Combined stills of Ronan the Accuser, Cyclops, and Doctor Doom in X-Men '97 Season 1

X-Men ’97: Every Major Marvel Cameo In Season 1

Warning: The following contains spoilers for X-Men ’97 Season 1.

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X-Men ’97 Season 1 is bursting at the seams with shout-outs to the wider Marvel canon — including brief appearances by characters not primarily associated with the X-franchise. Below, we’ve rounded up every major Marvel cameo in X-Men ’97 Season 1.

But first, a quick disclaimer: this list doesn’t include any instances of Morph impersonating Marvel heroes or villains. So, don’t expect to see the Hulk, Mister Fantastic, or any other big-name player Morph has shapeshifted as on this list.

Related: X-Men ’97: How Are Bastion and Nimrod Connected?

1. The Watcher

The Watcher's cameo in X-Men '97 Season 1, Episode 5, "Remember It"

Eagle-eyed viewers will spot the spectral form of Uatu the Watcher in the sky above Genosha in X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 5, “Remember It.” Marvel’s resident cosmic voyeur’s presence goes unexplained in the episode itself, however, it’s implied he’s there to witness the impending Genosha massacre. Supervising director Jake Castorena later confirmed this was the rationale behind Uatu’s cameo in a Screen Rant interview. “[A] significant moment, genocide is about to happen… How could The Watcher not be there to witness this?” he said. Castorena also rightly observed that the Watcher made similar cameos in X-Men ’97‘s precursor, X-Men: The Animated Series.

2. Ronan the Accuser

Ronan the Accuser in X-Men '97 Season 1, Episode 6, "Lifedeath – Part 2"

X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 6, “Lifedeath – Part 2,” comes frontloaded with a Ronan the Accuser cameo. Here, the hammer-packing zealot leads the Kree forces into battle against Deathbird and Shi’ar troops. This tracks with Ronan’s characterization in Marvel’s comics canon, which has presented him as fanatically loyal to the Kree from his first appearance in 1967’s Fantastic Four #65. It’s also in line with how Ronan carries himself in the MCU — including live-action outings Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel — although X-Men ’97‘s Ronan is a separate character.

3. Thunderbolt Ross

Thunderbolt Ross in X-Men '97 Season 1, Episode 7, "Bright Eyes"

During Rogue’s rampage in X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 7, “Bright Eyes,” she crosses paths with General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. Here, as in the comics and countless other adaptations, Ross is the Hulk’s nemesis — relentlessly pursuing the Jade Giant with the backing of the US military. We don’t see any of this on screen, although Ross references his pursuit of the Hulk in a line of dialogue. This could also double as a nod to UPN’s mid-90s Incredible Hulk animated series, however, as that show’s Thunderbolt Ross and the X-Men ’97 version are almost certainly the same character.

4. Captain America

Rogue and Captain America in X-Men '97 Season 1, Episode 7, "Bright Eyes"

Rogue’s Episode 7 antics also result in a tense encounter between her and Steve Rogers/Captain America. He returns in Episode 10, “Tolerance Is Extinction – Part 3,” unsuccessfully advising President Kelly against attacking Asteroid M. Pre-dating the Marvel Universe proper, Cap officially joined Marvel’s shared continuity when The Avengers #4 hit stands in 1964. He’s now one of the publisher’s most recognizable characters, while his MCU counterpart was a major box office draw before actor Chris Evans retired from the role following 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Captain America previously made several appearances in X-Men: The Animated Series, including the Season 5 episode “Old Soldiers,” which detailed his World War II escapades alongside Wolverine.

Related: X-Men ’97: Why Does Valerie Cooper Free Magneto?

5. Doctor Doom

Doctor Doom in X-Men '97 Season 1, Episode 8, "Tolerance is Extinction – Part 1"

X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 8, “Tolerance Is Extinction – Part 1,” reveals that Doctor Doom’s native Latveria is one of several UN member nations supporting Operation: Zero Tolerance. Doom isn’t impressed with how Bastion is running the OZT, however, and is briefly shown voicing his displeasure. Doctor Doom started out as the Fantastic Four‘s archvillain in the 1960s before gradually becoming one of the most iconic Marvel baddies, period. He shows up in almost every Fantastic Four adaptation — including all three live-action flicks — as well as in broader Marvel-oriented fare. The X-Men ’97 version of Doctor Doom is seemingly the same guy from the mid-90s Fantastic Four cartoon, as X-Men: The Animated Series characters cameoed in its second season.

