X-Men ’97 creator Beau DeMayo has opened up about the heartbreaking inspiration behind the latest episode. 

Spoilers ahead.

On 10 April, fans were treated to the action-packed fifth episode of the critically acclaimed Disney+ series.

Titled “Remember It,” the recent entry saw our favourite mutant superhero team split off into two groups.

On the X-Mansion front, Beast, Scott, Jean, Jubilee, and Wolverine took part in a press event in light of the mutant nation of Genosha joining the United Nations.

However, the junket was far from smooth, as Scott and Jean’s relationship issues trickled to the forefront.

As for Magneto, Rogue, and Gambit, the trio travelled to Genosha after the Master of Magnetism was invited to Genosha’s welcome gala.

Despite a heartwarming reunion with Kurt Wagner, aka Nightcrawler, their trip was laced with romantic and socio-political tension, similar to their friends at the X-Mansion.

However, the biggest moment of the episode came in the form of the devastating Sentinel attack on Genosha, which resulted in the tragic deaths of Magneto, Gambit, Madelyne and more.

Following its release, fans took to social media to express their disbelief over the brutal and heartbreaking scene.

One viewer on X, formerly known as Twitter, wrote: “That was a season finale type episode and we’re only on episode 5. Ya’ll I am shaking in my boots rn.”

Another fan echoed similar sentiments, writing: “OH MY GOD MY HEART WHAT AN INCREDIBLY TRAGIC FINALE TO THIS EPISODE, I AM TORN!!”

In response to the fans, DeMayo—who was fired from the series in March—broke his silence on X-Men ’97 and the real-life events that inspired the episode.

“Episode 5 was the centrepiece of my pitch to Marvel in November 2020. The idea being to have the X-Men mirror the journey that many of us who grew up on the original show have experienced since being kids in the 90s,” he explained. 

“The world was a seemingly safer place for us… For the most part, to our young minds, the world was a simple place of right and wrong, where questions about identity and social justice had relatively clear-cut answers. Then 9/11 happened, and the world turned against itself.”

DeMayo went on to say that 9/11 was also a pivotal time for him because it was when he came out to his family and encountered the harsh reality of adulthood.

“I came out of the closet to my family and realised not everybody would accept me. It was when I entered college and noticed that certain groups avoided me… Reality – as Jubliee found out in episode 4 – got very real and very scary,” he added.

Towards the end of his statement, DeMayo revealed that he thought a lot about the tragic 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting, which left 49 people dead, during the creative process of “Remember It.” 

“But if events like 9/11, Tulsa, Charlottesville, or Pulse Nightclub teach us anything, it’s that too many stories are often cut far too short. I partied at Pulse. It was my club,” he said. 

“It was, like Genosha, a safe space for me and everyone like me to dance and laugh and be free. I thought about this a lot when crafting this season and this episode, and how the gay community in Orlando rose to heal from that event.

“Like many of us who grew up on the OG cartoon, the X-Men have now been hit hard by the realities of an adult and unsafe world. Life’s happened to them. And they, like we did, will have to decide which parts of themselves they will cling to and which parts they’ll let go of in order to do what they’ve been telling humanity to do: face an uncertain future they never saw coming.” 

New episodes of X-Men ’97 come out every Wednesday on Disney+.