|This article is written from the Real World perspective|
|Series||X-Men (Initial Proposal)|
|Episode Number||Test Pilot|
The X-Men must stop Magneto and the Brotherhood of Mutant Terrorists before they can enact their terrible plan to take over the world. At the same time, a frightened young mutant named Kitty Pryde arrives to join the team.
A convoy is traveling through the desert carrying the captured Magneto in a special holding cell. Despite his best efforts he cannot escape. Suddenly the truck he is held in swerves knocking Colonel Chaffy and a scientist off their feet.
Apparently the convoy is sinking into the ground. The White Queen is using her telepathy to make the soldiers think they are sinking in quick sand and they all abandon their vehicles. She then makes a psychic spear and disrupts the power in the truck, releasing Magneto. Magneto then breaks apart Chaffy's gun and throws him in a canal.
At the Xavier Mansion a taxi drops off Kitty Pryde. She had received a letter from someone who knows she has a mutant power, the ability to walk through solid matter or as she calls it phasing. She enters the mansion and finds a "ghost" of a man in a wheelchair. He explains that his mind is projecting an image for her to follow.
He introduces himself as Professor Charles Xavier, or just Professor X. The image leads her to the real Xavier where he tells her about the X-Men. She asks him how he can possible know about here powers when she never told anyone else. He explains that Cerebro is a powerful computer that has a special chip that can find any mutant.
Xavier then shows her the Danger Room where his X-Men are training using a combination of holograms and robotics. He shows her Scott Summers also called Cyclops, who can shoot concentrated beams of pure energy from his eyes. Then there is Piotr Rasputin also called Colossus, who is impervious to harm. Next is Alison Blaire also called Dazzler, who can transform sound into powerful bolts of light. Kitty then spots Nightcrawler, who has mastered the art of line of sight teleportation. The next to show up is Wolverine, who has razor sharp adamantium claws. Now it is Storm's turn, who can control the weather. He then states that his power is to see into people's minds, but he does not do this recklessly.
Xavier then invites his X-Men up to the control room to meet Kitty. Nightcrawler is the first to appear since he teleports in. His appearance frightens her and she phases through the control computer shorting it out. She meets the other X-Men, however Wolverine doesn't feel that a kid is ready to join. Just then a red alarm goes off, it's a mutant threat. The team leaves and Kitty follows.
The X-Men get into two jets and leave. Meanwhile, they are being watched by Magneto and Juggernaut. Together the two destroy the Mansion's defenses. Kitty and Xavier watch on monitors while he explains that Magneto is the master of magnetism while Juggernaut Xavier's step-brother. Too worried to notice, Kitty phases through Cerebro's defensive circuits allowing the two evil mutants to enter.
Xavier scans Magneto's mind and learns that he came for Cerebro's Mutant Power Circuit. Xavier hands the circuit to Kitty just as the two attackers enter. Using her powers she runs off with Magneto in hot pursuit while Juggernaut confronts his step-brother. Magneto uses electrical cables to shock Kitty into dropping the circuit and phasing through the floor. He picks up the circuit and returns to Juggernaut.
The X-Men fly in the Blackbird to the Deep Space Observatory where Blob and Pyro are holding the scientists hostage. Pyro is acquiring the tracking coordinates for the Scorpio Comet. The X-Men arrive and Colossus attempts to attack Blob without success. Pyro attacks the heroes but Storm counters with wind. When the fires die down there are no sign of either villain. Police show up outside so the heroes leave before they are blamed for the attack.
The X-Men arrive back at the mansion and pull Xavier out from under a pile of rubble. Kitty wakes up to find Nightcrawler sitting right beside her. She freaks out but is comforted by Dazzler. Kitty gets into an argument with Wolverine before wondering where Xavier is. Xavier shows that he's alright.
Xavier then uses his powers to find discover what Magneto is doing. On Asteroid M Magneto has successfully installed the Mutant Power Circuit and is diverting the Scorpio Comet towards Earth. It will kill most of the human race so that mutants can rule. The power of the energy involved knock Xavier to the ground.
Xavier tells his X-Men of Magneto's plan and that they must stop it. Kitty wants to come but both Wolverine and Xavier agree that she should stay as she has not been trained yet. Kitty refuses to be left behind and follows.
