X-Men '97 EP/Writer DeMayo Appreciates SNL's Take on Marvel's Mutants
X-Men '97 writer & executive producer Beau DeMayo appreciated Saturday Night Live & Jenna Ortega's take on Marvel's main mutants.
If you didn't get a chance to check out NBC's Saturday Night Live this weekend with host Jenna Ortega (Wednesday, Scream VI) and musical guest The 1975, then you missed out on SNL's take on Marvel's main mutants, The X-Men. In the sketch "School vs. School," School vs. School host Jay McCormick (Kenan Thompson) welcomes teacher Mrs. Cashman (Punkie Johnson) and two students, Gabe & Manny (Michael Longfellow & Marcello Hernández), from West Grove High School. Competing against them in the college bowl-style academic competition are the representatives from Professor Zander's Academy for Extraordinary Children, Mikey Day's Prof. Zander (or "Prof. Z"?) and students Zena (Ortega) and Knockout (Molly Kearney). Now, if you're noticing any similarities to Marvel's X-Men, you're clearly not alone. From Zena's clear nod to Rogue and Day's going with a look that's pretty obvious to some familiarities in the way that Knockout knocks out the show's podium, the nods to Marvel's mutants were pretty easy to see (and pulled off incredibly well).
One person, in particular, who caught wind of the sketch was Marvel Studios' X-Men '97 writer & executive producer Beau DeMayo, who is spearheading the return of the beloved animated series universe in late 2023 on Disney+. Retweeting a screencap from the sketch, DeMayo wrote, "Even SNL can't wait…. #xmen97." Here's a look at DeMayo's tweet from earlier today appreciating SNL's "mutant homage" from Saturday night, followed by a look back at the original sketch:
X-Men '97: The Road to Season 1 & Season 2
Regarding the previously-announced second season, it appears we may have gotten some good news from Cal Dodd (Logan / Wolverine). As many of you know (but we'll still give you a reminder below), Dodd took to Twitter at the beginning of 2022 to signal that recording on the first season was underway. Well, a little more than a year later, Dodd was back on Twitter to let fans know that recording on the second season was already underway. In a tweet that's since been taken down, Dodd wrote, "Yesterday. Studio. Season 2. GREAT session!" and included a brief video sharing, "Cal Dodd, voice of Wolverine from 'X-Men '97.' The beginning of Season 2. I say, just the beginning. Strap your seatbelts on, bub. Later." Back in January 2022, Dodd took to Twitter to share a look from the recording studio (and make sure to check out his jacket):
In October 2022, DeMayo fielded some questions on social media that included shedding some light on the upcoming animated series revival. With production first getting underway in Fall 2020 and a second season confirmed, DeMayo sees the animated series as a large part of his life "for the foreseeable future," along with two upcoming non-MCU feature projects. As for the series and how it will be received by a fanbase that's remained faithful to the series since it originally left our screens, DeMayo admitted that it's a concern but also that he's "not worried" because of the "amazing talent" that's working on the series.
DeMayo Only Wanted Fans Working on "X-Men '97": "My general rule was you had to be a fan. No questions," DeMayo explained. "I've been on [a] show, namely '[The] Witcher,' where some of the writers were not or actively disliked the books and games… even actively mocking the source material. It's a recipe for disaster and bad morale. Fandom as a litmus test checks egos and makes all the long nights worth it." As DeMayo sees it, "you have to respect the work before you're allowed to add to its legacy."
DeMayo Has "Mixed Feelings" on Rogue Controlling Her Powers: "I am aware that Rogue learned to control her powers, and I have mixed feelings on the shift. However, trust me when I say Rogue fans have plenty to be stoked about… in no small part due to [Supervising Producer] Charley Feldman being a massive advocate for her character."
Series alums Cal Dodd as Logan/Wolverine, Lenore Zann as Anna Marie/Rogue, George Buza as Hank McCoy/Beast, Adrian Hough as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler, Christopher Britton as Nathaniel Essex/Mister Sinister, Catherine Disher as Jean Grey, Chris Potter as Remy LeBeau/Gambit, Alison Sealy-Smith as Ororo Munroe/Storm, and Alyson Court as Jubilation Lee/Jubilee are also expected to return. In addition, Jennifer Hale, Anniwaa Buachie, Ray Chase, Matthew Waterson, J.P. Karliak, Holly Chou, Jeff Bennett, and A.J. LoCascio are set to join the cast.