The Big Picture

  • X-Men ’97
    executive producer Brad Winderbaum hopes the relationship aspect of the series makes its way into the MCU.
  • Winderbaum believes fans need something to root for, be it romance or friendships.
  • He finds the development of relationships is suppored by the longer format of TV.

The revival of X-Men ’97 has not only reignited the love for the classic 90s animated series but also introduced storytelling dynamics that could influence the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In a recent interview with Collider’s Maggie Lovitt, Marvel executive producer Brad Winderbaum discussed how the romantic and relationship elements in X-Men ’97 are resonating with fans and might impact future Marvel projects. Lovitt began the conversation by highlighting a notable gap in the MCU: the lack of substantial romantic subplots compared to the rich, romantic tension found in Marvel comics.

She pointed out that Marvel films and series often lack the depth of romantic storytelling that the comics are known for. Lovitt mentioned how X-Men ’97 has brought some of these dynamics to the screen, noting that fans are responding positively to these elements. She was curious if this success might encourage Marvel to incorporate more romantic storylines in their future series and movies. Winderbaum acknowledged the importance of these elements and expressed his hopes for their influence across the entire Marvel studio.

“I think it will influence, and I hope it influences the entire studio. It’s something I’ve learned as a television producer versus a film producer, is how much time you have to build those relationships in a longer form and deepen them and let them grow and tease them. And you can show things to the audience first that the characters don’t see yet. So give people things to root for, from a romance standpoint, from a friendship standpoint, from an enemy standpoint.”

The Impact of Long-Form Storytelling

Lovitt’s inquiry also touched on the difference between storytelling in television versus film. She mentioned that the extended format of TV shows allows for a more profound exploration of character relationships over time. This format can significantly enhance the development of romantic and interpersonal dynamics, something that the fast-paced nature of feature films often struggles to achieve.

Winderbaum elaborated on this, highlighting the advantages of a television format in developing deeper relationships. “And especially on the television side, as we make season twos and season threes of things, that conversation between characters just continues and deepens.” That approach contrasts sharply with the feature film format, where the need to drive the plot forward in a limited time frame often restricts the depth of relational development. Winderbaum illustrated this with an example from the MCU:

“I think on the feature side, especially these big event movies that I’ve certainly produced and that we always produce at the studio, you can really create amazingly deep, beautiful relationships, but you have room for one or two, because the event itself just puts the plot on fast-forward. And it’s more of a statement. In the case of


, for example, it’s like a father and his daughter is at the heart of that, both from Scott and his daughter and Hank and his daughter too. And the parallel there is at the heart of that story. You get one statement to make about that.”

Transitioning from film to television has provided Winderbaum with valuable insights into the nuances of long-form storytelling. He explained how the collaborative nature of television, with more writers and creators involved, allows for richer character development.

“Whereas your show where it’s a longer conversation over time and there’s more writers, there’s more creators, there’s more people involved across the process. That’s probably the biggest learning I’ve had transitioning from one medium to another.”

What Has Brad Winderbaum Produced?

Winderbaum has his fair share of experience producing Marvel movies and series. In addition to X-Men ’97 and Marvel’s One-Shots, his projects include:



Iron Man 3




Thor: Ragnarok


Black Widow




Moon Knight


Thor: Love and Thunder


Werewolf By Night


She-Hulk: Attorney at Law


Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special


Secret Invasion






What If?


Daredevil: Born Again


As X-Men ’97 continues to develop its characters and relationships, it sets a precedent for future Marvel series and films. The success and fan resonance with these dynamics could pave the way for more intricate and emotionally engaging storylines across the MCU. The ability to explore relationships in greater depth is a promising development for Marvel’s storytelling. It not only enhances the viewing experience but also brings the MCU closer to the rich, layered narratives found in the comics.

X-Men ’97 is streaming now on Disney+.

Poster for X-Men '97

X-Men ’97

A band of mutants use their uncanny gifts to protect a world that hates and fears them; they’re challenged like never before, forced to face a dangerous and unexpected new future.

Release Date
March 20, 2024

Jennifer Hale , Cal Dodd , Chris Potter , Catherine Disher , Adrian Hough , Ray Chase , Lenore Zann


Watch on Disney+

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