The Blackbird makes its way to Asteroid M while listening to a news broadcast on the comet. The X-Men get into Space Suits and find an airlock. After they're gone Xavier asks Kitty to come out, knowing she's been there the entire time. Kitty insists that she go along, as it's her planet to.
Cyclops blasts his way through the airlock and tells Storm to help keep the atmosphere in while Wolverine tracks down Magneto. Magneto sees them on a monitor and sends the Brotherhood after them, after swatting away the dragon.
The X-Men encounter Pyro so Dazzler decides to take him on. The X-Men go on without her until Toad surprises and attacks Wolverine. The other X-Men continue on only to run into the Juggernaut. Colossus takes him on while Cyclops and Nightcrawler continue on. They encounter the White Queen who does battle with Cyclops. Nightcrawler goes on by himself and teleports past the Blob.
He finds Magneto who only taunts him. He tries to destroy Nightcrawler but Kitty phases up through the floor to stop him. Magneto is further distracted when the dragon bites his ankle. Magneto accidentally breaks the circuit, which means that now nothing can change the comet's course. However, Xavier tells Nightcrawler to complete the circuit while Kitty pushes Magneto back onto the platform. The resulting energies pushes away the Scorpio Comet, but sending it towards Asteroid M.
However, Nightcrawler must continue completing the circuit or else the comet heads back towards Earth. Magneto leaves with the Brotherhood back to Earth. Nightcrawler tells Kitty to leave, as does Xavier since he has a plan. She grabs the dragon and heads back towards the Blackbird. Xavier keeps the Blackbird on a viewscreen that Nightcrawler can see. Xavier tells him that he must teleport aboard at the very last second. Unfortunately Nightcrawler waits too long and the comet hits the asteroid.
Luckily Nightcrawler does teleport away but into the vacuum of space. But he is entering the atmosphere and will burn up. The X-Men hurry to get the grappling beam on him. Nightcrawler disappears just before the beams can latch onto him. They hear a banging noise from the back and go to investigate to find Nightcrawler alive and well.
Kitty thanks Nightcrawler for his heroism. Storm asks Wolverine if he was wrong. He says that Kitty is still no X-Man, at least not yet.
"Welcome. This is Stan Lee of Marvel Comics warning you to look around you. Your classmates, your friends. You never know which one of them may be a mutant, a person born with strange and wondrous powers. Now some mutants, like the X-Men, use their special gifts for good. But there are the terrorists mutants who plan to destroy the human race."
- -Stan Lee in his opening narration
"He's a mutant. A stinkin' mutant. He doesn't deserve to live on a planet with decent normal human beings."
- -Chaffy about Magneto
"Magneto. You're deliverance is...at hand!"
- -White Queen
"With that murdering mutant on the loose, son, none of us are going to be alright."
"Driver, would you wait here for me?"
"Forget it kid. This place gives me the creeps."
"Gives me the creeps too."
- -Kitty Pryde and Taxi Driver
"Then I really am a mutant. I'm a freak."
"No no, my dear. We mutants are no freaks."
- -Kitty Pryde and Professor X
"She's not joinin' the X-Men, is she? She's just a kid."
"It is the X-Men's sworn duty to protect mankind by battling Magneto and his evil terrorist mutants. If Magneto should win, the human race shall become slaves of the evil mutants."
- -Professor X
"What's wrong, Charley? No warm welcome for your dear stepbrother?"
"You've always been welcome in my home, Cain. It's your choice of friends I question."
- -Juggernaut and Professor X
"My child, you are being foolish. Normal humans hate you for being what you are. Why not join me?"
"Meanwhile, unaware of Magneto's attack on the headquarters, the X-Men race to the deep space observatory for a showdown with Magneto's deadly allies: the Blob and Pyro."
- -Stan Lee as narrator
"Whatta you want?"
"Nothing. Just take over Earth."
- -Scientist and Blob
"No power on Earth can move the Blob."
"I did it, master! I did good, didn't I?"
"Yes, Toad. Now go make yourself useful. Go play in an airlock!"
- -Toad and Magneto
"Kitty, it's okay. You're safe now."
"Then, it's all been real."
- -Dazzler and Kitty Pryde
"Grr. Of course it's all been real. Dang women. The X-Men don't have room for whiny brats."
"Just who are you calling whiny!?"
