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Ex-showrunner Beau DeMayo breaks silence on X-Men '97 after THAT shocking episode

Ex-showrunner Beau DeMayo breaks silence on 'X-Men '97' after THAT shocking episode

X-Men 97
Marvel Studios

DeMayo explained how the Pulse nightclub shooting influenced a pivotal episode.

rachelkiley

SPOILERS FOR X-MEN '97 EPISODE 5 AHEAD!

Beau DeMayo has remained mum about his shocking exit from X-Men ’97 in March, but the former showrunner is finally speaking about the show itself following a pivotal episode that aired this week. And it’s left people even more curious about why, exactly, he’s no longer heading up the series.

The fifth episode of X-Men ’97 has created quite the stir among fans and critics alike. Forbes suggested it “cements [the show] as one of the best marvel projects, ever,” while a viral tweet praises it as “the BEST X-Men cartoon I’ve ever seen in my life!”

The story revolves around several of the X-Men returning to Genosha, created as a place of refuge for mutants, as it is about to be accepted into the United Nations. A gala thrown in celebration of the event takes a heinously dark turn as it’s invaded by a Sentinel tasked with wiping out mutants. Without getting too specific, not everyone makes it out alive.

It’s clear that this episode, immediately recognized by fans as pivotal to the series, was important to DeMayo — enough so that he noted he was willing to “momentarily break silence to answer” fan questions about everything that happened.

“Episode 5 was the centerpiece of my pitch to Marvel in November 2020,” he wrote in a statement shared to Twitter. “The idea being to have the X-Men mirror the journey that any of us who grew up on the original show have experienced since being kids in the 90s. The world was a seemingly safer place for us, where a character like Storm would comment on how skin-based racism was ‘quaint’ in One Man’s Worth."

“For the most part, to our young minds, the world was a simple place of right and wrong, where questions about identity and social justice had relatively clear cut answers. Then 9/11 happened, and the world turn against itself.”

The X-Men have always held a special place for queer comic fans, as their narrative inevitably centers persecution over a difference they can’t control, by a society that immediately wants to other them. With Genosha established as a safe place for them to be themselves — and having that ripped away so quickly and violently — DeMayo also drew comparisons to real world incidents where the illusion of safety was similarly shattered, including the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016.

“If events like 9/11, Tulsa, Charlottesville, or Pulse Nightclub teach us anything, it’s that too many stories are often cut far too short. I partied at Pulse. It was my club,” he wrote. “It was, like Genosha, a safe space for me and everyone like me to dance and laugh and be free. I thought about this a lot when crafting this season and this episode, and how the gay community in Orlando rose to heal from that event.”

DeMayo’s thoughtful commentary on the episode and how he approached it brought about even more frustration that we still don’t know why he was let go from the show, suddenly and without explanation, just a week prior to its premiere.

Speculation has continued regarding DeMayo’s departure from X-Men ’97 as the show has gained attention and respect from fans over its first few weeks. But ultimately, neither he nor the people at Marvel Studios have had much to say about it.

"I can't talk about the details," Brad Winderbaum, head of animation at Marvel Studios, told Entertainment Weekly at the time, "but I can say that Beau had real respect and passion for these characters and wrote what I think are excellent scripts that really the rest of the team were able to draw inspiration from [to] build this amazing show that's on screen.”

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Rachel Kiley

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.