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x-men-97-wolverine.jpg

What’s Up With 'X-Men '97' Season 2 and Beau DeMayo?

By Mike Redmond | TV | May 22, 2024 |

By Mike Redmond | TV | May 22, 2024 |


x-men-97-wolverine.jpg

A little over a week before X-Men ‘97 premiered on Disney+, showrunner Beau DeMayo was shockingly fired by Marvel and pulled from doing press about the show. The timing and the abruptness suggested my man did something, which was seemingly bolstered by uncorroborated rumors that DeMayo had issues while working on The Witcher. Although, in fairness, this was all internet speculation and everyone going off vibes. God knows I was taking deep sips of that sewer water. (Ben Affleck divorce rumors, anyone?)

But then the situation took a turn. Not even three days later, X-Men ‘97 executive producer Brad Winderbaum told Entertainment Weekly that what happened with DeMayo was not a firing. “‘We parted ways’ is the best way I could say.” Right off the bat, yeah, that sounds like lawyer talk and everyone trying real hard not to get sued. That clarification is not entirely significant, but it does add context to the very strange thing that happened next.

Beau DeMayo started tweeting about X-Men ‘97, and he hasn’t stopped. That’s not normal.

After Disney+ dropped the bombshell Episode 5, “Remember It,” DeMayo wrote a lengthy note about his emotional connection to the events and how he wanted the X-Men to feel as terrified of the world as kids of the ’90s felt entering a tumultuous adulthood filled with 9/11, the Pulse night club shooting, and a litany of tragedies.

Tweeting about a show you “parted ways” from under a cloud of scandal is very weird, but once the Band-Aid was off, DeMayo kept going for the remainder of the season. He doled out X-Men homework that sent fans scurrying to dig up old comic issues or rewatch episodes from the original animated series. And no one stopped him. Disney never once stepped in and said, “Hey, buddy, maybe don’t associate yourself with our show.” At least to our knowledge. For all we know, DeMayo’s inbox is loaded with angry emails.

Anyway, when X-Men ‘97 delivered its series finale, leaving fans clamoring for more (because in case we haven’t mentioned it, the show freaking slaps), DeMayo once again took to Twitter to assure everyone that Season 2 will have his fingerprints on it.

“I did write a lot of season 2,” DeMayo tweeted to a fan. “However, unlike Season 1, I will not be heavily involved or leading production, cast records, design, editorial, post, music, etc., nor doing any production rewrites as it relates to the creative vision of the show. This is why I’ve said I can’t really speak to Season 2. But, looking forward to seeing the final product with you all whenever it airs. I have high hopes.”

Okay, surely, that will be the end of DeMayo’s tweeting about X-Men ‘97. Nope! He’s still going at it as of last night.

So, what happened with his parting of ways? I don’t want to dismiss the allegations that DeMayo was verbally abusive on the The Witcher, which may have continued on X-Men ‘97. While unconfirmed, that’s obviously in the mix as a potential cause. But I also don’t want to dismiss the possibility that DeMayo got burnt out delivering the show and that led to frustrations with Marvel where everyone felt it was best to step back. We just don’t know.

What I can tell you is what didn’t happen, and it brings us to my old friend, horseshoe politics. As the news broke that DeMayo had been “fired,” right wingers started crowing that Disney got rid of him because he made the show too “woke.” (Morph being non-binary was a particular sticking point.) It was a claim that made absolutely zero sense if you know anything about the history of X-Men. Their whole thing is being sexy freaks fighting against bigotry, and we love them for it.

To further shoot down the anti-woke nonsense, we know that Disney didn’t hate what DeMayo did with X-Men ‘97 because it made the unprecedented move of renewing the show for Season 2 while Season 1 was still being made. That does not happen in animation.

Here’s what Winderbaum told ScreenRant after the season finale dropped:

Something we learned in animation, where I learned in animation that has been very well known for animators for decades, is that there’s a season one and two lag because the studio or network wants to see how successful the first season is before they greenlight the second season and it takes so long to make anything animated that it often causes a pretty significant delay. In fact, Invincible did a great bit in their second season, they go to a fake Comic-Con and explain it to the audience which I thought was so hysterical. We were lucky enough to get a green light on the second season before we wrapped the first season because of the quality of the show.

Disney loved the show so much that they threw more money at it before it even aired, which brings us to the Far Left. The rules of Film Twitter are that it’s not cool to like Marvel, and you must shit on it at all times lest you become a normie Disney adult, or whatever. However, X-Men ‘97 proved to be so righteously badass and thematically deep, that it became impossible to deny its infectious charm. So, just like with Andor, a conspiracy theory had to emerge: Disney thought the show would fail. It can’t be true that the Great Mouse Satan willingly made something this bold, so clearly, X-Men ‘97 was a rogue production defiantly screaming “Free Palestine!” in the face of its corporate masters. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

In reality, DeMayo and the creative team tapped into what’s made the X-Men so popular for decades and crafted a love letter to both their greatest comic book stories as well the animated series that captured a new generation of fans. That team did such a great job that Disney saw just a peek of what was happening and preemptively handed them a buttload of cash because it knew X-Men ‘97 was going to punch people’s faces off. Or in other words, not fail.

Not to mention, leaning into the X-Men was a corporate strategy that was revealed in Variety all the way back in November 2023. Marvel and Disney know this IP can be the adrenaline shot they desperately need right now. They’re not about to throw that away because of anti-woke nonsense or batshit commie theories. Use your heads.