This X-Men series is one of the first animated shows to be serialized, with each of the episodes continuing into the next, although most of them also stand alone as separate shows. After "The Phoenix Saga" aired, the remaining episodes that aired were not in the correct continuity order. Because the bulk of episodes were being animated with many different studios, the writers decided not to continue with linear storylines like the first two seasons, as many would likely air as soon as they became available. Continuity problems became so bad that X-Men: No Mutant Is an Island (1996) and episode X-Men: Longshot (1996) did not air for two years after they should have, thanks to animation quality issues. "No Mutant is an Island" was *supposed* to explain Jean Grey's return, setting up the Dark Phoenix Saga.
Sidney Iwanter, an executive at Fox, originally planned on "ending" the series with a big bang ("Beyond Good and Evil - parts 1-4"). They even had planned to have characters leaving the team at the conclusion, but at the last minute Fox asked for more episodes. Unfortunately, at the time Marvel was filing for bankruptcy and could not afford to produce more episodes, so Saban funded them directly. This explains why the last six episodes looked different than the previous 70. So the show officially "ended" things again with X-Men: Graduation Day (1997).
Fox initially had a lot of resistance to the cartoon series before it became a success. They felt that the target audiences, kids under 10, wouldn't be interested in a romantic love triangle between Cyclops, Jean, and Wolverine. They also thought kids wouldn't keep up with a show that was serialized.
David Hemblen (the voice of Magneto in the show) was offered the chance to play Magneto in the X-Men live action movie. Hemblen wanted the role but he was forced to turn down the role due to scheduling conflicts with his show Earth: Final Conflict (1997).
Margaret Loesch had been championing for an X-Men show back in the 1980's with Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981) and Pryde of the X-Men (1989). Meanwhile, Loesch left Marvel Productions and became head of Fox Children's Network, in charge of all animated shows on the fourth network and now she was in a position to buy an X-Men show for the network. Marvel teamed up with Saban Entertainment to set up 13 episodes X-Men, featuring Marvel's hottest mutants.
Character designs and artwork for this series was provided by comic veterans Will Meugniot, Larry Houston, and Rick Hoberg. The series character designs were based on the artwork of comic book artist Jim Lee's designs from the "X-Men" comics. The X-Men roster comes from the Blue Team (with Storm and Jean Grey replacing Psylocke and Revanche) that was featured in the "X-Men" comic (the second volume) around the time of the series began production. The first issue was ranked by the Guinness Records as the best-selling comic of all time.
Morph was intended to be a "throwaway" character for the writers to kill to sell the stark nature of the series. Changeling (Morph) was chosen because of his past ties to the X-Men, as well as his long absence from the comics. His codename had to be changed from Changeling to Morph as DC Comics had trademarked the Changeling name for the character who is also known as Beast Boy. Morph's death was intended to be permanent, but he gained unexpected popularity and was brought back.
Stan Lee was not creatively active with Marvel comics at the time the series was being produced so his involvement wasn't particularly big on the series. He gave some producers notes on the first thirteen episodes
Originally Beast was going to be just a recurring character and not a part of the main cast. It was only after completing production on the first 13 episodes, that the creative team decided to add him to the main cast.
Although its premiere in Oct. 1992 garnered top ratings, X-Men only aired two episodes before disappearing for a short time. The third episode made a surprising unadvertised appearance on a Friday, but the show was up against a stumbling block to get shows animated properly and on time. When Korean animators Akom turned in the first episode, it needed literally hundreds of "retakes" (in which scenes incorrectly animated are fixed). Akom refused to do all the retakes, and in the interest of time the show was aired as is. When Fox wasn't going to get the second episode in time for airing, the network threatened one of the producers that if he didn't personally hand deliver the film from Korea five days before airing, he wouldn't get paid for the entire series. He made the deadline though 50 scenes were missing and the editing had to be done in a one-day marathon, with no retakes and the second episode aired. Needless to say, Fox was not happy with the situation and yanked the series from its schedule, letting Akom know it was in a very precarious position with its contracts. The animators worked overtime, and Fox re-premiered the first two episodes in a one-hour special in Jan. 1993. The series went forward pretty much on schedule from that point forward.
Due to the success of this series, Fox had announced a new Spider-Man (1994) series for a fall mid-season replacement (which included an X-Men crossover) and a Captain America and the Avengers series was also planned to be paired with both Marvel shows.
The opening sequence features a scene with each of the main X-Men characters demonstrating their powers with a stylized of their code name to the series' instrumental theme song. In the fifth season new opening sequence was used that used both footage from the original sequence and clips from episodes and the theme song was slightly changed.
Cyclops and Jean Grey almost get married in the Season 2 opener which aired a year before the couple finally married in the comics. The animated Cyclops and Jean Grey didn't actually get married until "Beyond Good and Evil" Part .