6. Baron Zemo

Baron Zemo in X-Men '97 Season 1, Episode 8 "Tolerance is Extinction – Part 1"

Episode 8 also outs another legendary Marvel supervillain, Baron Zemo, as an OZT collaborator. In the comics, Baron Heinrich Zemo was one of Captain America’s enemies during World War II and was responsible for the death of his sidekick, Bucky Barnes. Zemo’s son, Helmut, kept the rivalry going after Cap re-emerged in the present day. Both father and son have appeared in several Marvel adaptations, with a tweaked take on the Helmut Zemo incarnation of the character playing a key role in Captain America: Civil War and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

7. Spider-Man

Spider-Man in X-Men '97 Season 1, Episode 8, "Tolerance Is Extinction – Part 1"

“Tolerance Is Extinction – Part 1” isn’t limited to just Marvel villain cameos, though. On the contrary, we get a fleeting glimpse of the publisher’s flagship superhero, Spider-Man, backflipping across a New York City rooftop late in the game. Spidey has headed up (or otherwise appeared in) a plethora of adaptations since his 1962 comics debut. The X-Men ’97 version is presumably the same wall-crawler from the mid-90s Spider-Man: The Animated Series. After all, X-Men: The Animated Series crossed over with that show in 1995. Spider-Man’s civilian alter-ego, Peter Parker, briefly appears alongside his (sort of) wife Mary-Jane Watson in Episode 10, “Tolerance Is Extinction – Part 3.”

8. Iron Man

Iron Man and Captain America in X-Men 97 Season 1, Episode 10

X-Men ’97 Season 1 saves some of its biggest Marvel cameos for its final episode, “Tolerance Is Extinction – Part 3.” This includes several shots of Captain America’s Avengers teammate, Iron Man. Shellhead is at Cap’s side as they both watch the X-Men/Bastion conflict escalate. Based on his character model, this is clearly the incarnation of Tony Stark’s armored alter-ego from the mid-90s Iron Man cartoon. That makes sense, too. While X-Men: The Animated Series and Iron Man never crossed over, Iron Man did appear in Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Fantastic Four.

Related: X-Men ’97: Why Couldn’t Cable Prevent the Genosha Massacre?

9. Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange performing surgery in X-Men 97 Season 1, Episode 10

“Tolerance Is Extinction – Part 3” puts a major focus on the street-level impact of Magneto’s EMP — including hospitals. One such scene is set in an operating theater, where Doctor Strange uses magic to perform surgery in the dark. The Sorcerer Supreme previously made a cameo in X-Men: The Animated Series. He also made fully-fledged guest appearances in Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk.

10. Daredevil

Daredevil in X-Men 97 Season 1, Episode 10

Daredevil also makes a cameo in “Tolerance Is Extinction – Part 3.” And unlike Iron Man and Doctor Strange, the Man Without Fear cuts loose during his limited screen time. Daredevil’s trademark billy clubs get a solid workout in the X-Men ’97 Season 1 finale, as the blind vigilante does his best to contain the New York City riots. This is seemingly the same Hornhead who appeared in Spider-Man and Fantastic Four, based on his design.

11. Black Panther

Black Panther in X-Men '97 Season 1, Episode 10

Black Panther is another of Marvel’s famous faces allowed to let rip in X-Men ’97 Episode 10. Aside from taking part in a video conference with President Kelly, Wakanda’s ruler also leaps into battle alongside the (distinctly MCU-inspired) Dora Milaje. Interestingly, the Black Panther in X-Men ’97 isn’t T’Challa, but rather his father, T’Chaka. How this tracks with Fantastic Four‘s canon — in which T’Chaka is already dead and T’Challa has replaced him — remains unclear.

12. The Crimson Dynamo

Crimson Dynamo, Omega Red, and Darkstar in X-Men '97 Season 1, Episode 10

Fan-favorite X-villain Omega Red shows up again in X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 10, and he’s flanked by a member of Iron Man’s rogues’ gallery: Crimson Dynamo. At least 13 people have held the Crimson Dynamo mantle over the years, however, assuming this is the mid-90s Iron Man cartoon version, this one has Yuri Petrovich in the suit. The presence of the mutant superhero Darkstar also suggests that X-Men ’97‘s Crimson Dynamo is potentially a member of the Russian team The Winter Guard.

13. Cloak and Dagger

Cloak, Daredevil, and Dagger in X-Men '97 Season 1, Episode 10

Finally, “Tolerance Is Extinction – Part 3” marks the X-Men ’97 universe debut of the crime-fighting double act Cloak and Dagger. They fight alongside Daredevil during the chaos in New York City, demonstrating their respective light and dark-based superpowers. Cloak and Dagger previously appeared in the 2010s Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man cartoons. However, as those shows seemingly exist in a separate continuity to X-Men ’97, the Cloak and Dagger in “Tolerance Is Extinction – Part 3” are likely all-new creations.

And those are all the major Marvel cameos in X-Men ’97 Season 1. All 10 episodes are streaming now on Disney+.

The above article was updated on May 19, 2024, by Leon Miller to include additional cameos featured in X-Men ’97’s Season 1 finale.


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Author
Leon Miller
Leon is a freelance contributor at The Escapist, covering movies, TV, video games, and comics. Active in the industry since 2016, Leon's previous by-lines include articles for Polygon, Popverse, Screen Rant, CBR, Dexerto, Cultured Vultures, PanelxPanel, Taste of Cinema, and more.