EXCLUSIVE: X-Men ’97 Director on Going Woke In The Modern Age

X-Men 97 Director Jake Castorena Interview

In a recent interview with Jake Castorena, the director of the upcoming “X-Men ’97” series, insights were shared about how the show modernizes the wokeness of the original X-Men franchise.

The Core of X-Men: An Allegory for Prejudice

According to Castorena, X-Men has always been an allegory for prejudice, a theme deeply rooted in the franchise’s DNA. He emphasized that stripping away this core element would diminish the essence of the X-Men. Castorena stated, “The minute you take that away from the X-Men, they’re no longer the X-Men. They’re just another a different superhero dynamic.”

Marvel Animation’s X-Men ’97 Interview:

Relevance in Today’s Society

Despite societal progress, Castorena highlighted that there are still blind spots and much to learn. The relevance of X-Men’s themes around prejudice and discrimination persists today, making it an ideal platform for meaningful dialogue. He remarked, “There’s a reason why things are still relevant today. It’s important… X-Men is an IP that more than lends itself to have these discussions.”

Balancing Modernization with Original Themes

While the core themes remain unchanged, Castorena acknowledged the need to modernize the storytelling for today’s audience. He explained, “We’re not doing anything that hasn’t already been there… As far as making it modernized or relative today, that’s where the writing comes in.” The revival series aims to address contemporary issues while staying true to the essence of the original show.

Reflecting on Society’s Evolution

Castorena reflected on how society has evolved since the original series aired. From the aftermath of 9/11 to the recent global pandemic, society has experienced significant changes in a relatively short period. He noted, “We as a people have been through some stuff in very recent time in a very small amount of time.” The revival series aims to capture these shifts while retaining the timeless appeal of the X-Men universe.

X-MEN '97 Marvel Animation Marvel Studios
(L-R): Morph (voiced by JP Karliak), Storm (voiced by Alison Sealy-Smith), Gambit (voiced by AJ LoCascio), Cyclops (voiced by Ray Chase), Rogue (voiced by Lenore Zann), Wolverine (voiced by Cal Dodd), Bishop (voiced by Isaac Robinson-Smith), Beast (voiced by George Buza) in Marvel Animation’s X-MEN ’97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL.

A Platform for Thoughtful Dialogue

“X-Men ’97” promises to be more than just a nostalgic revival. It serves as a platform for thought-provoking discussions about prejudice, tolerance, and social justice. Castorena expressed his pride in being part of a series that encourages audiences to reflect on societal issues while enjoying the beloved characters and storytelling of the X-Men universe. He concluded, “It’s the whole point of it… to just be able to talk and go, damn, I see my side. I see my side in that, or I never saw it that way. That’s crazy.”

Through insightful interviews like this one, fans gain a deeper understanding of the creative vision behind “X-Men ’97” and its relevance in today’s world. As excitement builds for the release of the series, audiences can anticipate a revival that honors the past while paving the way for important conversations about wokeness and social justice in the present day.

X-MEN '97 Marvel Animation Marvel Studios
X-MEN ’97, exclusively on Disney+. © 2024 MARVEL.

Director: Jake Casterano
Writer(s): Beau DeMayo
Stars: Jennifer Hale, Ray Chase, Alison Sealy-Smith, Cal Dodd, George Buza, A.J. LoCascio, Holly Chou
X-Men ’97 comes to Disney+ on March 20, 2024. Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more movie news and reviews!

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About Emmanuel "E-Man" Noisette

Emmanuel is a Rotten Tomatoes Approved, Chicago film critic who founded Eman's Movie Reviews. He's contributed to other outlets such as ScreenRant andThe Wrap, and has been featured on television such as MSNBC. Be sure to join the other fans on his Facebook Fan Page for even more movie opinions and fun. Feel free to contact him with any professional inquiries: [email protected]