X-Men ’97 might have given Spider-Man the happy ending we wanted

Christopher Baggett
X-Men '97 and Spider-Man

When X-Men ’97 launched, fans already had one question: will we see Spider-Man or other characters from Marvel’s shared animated universe? Not only did fans get their answer, but they may have learned the final fate of Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson, too.

X-Men ’97 episode 7 had the wall-crawler himself make a brief, unvoiced cameo. And while it was eventually confirmed to be the Spider-Man: The Animated Series take on the character, fans were dying to see more Spider-Man.

They got their wish in the X-Men ’97 Season 1 finale, with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo of Peter Parker and Mary Jane.

The cameo does raise more questions about the timeline of X-Men ’97, though, and could be a hint that fans are finally getting their happy ending.

X-Men ’97 finale has a massive Spider-Man twist

Spider-Man: The Animated Series had a fairly traumatic event in its third season finale, Turning Point.

In a take on the classic The Night Gwen Stacy Died, the episode sees Mary Jane seemingly fall to her death from the top of the George Washington Bridge. In reality, she falls through a portal generated by a time-dilation device.

Mary Jane seemingly returns during season four, but the two-parter The Return of Hydro-Man revealed that this was actually a hydro-clone. It wouldn’t be until the end of season five that Spider-Man, with help from Madame Web, would learn that Mary Jane was stranded in time.

But fans never go to see how that story was resolved. Spider-Man: The Animated Series was canceled on a massive cliffhanger, the final shot being Spidey and Madame Web stepping through a portal.

Series writer John Semper Jr. revealed years later that the plan was for season six to open with Spider-Man, having been separated from Madame Web, stranded in the past in London.

Here he would find Mary Jane, stricken with amnesia, living in Whitechapel. Spidey also learns Jack the Ripper is stalking the streets and eventually discovers that Jack is actually Carnage.

The story, known as Peter Finds Mary Jane, has become infamous among fans. While the original cast recorded a short teaser trailer, the finale has never been officially produced and shouldn’t technically be considered canon.

How X-Men ’97 may reveal Spider-Man saved Mary Jane

It’s possible the Peter Parker and Mary Jane we see in the X-Men ’97 cameo are from after the events of Peter Finds Mary Jane, meaning this is a sly confirmation that Spidey was able to save her.

While not confirmed how Spider-Man: The Animated Series and X-Men/X-Men ’97 line up their timelines, there are some educated guesses we can make.

Peter Parker and Mary Jane's cameo in X-Men '97X-Men ’97 may have finally given fans a happy ending for Spider-Man and Mary Jane.

For starters, Wolverine and Storm are part of Spider-Man’s team in Secret Wars, so presumably, those timelines do crossover at the same time.

If we go off air dates, then we know that Spider-Man, which aired its finale on January 31, 1998, would have ventured into the portal roughly as X-Men: The Animated Series, given its finale was on September 20, 1997.

There’s some obvious wiggle room. For starters, we don’t know how much time is meant to elapse throughout the seasons, considering stories often take place within minutes of each other despite being spread across several episodes.

But if we account for the time jump X-Men ’97 utilizes (it’s set roughly one year after the original run’s finale), then there is definitely a window of time for Spider-Man to have ventured into the past, saved Mary Jane, and returned to the present.

It’s possible these are just cameos for the sake of cameos, but it’s hard to deny that Spider-Man’s ending is infamous among fans.

Given the love and attention that went into preserving X-Men’s timeline in the leap to X-Men ’97, it seems unlikely that this cameo wouldn’t have been similarly thought out.

For now, though, fans will simply have to wait and hope for a Spider-Man ’98 series to reveal Mary Jane’s ultimate fate.

X-Men ’97 Season 1 and Spider-Man: The Animated Series are available to watch now on Disney+. While you’re waiting for X-Men ’97 Season 2, be sure to read about the comic books that inspired X-Men ’97 Season 1 and the 10 best X-Men comics.

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About The Author

Christopher Baggett started writing about comics on the Internet when he was 14 years old. Since then, he's written professionally for a host of sites, including ComicsBeat, Comic Book Resources, and The HomeWorld. He's most knowledgable about the legacy heroes of the '80s and '90s that he grew up with and believes Wally West is the best Flash - and he'll fight anyone over it. For tips, news, press and more, contact Christopher at christopher.baggett@dexerto.com