After flying to Los Angeles for story meetings for the series, X-Men Group editor Bob Harris heard about an It's a Wonderful Life type of story in which Bishop and Shard travel to an apocalyptic alternate world where Charles Xavier died called "One Man's Worth". Harris liked this story so much he decided to adapt the idea into the comics as a major storyline called "Age of Apocalypse".
Broadcast standards and practices had asked the writers to change the name of the villain Fabian Cortez to something no-hispanic because there are no prominent members of the X-Men to provide balance for this type of negative character. Eric Lewald said that was a big deal to the writers since that's the character's name in the comics and pointed out the Spanish conquistador Cortez was not a well-liked man.
The actual Brood from the comics was never allowed to make a full appearance in this series due to broadcast standards and practices censorship. Instead, a heavily altered version of the Brood, called The Colony, appears in the episode "Love in Vain". These aliens looked more reptilian than insectoid and were equipped with metallic tentacled armors instead of having organic tentacles. In addition, instead of laying their eggs in other people, they infect other races and transform them into their own kind. The Brood only made brief cameo appearances in the episodes "Mojovision", as generic aliens that fight Beast and Rogue in one of Mojo's shows and a classic Brood Queen also appears in the episode "Cold Comfort" as an illusion projected by Professor X to scare away the soldiers attacking Iceman. The comic Brood also appear in the Japanese intro for the series.
Jean Grey's uniform was slightly altered by being tan instead yellow and allowed her to sport a pony tail. However, when the show had gotten revamped designs for the last 6 shows, Jean's costume was closer to Jim Lee's original comic design being yellow and having her hair free flowing.
Shortly after the series began, a comic book spin-off series "X-Men Adventures" was launched in November 1992 adapting the first three seasons of the show. In April 1996, the comic was relaunched as "Adventures of the X-Men", which contained original stories set within the same continuity. The comic book lasted until March 1997, shortly after the show's cancellation by the Fox Network.
In this series, Sabertooth's name is erroneously given as Graydon Creed Sr. While Graydon Creed was the name of his son and founder of the anti-mutant hate group The Friends of Humanity, Sabertooth's name in the comics was Victor Creed.
In the Savage Land, the X-Men's mutant powers have been neutralized by Sinister's machines except Wolverine who retained the use of his claws. A few months before this aired, there was a story in the comics called Fatal Attractions that had Magneto rip the adamantium from his bones and revealed that Wolverine was born with bone claws thus making them a mutant power.
At the time "The Phoenix Saga" began airing, Jean Grey began using the codename Phoenix in the comics. Also, a little over a year after the series ended, Jean ditched the yellow and blue outfit and began wearing the green and gold Phoenix costume in the comics grew more comfortable with her immense psychic powers.
Some episodes feature brief flashbacks where the original X-Men members (Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, Angel, and Marvel Girl) are seen in the fighting in the danger room. They all wear some version of their 60's costume except Jean Grey who was in her Jim Lee costume. Though the Dark Phoenix Saga did establish she had wore her green and yellow Marvel Girl costume in the past.
The X-Factor team shown in this series is actually the second team in the comics with a lineup of Havok, Polaris, Strong Guy, Quicksilver, Multiple Man Wolfsbane and Forge. This version of the team was led by Forge who had just recently joined the team at the time in the comics instead of Havok. The original team in the comics was made up of the original five X-Men members.
It is heavily implied that in this series Cable's mother is actually Jean Grey. In the comics, his mother was a clone of Jean Grey named Madelyne Pryor who is doesn't appear this series and isn't mentioned at all.
In all versions of the X-Men, except for the movie, Rogue joins the X-Men with the ability to fly, super strength and the involuntary ability to absorb and sometimes also remove the memories, physical strength, and superpowers of anyone she touches. The ability to fly and super strength were taken from Ms. Marvel when Rogue was a villain before joining the X-Men.
The original credits sequence featured a 3D model and a brief description of each member of the X-Men except for Jubilee. Beginning in the second season, the credits sequence was changed to feature a blue background with episode clips. When UPN began airing reruns on Sunday mornings an alternate credits sequence was used: a high-quality Japanese-animated version of the original opening.
The Acolytes, a group of mutants who are lead by Magneto and reside on Asteroid M, are never referred to by name in the series because broadcast standards and practices forbade the writers not to call them by that name in the dialogue.
Before the initial 65 episode order was completed, there were on-going discussions with the Fox network to create a string of mini-series that would air under the X-Men banner, similar to Marvel's recent Gambit and Sabretooth comic book titles.
During the last 6 episodes the character designs were revamped for the new animation. These character designs were slightly updated for better animation and to closer resemble the art style the comics were featuring at the time. However, Storm still had her white costume instead of her blue outfit she switched to in the comics.
When the show was picked up for a second season, Larry Houston returned to work on the show, though Meugniot left the series to work on Exosquad (1993) instead. Eric Lewald, X-Men story editor from the first season, would also return.