Bolivar Trask's Prime Sentinel form in X-Men '97 Season 1, Episode 7, "Bright Eyes"

X-Men ’97: What Are Prime Sentinels?

Warning: The following article contains spoilers for X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 7, “Bright Eyes.”

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X-Men ’97 Season 1 introduces a terrifying new breed of killer robot: the Prime Sentinel. So what are Prime Sentinels, and what do we know about them from Marvel’s X-Men canon?

Related: X-Men ’97: Who Is Theo James’ Character, Bastion?

X-Men ’97 Season 1’s Prime Sentinels, Explained

Prime Sentinels are cyborgs: human/machine hybrids designed to blend in with their surroundings (unlike their all-machine, purple-and-red counterparts). They were created by X-Men ’97 Season 1’s main antagonist, Bastion, and his OZT outfit, with input from Mister Sinister. Ironically, the first Prime Sentinel we encounter in X-Men ’97 is the Sentinel program’s original architect, Bolivar Trask. Trask’s true nature comes to light late in Season 1, Episode 7, “Bright Eyes,” after Rogue sends him tumbling out of a Madripoor skyscraper. Instead of killing him, the fall brings Trask’s dormant Prime Sentinel systems online. His eyes now glowing and with a circuitry pattern covering his skin, Trask proceeds to deliver a comprehensive beatdown on the X-Men.

Related: X-Men ’97: What Is the OZT?

Indeed, the Prime Sentinel incarnation of Trask very nearly defeats the entire team single-handedly, until Cable shows up and shuts him down with an EMP grenade. Even so, the one-sided nature of the X-Men’s fight with Trask makes it clear they’ll have their hands full should other Prime Sentinels show up. That’s almost certainly what’s about to happen, too. The final three episodes of X-Men ’97 Season 1 are all part of the same story arc, “Tolerance is Extinction” – a clear reference to the OZT’s full name, Operation: Zero Tolerance. Which (if any) of X-Men ’97‘s wider cast of human characters might be outed as Prime Sentinels during this arc is unclear for now, though.

What We Know About Prime Sentinels From the Comics

The Prime Sentinels’ comic book history is broadly the same as what’s depicted in X-Men ’97. They were developed as part of the Operation: Zero Tolerance program, under Bastion’s direction (Sinister wasn’t involved, however). What’s more, the X-Men comics’ Prime Sentinels weren’t aware of their cyborg status until activated, much like Trask in “Bright Eyes.” And, once online, these Prime Sentinels attacked or detained mutants on Bastion’s orders, just like in the show.

Related: X-Men ’97: Is Magneto Dead?

Where the comics really come in handy is fleshing out the sci-fi science behind the Prime Sentinels. To date, X-Men ’97 hasn’t really delved into the specifics of the hybridization process. But thanks to the comics, we know that nanotechnology drives the Prime Sentinel hosts’ transformations. The comics are also ahead of the cartoon in showcasing the second generation of Sentinel prototype: the Omega class. Whether Omega Prime Sentinels will feature in X-Men ’97 remains to be seen.

X-Men ’97 is now streaming on Disney+, with new episodes dropping Wednesdays.


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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.