I hope you like the theme song for X-Men: The Animated Series because you will likely be hearing much more of it in the near future.
It is being reported that Disney and Marvel Studios likely paid a heavy price to be able to use the song in any of their upcoming movies or streaming shows. One of those shows being, X-Men ’97, a revival of the original X-Men animated series that aired in the 90s.
X-Men ’97 consultant Eric Lewald explains that the rights for the song have been all over the place since the show went off the air in ’97:
“[The X-Men: The Animated Series theme song] wasn’t a done deal necessarily when they were producing the new show. The rights were all over the place,” Lewald said during his appearance at Pennsylvania’s Steel City convention. “I think a secondary person had the rights to the music, so it was a negotiation for them. Obviously, you can’t do the new show without that song.” He also added, “But the guy selling it knew the same thing, so I’m sure it was a heavy price.”
It is unclear who exactly owned the rights to the X-Men theme up until this point. Ron Wasserman is the original composer of the song; however, Haim Saban and Saban entertainment were the ones who produced the show at the time, so it’s likely ownership could have been under them.
Wasserman spoke of the incredibly tight reins Saban had on the rights to people’s work during an interview with Inverse in 2016:
“[At] Saban, everybody was ‘work for hires’ where they’re taking a majority of your rights.” The Power Rangers composer added Saban Entertainment “kept tight reins, like the old studio days, people signed under exclusive contracts and kept on the lot.”
Use of the X-Men Theme in The MCU So Far
Now that Marvel Studios has the rights to the iconic track, they will be able to use it in future projects featuring the mutants, such as X-Men ‘97. However, some projects set in the MCU have used it already.
Proffessor X, played by Patrick Stewart, appears in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as one of the members of The Illuminiati. During his introduction the X-Men: The Animated Series theme plays in the background.
Another instance of the X-Men theme being used is in the Disney+ series, Ms. Marvel. At the end of the first season, the titular character, played by Iman Vellani, learns that her powers come from a mutation in her genes as the theme plays, teasing her involvement in future projects featuring the music.
Interestingly, in the comics, Ms. Marvel is not typically a mutant but an Inhuman. Marvel has seemed to want to forget about the Inhumans after the colossal failure that was Inhumans back in 2017. Perhaps the mutants will be what the Inhumans tried to be in the MCU.
X-Men ’97s will premiere on Disney+ in 2023 and stars Cal Dodd as James Howlett/Wolverine, Lenore Zann as Anna-Marie Raven/Rogue, George Buza as Dr. Henry “Hank” McCoy/Beast, Catherine Disher as Jean Grey, Chris Potter as Remy LeBeau/Gambit, Alison Sealy-Smith as Ororo Munroe/Storm, Adrian Hough as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler, and Christopher Britton as Nathaniel Essex/Mister Sinister.
What are your thoughts on Marvel Studios getting the rights back to the theme of X-Men: The Animated Series? How much do you think they spent on the iconic song? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow The Illuminerdi on social media to be notified of more Marvel news and updates like this in the future!