X-Men ’97 Episode 10 Finale Theories: Onslaught, Dark Phoenix, and More

There's only one episode of X-Men '97 season 1 left to go. Here is what we think might go down.

Val Cooper (voiced by Catherine Disher) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL.
Photo: Marvel Animation

This article contains X-Men ’97 spoilers through episode 9.

Get ready to blast that iconic theme tune one last time because X-Men ‘97 season 1 is coming to an end. After nine episodes of spandex and Sentinels, we’re on the cusp of an epic finale that will hopefully set the stage for an equally epic second season.

Pulling off another faithful retelling of the comics, the cliffhanger ending of penultimate episode “Tolerance Is Extinction, Pt. 2” left fans reeling. As we brace for episode 10, here are the eight best X-Men ‘97 theories taking us through to the finale. 

Onslaught Will Be The Final Villain

If we follow the comics, the events of 1993’s “Fatal Attractions” should lead to X-Men ‘97’s endgame villain. “Tolerance Is Extinction, Pt. 2” beautifully adapted the source material, even including the iconic moment of Magneto pulling out Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton.

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This happens shot-for-shot in “Fatal Attraction”, and in its aftermath, an enraged Charles Xavier uses his powers to render Magneto catatonic. Professor X inadvertently bonds the darker aspects of Magneto’s psyche with his own repressed thoughts, creating the entity known as Onslaught. Redditor Aggressive_Control37 thinks it won’t play out this way, and instead, we saw Onslaught born in episode 9. 

Either way, comic book Onslaught teaches itself how to manifest a physical body and sets out on a mission to exterminate humans and mutants alike. While it’s unlikely we’ll introduce and defeat Onslaught in a single episode, it’s possible he’ll be the big bad of season 2. If we continue to follow the comics, Onslaught’s introduction can neatly reintroduce the Fantastic Four of 1994’s Fantastic Four: The Animated Series

X-Men ‘97 Will Adapt “Ultimatum” (Including Another Hulk Appearance?)

The many cameos in X-Men ‘97 season 1 have set the stage for an animated “Ultimatum” adaptation. We already covered how the series has been cueing the all-star crossover, and with episode 9 adding Hulk into the mix (via Morph’s transformations), another key player of “Ultimatum” is waiting in the wings. 

Season 1 has already been stacked with death. While the latest cliffhanger has teased the potential demises of Jean, Wolverine, and Magneto, we don’t see “Ultimatum” deaths like Beast and Nightcrawler also being squeezed into the finale. But in terms of Magneto returning to the all-out villain we remember from X-Men: The Animated Series, it definitely looks like we’re heading this way. 

As it stands, it feels like X-Men ‘97 is only going to nod toward “Ultimatum” rather than try to adapt its massive scale. More likely, we’d see the 2009 comic book crossover play out in some far-off live-action MCU movie when the X-Men and Fantastic Four eventually arrive on the scene.

Gambit Will Become the Horseman of Death

If comic books have taught us anything, it’s that death is hardly ever the end. Gambit’s shocking demise in “Remember It” will forever define X-Men ‘97, and while the Ragin’ Cajun is currently dead and buried, his legacy lives on.

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Freddie Brown theorizes that Apocalypse will return in X-Men ‘97 finale and bring his Four Horsemen with him. There are numerous theories that Gambit will represent the Horseman of Death, which fits with what happens to him in the comics.

More than just a throwaway theory, X-Men ‘97 added Apocalypse to its ever-changing opening credits in episode 5 – the episode where Gambit supposedly kicked the bucket. In terms of the other Horsemen, the credits happened to feature Polaris (Pestilence in the comics), while some aren’t convinced Madelyne Pryor is actually gone. 

A Mystique Reveal Is Still Coming

The reveal that Bastion had been there the entire time was one of X-Men ‘97’s biggest shockers, especially since Val Cooper was by his side. Episode 8 seemingly disproved the popular theory that Cooper was Mystique in disguise, although we were right that she’d help free Magneto. Some have written off the Val/Mystique reveal because she seemingly missed the perfect opportunity to come clean to Magneto. 

