Summary

  • X-Men ’97 continues stories found in X-Men: The Animated Series, including that of the persecution mutants face in the show and the comics alike.
  • Despite X-Men ’97 not being part of the official MCU timeline, it can continue a narrative that seems less likely to be continued in the MCU itself.
  • The Friends of Humanity storyline can reflect the kind of narrative that Secret Invasion’s ending was leading towards for aliens, only featuring mutant characters instead.



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A narrative set up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is unlikely to be revisited by the franchise has emerged as a central theme in X-Men ’97. The rival of the classic 1990s X-Men: The Animated Series, X-Men ’97 has already proven itself a triumph, while teasing several possible narratives. One of these bears a striking resemblance to a narrative set up in Secret Invasion, which runs the risk of going unresolved.


X-Men ’97 is not considered a part of the official MCU timeline, despite being produced by Marvel Studios. Nevertheless, the animated series has established itself as a vital part of the MCU’s future, with X-Men ’97 season 2 already confirmed and a perfect Rotten Tomatoes score for its debut episodes. As such, X-Men ’97 could be the ideal place for Marvel to resolve a plot teased in Secret Invasion, using one of the few villains from X-Men: The Animated Series to have appeared in the first two X-Men ’97 episodes – the Friends of Humanity.

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Who Are The Friends Of Humanity? X-Men: TAS History Explained


In X-Men: The Animated Series, the Friends of Humanity serve as a prominent antagonist group that vehemently opposes mutants, advocating for their persecution and eradication. Founded by the charismatic Graydon Creed, the organization presents itself as a voice for the so-called “normal” humans, rallying against what they perceive as a threat to humanity’s survival – mutants. The group were initially followers of Senator Robert Kelly and his anti-mutant agenda. However, after the X-Men saved Kelly’s life, he changed his stance on mutants, and his most ardent supporters formed the anti-mutant hate group.

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The Friends of Humanity operate with a blend of political influence, media manipulation, and outright violence, seeking to sow fear and hatred towards mutants in society. They exploit incidents involving mutants to stoke public outrage and garner support for their cause. This includes staging attacks and framing mutants for crimes they did not commit throughout X-Men: The Animated Series, effectively painting all mutants as dangerous. Led by Graydon Creed’s fervent anti-mutant rhetoric, the Friends of Humanity attract disenfranchised individuals who fear the perceived superiority of mutants and resent the attention they receive.

The Friends of Humanity’s ideology spreads fear and prejudice, leading to discrimination and violence against innocent mutants – key themes in X-Men: The Animated Series. Throughout the series, the X-Men find themselves constantly clashing with the Friends of Humanity as they work to protect both mutants and humans. The Friends of Humanity’s portrayal in X-Men: The Animated Series serves as a commentary on real-world issues of prejudice, discrimination, and fearmongering. Their presence highlights the dangers of intolerance and the importance of standing up against bigotry and injustice, making them compelling adversaries within the context of the show’s narrative.


The MCU Is Setting Up A Copycat FOH Storyline

Gravik killing Beto in Secret Invasion

In the aftermath of the MCU’s Secret Invasion, wherein the Skrulls infiltrated Earth disguised as humans, a profound shift in societal attitudes towards extraterrestrial beings is established. The revelation of the Skrull invasion sends shockwaves throughout humanity, leaving many feeling vulnerable and betrayed. In response, a fervent anti-alien movement begins to gain traction, mirroring the infamous Friends of Humanity from the X-Men universe and X-Men ’97.

This anti-alien sentiment set up in Secret Invasion is fueled by paranoia, fear, and a desire for retribution against those perceived as threats to human society. Similar to the X-Men’s Friends of Humanity, this movement scapegoats aliens as the source of all of humanity’s problems, painting them as deceitful invaders seeking to undermine Earth’s way of life. Witch-hunt-like tactics are employed, with individuals suspected of being aliens facing discrimination, violence, and persecution.


