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X-Men 97 marvel studios gambit magneto death storm Emi Yonemura Chase Conley

EXCLUSIVE: X-Men ’97 Directors Speak On Emotional Damage Given To Fans

*Spoilers ahead for episodes 3-5 of X-Men 97*

Episode 5 of X-Men ’97 left many fans reeling. The emotional gut punch of the episode’s climax, which saw the deaths of both Magneto and Gambit, sparked a wave of online discussion and even some lighthearted outrage (the “how dare you?” kind). Here at The Movie Blog, we understand the impact these characters have on viewers, and that’s why we sat down with Emi Yonemura, the episodic director behind episode five, to get some insight on the creative decisions that went into crafting such a momentous event.

X-Men 97 Interview:

The Movie Blog: Emi, how are you doing today?

Emi Yonemura: We’re wonderful. Especially after yesterday. Whew.

The Movie Blog: Let’s talk about that. So Emi, I believe you directed episode five.  How did you approach, directing such emotional scenes like that? you know, like un-aliving Magneto and Gambit. And furthermore, how dare you? (jokingly)

Emi Yonemura: You’re welcome. (Smiles) Yeah, you know, it has to be earned. That was the major thing that I felt like, you know, you can’t just throw away lives. And that’s the whole point of X-Men is giving validity and value to everybody, and that everybody has a place in the world, and rightly so. So I never wanted it to feel like it was cannon fodder just to make people cry. It was always going to be, how can we earn this the best way possible? And how can we then try and get people to forgive us?

X-MEN '97 Episode 5

(L-R): Magneto (voiced by Matthew Waterson), Gambit (voiced by AJ LoCascio), and Rogue (voiced by Lenore Zann) in Marvel Animation’s X-MEN ’97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL.

The winds of change swept through the X-Men mansion in episodes 3 and 4 of X-Men ’97. Storm found herself facing a personal tempest after a devastating encounter left her stripped of her mutant abilities. So far, this arc has explored the emotional toll of her power loss and Storm’s subsequent journey of self-discovery. We were curious to delve deeper into the creative choices behind this impactful storyline. We had the opportunity to chat with Chase Conley,. As the episodic director of these episodes, he provided insight into the thought process behind these emotional moments.

The Movie Blog:  So Chase, you were dealing with Storm. I was getting very emotional. Especially when she couldn’t feel the weather and all of that. How did you approach dealing with something so critical to her character? What was your approach in making sure we also felt that?

Chase Conley:  well, you just want to kind of go through the motions of…if the one thing that you did… you spent your entire life knowing that your entire identity is wrapped up in, how would that affect you  if that was gone today? You know much in the way that if you were to lose your hearing suddenly. How would that affect you? What would you go through? How dark would you go? How far would you spiral right before you decide, “I’m going to lay in this”  or “I’m going to try to pull myself out of it”.

X-MEN '97 Episode 4 Storm and Forge

(L-R): Forge (voiced by Gil Birmingham) and Storm (voiced by Alison Sealy-Smith) in Marvel Animation’s X-MEN ’97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL.

Chase Conley: I think that for Storm, essentially the key is that she’s always been looked at as a goddess. Everybody in the in the Marvel Universe, refers to her as a goddess because she’s omega-level. She’s one of the first omega-level mutants. The entire continent of Africa thinks it thinks of her as a goddess. So what does that feel like whenever that’s ripped away from you? So it is tragic. It is sad, but it’s also something that we can relate to as people. I think there’s a lesson in that. That’s the main thing that we want to explore.

A lot of times we don’t try to answer questions. I think that’s a good storytelling. Let the audience come to their own conclusions as to what is good, and what is bad, and what is the right choice. To me, that is an essential Storm story that adds strength to her character, so that you can see that she’s not just these powers, but that she has strength of will as well.

While some fans may still be reeling from the emotional rollercoaster of the recent episodes, the directors’ passion for the characters and the weight given to their struggles is apparent. Whether you agree with the creative choices or not, there’s no denying the impact X-Men ’97 is having. Be sure to tune in every Wednesday on Disney+ to see where the X-Men go next and prepare for even more excitement along the way!

X-Men 97 Interview:

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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