, who bring the beloved characters to life once again. AJ LoCascio (Gambit), Lenore Zann (Rogue), Gui Agustini (Sunspot), Ross Marquand (Professor X), Matthew Waterson (Magneto), and Isaac Robinson-Smith (Bishop) shared their experiences and excitement about joining the X-Men legacy.

Zann, reprising her role as Rogue, spoke about the honor of returning to a character that has been an integral part of her career since 1992. Newcomers like Agustini and Marquand discussed the thrill of stepping into such iconic roles and the responsibility of meeting fan expectations. Marquand shared that the original X-Men animated series made him want to become an actor as a child. The actors highlighted what it was like to audition for the series and that none of them had initially known what the audition was for until they were asked to voice-match specific characters from the original series.

The panel concluded with a lively Q&A session, where fans could interact with the creators and voice actors. One audience member asked what power the cast would pick to have as their own mutant ability. There were a few typical answers like teleportation or flight, but Waterson uniquely expressed that he would like to have the ability to multiply himself to help him be in multiple places for his children. The panel closed out with a question from yours truly, in which I asked if each cast could please recite the iconic opening line “Previously On X-Men,” to which the cast graciously obliged. The audience’s enthusiasm was a testament to the enduring popularity of the X-Men.

Comic Con Revolution 2024 provided a perfect platform to celebrate the legacy and future of the X-Men. As fans, old and new, united in their love for these iconic characters, the X-Men‘s place in pop culture history is assured, and it will continue to inspire and entertain for generations to come.

Want more X-Men news? Check out our very own Happiest Pod on Earth podcast, Episode 42, featuring Eric and Julia Lewald.

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