The relative failure of the Secret Invasion, however, means that this specific narrative thread could go unresolved, dropped in favor of more popular stories. However, this thematic element could find a new home in X-Men ’97, where it could be fully explored and developed within the context of the mutant metaphor. Given the parallels between mutants and aliens as marginalized groups facing discrimination and prejudice, X-Men ’97 provides an ideal platform to explore comparable consequences of the Secret Invasion aftermath. Indeed, Marvel’s X-Men has always dealt with themes of discrimination, bigotry, and paranoia.

X-Men: TAS Episodes Featuring The Friends Of Humanity

Wolverine, Beast and Morph in fighting positions in X-Men The Animated Series


The Friends of Humanity were officially introduced in X-Men: The Animated Series season 1, episode 2 “Till Death Do Us Part: Part 1.” This episode establishes the group’s central ideology and their initial turn away from Senator Robert Kelly. The group remained central antagonists throughout the second season, posing a persistent threat and appearing at various anti-mutant protests.

Key X-Men: The Animated Series Episodes Featuring The Friends Of Humanity

Season 2, Episode 1 “Till Death Do Us Part, Part One”

Season 2, Episode 2 “Till Death Do Us Part, Part Two”

Season 2, Episode 7 “Time Fugitives, Part One”

Season 2, Episode 8 “Time Fugitives, Part Two”

Season 2, Episode 10 “Beauty & the Beast”

Season 4, Episode 7 “Bloodlines”

Some
X-Men: The Animated Series
episodes were aired out of their intended order. This list reflects the order dictated by the original air date and the official DVD collection. Other sources use the originally scripted episode order.


The Friends of Humanity were used to adapt the classic “Legacy Virus” storyline from X-Men comics. This was told across two episodes in X-Men: TAS season 2, episodes 7-8 “Time Fugitives,” in which the FoH manufacture the deadly mutant virus.

In X-Men: TAS season 2, episode 10 “Beauty and the Beast,” it was revealed that Creed’s mutant hatred stemmed from the fact his father is Sabretooth. This leads the group to expel Creed, and seemingly disappear for a while until they subsequently reemerge in season 4, episode 7 “Bloodlines,” during which Creed attempts to earn back leadership, but fails and is presumed to have been killed by Sabretooth .

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Friends Of Humanity Comic History Explained

friends of humanity protesting mutants in Marvel x-men comics

In the Marvel Comics universe, the Friends of Humanity have similar origins, though they were fairly truncated for X-Men: The Animated Series. The Friends of Humanity are a militant anti-mutant organization driven by fear and hatred towards mutants. Unlike X-Men: TAS, the original FoH were not former followers of Senator Robert Kelly (who predates them by several years), but rather advocates for bringing back Kelly’s infamous Mutant Registration Act.

In Marvel Comics, the Friends of Humanity espouse extremist ideologies, advocating for the eradication or segregation of mutants from society. At its core, they are a paramilitary group, utilizing aggressive tactics to further their agenda. They often resort to violence, targeting mutants and those who sympathize with them. Their actions range from hate speech and propaganda to outright terrorism, with attacks on mutant neighborhoods, individuals, and even mutant-friendly businesses, similar to their appearances in X-Men: The Animated Series and X-Men ’97.


Meanwhile, Grayton Creed’s growing political influence led him to run for President of the United States, before ultimately being assassinated by Mystique. Nevertheless, Friends of Humanity persisted as a consistent threat throughout X-Men comics. The group eventually expanded their hateful rhetoric to include alien races and other superpowered vigilantes, leading to run-ins with several other Marvel heroes, such as Spider-Man, Captain America, and Iron Man. With Creed seemingly dead following the events of the X-Men: TAS episode, “Bloodlines,” X-Men ’97 could adapt elements from these as it continues depicting the Friends of Humanity.

X-Men 97 Disney Plus TV Series Poster

X-Men ’97

Cast
Jennifer Hale , Chris Potter , Alison Sealy-Smith , Lenore Zann , Cal Dodd , Catherine Disher , Adrian Hough , Ray Chase , Chris Britton , George Buza

Release Date
March 20, 2024

Directors
Jake Castorena

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