X-Men ’97 Interview: Director Jake Castorena on the thrill and challenges of reviving the beloved animated series

We chat with Supervising Director Jake Castorena about the honor and exciting challenges of making Marvel’s X-Men ’97.

Reviving the classic X-Men animated series takes guts. In a list of beloved shows from a bygone era of Saturday Morning television, Marvel’s X-Men stands among select others at the top of Mount Nostalgia, with adamantium claws popped and a dream of equality for mutantkind in its heart. When Marvel announced a return to the fan-favorite animation, it was difficult to imagine the Herculean task of doing justice to the old series while carving a new path. Thankfully, Marvel’s X-Men ’97 launched to rave reviews from critics and fans, and we’ve got the show’s Supervising Producer and Supervising Director, Jake Castorena, to tell us about establishing a new era in mutant-related entertainment.

Speaking with Jake, we discussed the team lineup for X-Men ’97 and who could join the cast. We also talk about how X-Men ’97 is so true to the spirit of the original that it feels like Marvel is transporting you back to the ’90s when Chubawamba was thumping on tubs, and Savage Garden wanted you to try a sip of their Cherry Cola.

We also touch on Jake’s time working for other studios on projects like DC’s Batman, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Star Trek: Prodigy and how that compares to making animation magic at Marvel Studios. Finally, we step inside a time machine and discuss how best to write something with a ’90s frame of mind.

X-Men ’97 launched with a two-episode premiere on Disney+ on March 20. In addition to today’s interview, we have an X-Men ’97 review with opinions about the show’s highlights, challenges, and faults so far.

Here’s a snippet from the review:

“Smartly, X-Men ’97 is a continuation of the original series. The classic X-Men theme song from the jump transports you back to 1997, when the fifth and “final” season concluded. While not a one-to-one recreation of the original, the art retains the original show’s ’90s aesthetic, though characters and environments are polished. The mixture of hand-drawn art and CGI is seamless, giving the series a look and feel that complements the original presentation. Overall, X-Men ’97 displays a vibrancy the original series could not achieve due to technological restrictions.”

There’s more where that came from. Be sure to check it out!

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He’s also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You’ll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/x-men-97-interview-jake-castorena/

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