- -Wolverine and Kitty Pryde
"I've done it. I've captured the Scorpio Comet. In less than a day most of the human race will be wiped out. The mutants will rule the Earth."
"This is it, true believers! Unless the X-Men can stop Magneto, mankind is doomed!"
- -Stan Lee as narrator
"If Scorpio strikes the Earth, it'll send up a cloud of dust and debris, which will block out the sun for years."
"And our planet will be plunged into the ice age."
- -Cyclops and Storm
"Hold it. The kid stays here. She'll just get in the way."
"I will not. And stop calling me a kid. I am fourteen years old."
- -Wolverine and Kitty Pryde
"…Is reported to be the comet Scorpio. Until a few short hours ago it was only a harmless scientific curiosity. If Scorpio comes any closer it will mean disaster."
"Don't you just love a good barby?"
"Leave this one to the Dazzler!"
- -Pyro and Dazzler
"Don't worry about us, dingo."
"So. You've managed to get past our little welcoming committee. But you go no further."
"Who will stop us?"
"Me. The Juggernaut."
- -Juggernaut and Colossus
"This is where you stop. Nothing moves the Blob."
"But you still lose. Nightcrawler's own body must continue to complete that circuit or the comet will change course back to Earth. Although you've won, Nightcrawler must die!"
"Hurry. It's getting plenty warm in this suit."
"No! No! He can't be dead! He just can't be! No! I was so mean to him. Now I can never make it up to him."
- -Kitty Pryde
"Well, Wolverine. You were against Kitty being a member of the team. What do you think now?"
"Grr. So the kid got lucky. That don't make her an X-Man. Not yet."
- -Storm and Wolverine
"Yes, the X-Men have won, but only for now. Magneto is still out there, waiting, planning, plotting the destruction of the human race. But whatever the challenge, whatever the peril, the X-Men will be there!"
- -Stan Lee in his final narration
- While the traditionally Canadian Wolverine is played as Australian, played by English-born Neil Ross, Australian actor Hugh Jackman played him to great critical acclaim in the X-Men film series. Currently, the only Canada-born actor to play him is David Kaye in Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects.
- Cyclops' space helmet contains the same see-through material as his visor, as he is able to shoot his eye beams without damaging it.
- Lockheed was unnamed.
- This is listed within the Marvel Multiverse as Earth-652975.
- After the X-Men find Professor X under the rubble, Professor X sits up and asks where Kitty Pryde is. As he does so he moves his leg up. Unless in this continuity he is not fully paralyzed as he is in every other instance.
- Magneto's plan makes little sense. Even if the comet didn't completely destroy the planet or leave it uninhabitable, it would destroy countless mutants along with humans as well as valuable infrastructure.
- Wolverine traps Toad, he even says "Let me out," yet Wolverine does not follow the others. What is he waiting for?
- Magneto flies the Brotherhood back to Earth without any breathing apparatus.
- Initial pilot for what became X-Men.
- While produced by Marvel Productions, it is unknown if it was meant to be part of the Marvel Productions Universe that included Spider-Man, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and The Incredible Hulk.
- The logo used during the opening sequence is the same that would be used on X-Men, only metallic colored.
- First appearance of Emma Frost outside the comics.
- Only instance ever, comics or otherwise, that Emma Frost has been with the Brotherhood.
- First appearance of Dazzler outside the comics.
- First appearance of Pyro outside the comics.
- First appearance of Lockheed outside the comics.
- Only time in animation that Dazzler has been a member of the X-Men.
- Every X-Men series, starting here, has completely destroyed the mansion. X-Men in "Slave Island" by Juggernaut, X-Men: Evolution in "Dark Horizon, Part Two" by Mystique, and Wolverine and the X-Men in "Hindsight, Part One" by Phoenix Force.
Neil Ross previously voiced Wolverine on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends with the same Australian accent. He would go on to do several voices on Fantastic Four and Iron Man, and was most famous as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin on Spider-Man.
