X-Men ’97 Season 1 ending explained: En Sabah Nur, Askani & more

Cameron Frew
Rogue in X-Men '97 and Apocalypse holding Gambit's card in the post-credits scene

Following the explosive, emotional events of Episode 10, here’s a breakdown of everything you should know about X-Men ’97 Season 1’s ending — including details on En Sabah Nur, Askani, and much more.

Things weren’t looking good for the X-Men after Episode 9: Magneto started a countdown to an extinction-level event after launching a massive electro-magnetic assault on Earth, Mister Sinister appeared to kill Jean Grey via Cable, and Wolverine’s adamantium frame was stripped from his bones.

Now, the last of the first season’s three-part finale has just dropped on Disney Plus. According to head writer Beau DeMayo, it was a “very difficult episode to write” — and it’s not hard to see why, with Magneto and Charles Xavier’s relationship coming to a head once more as the mutants fight to save all of mankind.

However, if you’re feeling a little lost about everything that goes down and everyone who shows up during the X-Men ’97 finale, you’re definitely not alone — we’ve got you covered.

X-Men ’97 Episode 10 ending explained

One of the final shots of X-Men 97 Episode 10

X-Men ’97 Episode 10 ends with Magneto coming to his senses and saving Earth from Asteroid M, but the team is split across time; some find themselves in the distant past, while others end up in the future — and Apocalypse arrives in Genosha in the present day.

The episode opens with Professor X hijacking Magneto’s mind to reverse his EMP attack. While successful, it damages his psyche, so Xavier spends most of the episode trying to help him find himself again.

In the meantime, the X-Men’s problems are far from over. Wolverine is out of action, so while the rest of the team are still in space, Storm, Cable, and Beast try to fight off Bastion and his sentinels as they start to wreak havoc across the world. Jean Grey comes to the rescue in her Phoenix form, neutralizing every sentinel on Earth and removing Mister Sinister’s harvested DNA, rendering him a puny old man.

It’s a brief win, because Bastion then rips off Cable’s arm, smacks him with it, and uses it to augment himself with stronger armor and wings before flying to the asteroid. He attempts to destroy its gravity core and bring the asteroid crashing down to Earth. A brutal fight against all of the X-Men ensues, before Beast and co. arrive and stomp him with a massive sentinel.

It still isn’t enough, with Bastion able to lift the sentinel’s boot — but Cyclops stops the fight, instead trying to appeal to his humanity. He stalls, allowing missiles (the UN’s Magneto Protocols) to hit the asteroid and damage the gravity core before soaring out to an uncertain fate (it seems like he was killed, but that may not be the case).

As the asteroid falls to Earth, the X-Men do everything in their power to stop it — but only Magneto is capable of saving the world, and Xavier helps him return to his body and stop mankind’s extinction.

It comes at a cost: Rogue, Magneto, Beast, Nightcrawler, and Xavier end up in Egypt in 3000 BC, where they meet En Sabah Nur; Cyclops and Jean travel to 3960 AD, where they meet Mother Askani; and Apocalypse comes to present-day Genosha, where he picks up Gambit’s card.

Who is En Sabah Nur?

En Sabah Nur, aka Apocalypse, in X-Men '97 Episode 10

En Sabah Nur is an ancient supervillain better known as Apocalypse, one of the X-Men’s most iconic villains. He’s the world’s first mutant, born in Egypt thousands of years ago.

If you’ve only watched the X-Men movies, or if you just remember Apocalypse from the original series, he’ll look a bit different in Episode 10. He’s not sporting his usual armor — but he is absolutely jacked, equipped with a spear and easily dispatching all of the enemies around him.

The animated series marked his first appearance outside the X-Men comics (voiced by John Colicos, now portrayed by Ross Marquand). We won’t go into too many details, but with the help of Mystique, he recruited mutants to become his Horsemen and tried to instigate a war between humanity and mutantkind.

His comic backstory is long and knotty, but these are some important things to know: “survival of the fittest” is his whole schtick, so he doesn’t have any patience for weaklings; he was last seen possessing Fabian Cortez from the astral plane; and the finale is likely setting up the Age of Apocalypse storyline.

Post-credits scene with Apocalypse explained

Apocalypse in X-Men '97

In the post-credits scene of X-Men ’97 Episode 10, Apocalypse arrives in Genosha and picks up Gambit’s card. “So much pain, my children… so much death,” he says with a smile.

This all but confirms something big for Season 2: Gambit is going to come back… but he’ll return as Death, one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen. In the comics, it begins as a plan to deceive Apocalypse and go undercover, but the transformation takes a heavy toll on his body and spirit… and that’s all we’re going to say about that.

On Reddit, one fan wrote: “Stick around for that after credits scene for some premium ‘Gambit is returning as the Horseman of Death’ hype.”

“It’s basically confirmed at this point. They may as well had someone narrate Gambit will be back,” another commented. “GAMBIT!!!!! DEATH!!!” a third wrote.

Who is Mother Askani?

Mother Askani in X-Men 97

Mother Askani is actually Rachel Summers, Cyclops and Jean’s daughter… in an alternate timeline. In the comics, she appears as part of the Days of Future Past storyline.

Again, it’s all a bit complicated in the comics, so here are the main beats: Rachel sacrificed herself to save Captain Britain, which resulted in two versions of her being sent across time: one ended up at the end of time, while the other became stranded in the 37th century after Apocalypse conquered the world — this is the one that appears in X-Men ’97.

After it’s revealed she’s the “Lost Child of the Twelve” (a descendant of the mutants who fought Apocalypse), she gathered followers and established Clan Askani, meaning “family of outsiders.”

So, how does this link to X-Men ’97? Earlier in the series, we saw Bishop taking Nathan Summers, Cyclops and Jean’s son (he’s actually Madelyne Prior’s child, but let’s not worry about that right now) who goes on to become Cable, into the future. This is where Bishop took him, so we can expect more timey-wimey stuff in the second season.

What could happen in X-Men ’97 Season 2?

Onslaught from Marvel comics

While it’s likely we’ll see the X-Men face off against Apocalypse, Death, and any other Horsemen he recruits, some fans believe Season 2 will set up Onslaught.

We’ve broken down why Onslaught is such a terrifying villain, but here’s some quick details: he is a psionic entity born from the fusion of Professor X and Magneto’s consciousnesses. In Episode 10, Xavier was forced to infiltrate Magneto’s mind to help him find himself — and in the comics, a similar situation allows Magneto’s darker traits to slip into Xavier’s head, eventually creating a separate, sentient persona.

“Onslaught would be a great crossover for the animated shows. It brings in the FF, and Avengers,” one user on Reddit wrote, while another commented: “Honestly all the Onslaught stuff being a red herring was for the best. There are way better directions to go in than that.”

X-Men ’97 is streaming on Disney Plus now, but what’s going on with Spider-Man ’98? You can also check out our ranking of the best superhero TV shows, as well as the best superhero movies ever made.

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About The Author

Cameron is Deputy TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He's an action movie aficionado, '80s obsessive, and Oscars enthusiast. He loves Invincible, but he's also a fan of The Boys, the MCU, The Chosen, and much more. You can contact him at cameron.frew@dexerto.com.