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X-Men ‘97: Is Tolerance Extinction? Superhero Ethics • Episode 299

X-Men ‘97: Is Tolerance Extinction?

Is Tolerance Extinction? Was Magneto Right?
Matthew Fox and Riki Hayashi dive into the complex moral questions raised by the new Marvel animated series X-Men ‘97 on Disney+. The show, a continuation of the beloved 90s X-Men cartoon, explores themes of tolerance, assimilation, and the fight for mutant rights in a world that fears and oppresses them.

The central question debated by Matthew and Riki is whether Magneto, the mutant extremist who believes coexistence with humans is impossible, was actually right all along. Is Professor X’s dream of peaceful integration naive and ultimately doomed? Is violent resistance the only path forward for mutant liberation? The philosophies of the two leaders are compared to real-world civil rights movements and the tensions between assimilationist and separatist approaches.

Other key questions and topics covered include:

  • Does the mutant island nation of Genosha represent empowering self-determination or harmful segregation?
  • How much should a sequel series cater to fans of the original vs. making itself accessible to new viewers?  
  • The importance of authentic representation, as seen with casting Jubilee with an Asian-American voice actress
  • Parallels between anti-mutant prejudice and real-world discrimination against LGBTQ people, immigrants, and the disabled

From debating political theory to nerding out over continuity references, Matthew and Riki cover a lot of ground in this deep dive into a surprisingly sophisticated superhero story. Whether you’re a die-hard X-Men fan or just interested in the social commentary of the Marvel universe, this episode of Superhero Ethics will give you a lot to think about. Be sure to tune in and join the conversation!

Riki Hayashi and Matthew Fox explore the ethical questions from the stories geeks love—superheroes, sci-fi, anime, fantasy, video games, and so much more.