X-Men ‘97’s Brutal New Twist Sets Up Wolverine’s Darkest Arc in Season 2

Marvel’s latest series is pulling zero punches, even where fan favorites are concerned.

Wolverine (voiced by Carl Dodd) in X-Men '97
Marvel Studios

In case anyone was in doubt, X-Men ‘97 is not at all afraid to Go There. The animated series might serve as a revival for the original X-Men cartoon, but its first season has brought its eponymous team to an all-new level. X-Men ‘97 has spent the past nine weeks shedding one expectation after the next — and with the second part of its three-part finale, it’s established itself as the antithesis of a Saturday morning cartoon.

X-Men ‘97 is also shockingly faithful to its source material: Each week the series embraces comic arcs that previously seemed unadaptable. And in “Tolerance Is Extinction - Part 2,” the series goes further than any X-Men adaptation ever has, setting the stage for a tragic storyline involving fan favorite Wolverine.

Spoilers for X-Men ‘97 ahead!

In “Tolerance Is Extinction,” Sentinels are the least of the X-Men’s worries.

Marvel Studios

Episode 9 sees the X-Men fighting a war on both sides, with the team splitting up to battle the technopath Bastion and a near-omnipotent Magneto. Things are looking incredibly dire for both groups by the time the credits roll, and their adversaries are seemingly more powerful than ever.

Professor X’s attempt to appeal to Magneto backfires spectacularly, and the consequences are pretty dire. It’s Wolverine who ends up doing what Charles and even Cyclops aren’t prepared to do... but even his attempts to neutralize Magneto (by stabbing him through the chest with his claws) fails. Magneto retaliates with the unthinkable, stripping the adamantium that covers Wolverine’s skeleton from his very body.

“Part 2” ends with the horrifying image, one ripped straight from a shocking comic storyline. In X-Men (Vol. 2) #25, also known as “Fatal Attractions,” Magneto decides he’s had enough of Wolverine and removes his metal enhancements in one fell swoop. This battle had devastating ramifications, not only for Wolverine, but for the X-Men themselves.

What the X-Men Comics Could Reveal for Season 2

X-Men ‘97 went full “Fatal Attractions,” bringing Wolverine back to square 1.

Marvel Comics

Wolverine’s adamantium claws have always been invaluable, but it’s not until the metal is stripped from his skeleton that its true importance is revealed. The character retains his weapon of choice after the fact, and his healing factor is also greatly, as the adamantium was actually dampening his mutation. That said, the metal was also keeping Wolverine from becoming an all-out feral animal. Once it’s removed, he quickly slips into a hybrid of a man and a beast. (For some reason, he also loses his nose.)

Professor X, meanwhile, is forced to neutralize Magneto telepathically. He wipes his memories, which puts the villain in a vegetative state. Their psyches later merge into one psychic entity, Onslaught, who wreaks havoc and kills off a handful of Marvel’s most beloved heroes. As Onslaught is one of the most hated introductions to X-Men lore, let’s hope the X-Men ‘97 team aren’t thinking of introducing him any time soon. Still, there’s every chance we could see Wolverine go feral, and eventually regain his humanity, in the future.

With just one episode left in X-Men ‘97’s first season, there won’t be much time to see how Wolverine reacts to Magneto’s assault. He may not even participate in the final battle against Magneto and Bastion. But it’s safe to assume that his journey will continue in X-Men ‘97 Season 2, which is currently in production. We could see him grappling with the loss of his adamantium enhancement there, setting up an even more unconventional storyline for the animated series.

X-Men ‘97 streams Wednesdays on Disney+.

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