Others are still convinced the shapeshifting mutant is out there as Val or someone else close to home. Redditor jaidenkortez noted how Mystique has appeared in every opening without physically appearing in her blue-skinned form. After Nightcrawler mentioned his complicated family history with Rogue and Mystique, it screams a surprise finale reveal. 

Spider-Man ‘98

We’d always hoped that X-Men ‘97 would reignite the Marvel Animated Universe of the ‘90s, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance from a certain wall-crawling hero has fuelled the fires of a Spider-Man: The Animated Series revival. After all, Head Writer Beau DeMayo confirmed the Spider-Man we see in X-Men ‘97 episode 8 is the same one voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes in Spider-Man: The Animated Series

Redditor JackFisherBooks suggests that the X-Men will need help from others to defeat an endgame villain like Onslaught, theorizing that all these cameos are building toward a much grander season 2. Twitter user @Lord_Snerts painted a dream scenario where Spider-Man and Captain America lend a hand, with the latter nodding toward Rogue throwing away his shield in episode 7. 

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The Phoenix Saga Rises From the Ashes

There’s a reason that X-Men: The Animated Series successfully managed to adapt the “Phoenix Saga” while the live-action movies have failed to do it justice…twice. After the apparent loss of Madelyne, it’s hard to fathom that X-Men ‘97 has also killed Jean Grey – even though episode 9 made it seem that’s the case.

Jean might’ve looked like she’s succumbed to Cable’s blast, but as she’s previously survived a brush with death and emerged as the Phoenix, it could easily happen again. Redditor ChaosAlongThird points out that alongside the Phoenix Force appearing in the titles, it’s the only thing Mister Sinister can’t control. Some have been critical of Jean’s handling in season 1, so having her return as the OP Phoenix would be one hell of a way to improve her arc. 

There Will Be a Deadpool & Wolverine Tie-In

Fans are waiting to see how/if X-Men ‘97 will tie into Deadpool & Wolverine, especially after Patrick Stewart appeared in cartoon Xavier’s yellow hoverchair for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The Deadpool & Wolverine trailer mentions how this Logan ‘failed’ his universe, leading to rampant speculation about which version of the Clawed Canadian Hugh Jackman is playing. 

Redditor AmusinglyArtistic connects X-Men ‘97 to the live-action MCU and Deadpool’s imminent crossover, pointing out how the Genosha attack is an “absolute point” that can’t be changed. After Cable’s foreshadowing, recall that Morph joked about “another dystopia where Logan’s the last to die.” 

The OP thinks that Wolverine’s comic book costume, echoing Jackman’s version in Deadpool & Wolverine, is too convenient. Some clever trailer trickery possibly shows him in the ruins of Genosha. As DeMayo has promised big things for Wolverine and mentioned passing the baton to Ryan Reynolds, this one might be right on the money.

The Arrival of Moira X

Although it was hard to keep track of who met their end in the Genosha massacre, we were shocked to learn that series mainstay Moira MacTaggert was one of the casualties. Given Moira’s importance in the comics, there’s a potential that Moira X will be here for a Dallas-inspired fakeout.

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Following her death at the hands of Mystique, Moira was reintroduced as Moira X in “House of X” and “Powers of X”. Here, she’s a mutant who awakens in the womb every time she dies. The controversial revamp has Moira X keep her memories from her old life and gives her the ability to change things next time around. 

As well as forming the mutant nation of Krakoa, Moira X awakens Apocalypse from his slumber and launches the Apocalypse War. It all seems far too outlandish for X-Men ‘97, and when asked what’s the worst way we could end season 1, Redditor DrapedInVelvet says zooming in on Moira as she dies, resetting the timeline, and starting again for season 2 would ruin an otherwise near-perfect series. 

The X-Men ’97 season 1 finale will premiere Wednesday, March 15 on Disney+.