Job People Story Editors Larry Parr
Voice Director Stuart M. Rosen Direction Supervisor Ray Lee Animation Directors Neal Warner
Storyboard Directors Rick Hoberg
Color Key Supervisor Mary Ann Steward Models Russ Heath
Backgrounds Layout E.R. Cruz Background Supervisor Dennis Venizelos Music Robert J. Walsh Post Production Supervisor Sarah Swiskow Post Production Services Vitello and Associates Film Editor Al Breitenbach Assistant Film Editor Marc A. Van Der Nagel Executive in Charge of Production Jim Graziano Program Administrator Jean MacCurdy Producers Rick Hoberg
Supervising Producer Stan Lee Executive Producer Margaret Loesch Stimpson
"Pryde of the X-Men" was intended to be the test pilot for a possible series based on the X-Men. It was produced as a singular episode with the hopes of enticing a network into picking up the series. It is unknown whether the proposed series would have followed this episode or begun anew. However, the episode was unsuccessful so "Night Of The Sentinels, Part One" and "Part Two" leading to X-Men were subsequently made. Several elements were carried over such as Jubilee taking Kitty's place as the young newcomer who doesn't get to go on missions.
The title is a pun on Kitty Pryde's last name.
Wolverine's much derided Australian accent seemed to derive from a brief run-through of the script in which Wolverine mockingly calls Pyro, who in the comics hails from Australia, a dingo. Although in the actual episode he doesn't call Pyro anything, he says the word to Toad. Wolverine's appearance on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends had the same change. In a statement made in the book X-Men: The Characters and Their Universe, Rick Holberg stated:
- I ended up being the voice director on the show, and I was forced to use the Australian version of Wolverine (which coincidentally, foreshadowed the casting of Australian actor Hugh Jackman in the live-action X-Men film), because all of this Australian stuff was popular at the time - the Mad Max films, "Crocodile" Dundee, and so on - it was going to turn out (in the comics) that Wolverine was an expatriated Australian. The direction of the character however never got beyond the plotting stages and Wolverine remained Canadian in the comics.
It was broadcasted on the Marvel Action Universe in 1989. Since then the episode aired infrequently in syndication, and was later released on VHS. The episode was actually the first Marvel-based work produced for Marvel Action Universe, which up to that point had only run reruns of Spider-Man.
Generally, the reactions to the episode is mixed. It is typically praised for the high quality of its animation provided by Toei Animation, who also produced the animated Dungeons & Dragons, G.I. Joe, and The Transformers. Many fans feel the episode is too campy, particularly for a comic series under the guidance of John Byrne and Chris Claremont, who generally used darker and more adult oriented themes. Many complain about the characterizations of the characters. Kitty Pryde was seen as too much of a whiny damsel-in-distress. At the time White Queen had no association with Magneto or the Brotherhood. Most upsetting was that the traditionally Canadian Wolverine was given a thick Australian accent, though this was also the case in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.
Stu of Marvel Animation Age enjoyed the episode and wouldn't have minded if it was picked up for a full series. He claimed the animation was stunning, looking better than any other Marvel series from the 1980s and completely obliterating the visuals of X-Men. Cyclop's costume look "badass in his suit" and was what the later series should have looked like. Michael Bell's voice acting was commended, while Wolverine's Australian accent was baffling, and Kitty's voice was annoying. Kitty was almost as annoying as Jubilee. It was confusing that Dazzler made an appearance but not Beast, Iceman, or even Jean Grey. Besides Magneto the villains weren't much other than super-powered henchmen. "Overall, despite some odd casting and the occasional cheese, this episode is a perfectly enjoyable adventure with some brilliant visuals. I'm not too disappointed it didn't get picked up; X-Men TAS had better characters and writing, whereas this just serves as a very pretty one off episode."
Matt of X-Entertainment gave it a bad review stating it was "Like the Bizarro World X-Men cartoon. Everybody talks funny. They all seem to be going through personality disorders. And Wolverine sounds like friggin' Zartan from G. I. Joe." He forgives it only for being an old cartoon. He derided the theme song as "the most offensive thing you'll ever hear." He found it hard to take Stan Lee seriously as the narrator. He didn't like the Claremont-era team especially Colossus and Dazzler. The voice acting was pointed out such as character's bad accents, Storm's dialogue, Kitty being too whiny, and Juggernaut and Blob constantly repeating their names. He claimed the show managed to have little action and character development. He found the only enjoyable part of it to be the White Queen.
Comic Book Resources made a list of the top sixteen things the pilot did right. Their first point was the narration by Stan Lee. They did feel the lines were rushed but claimed it helped the sense of urgency. They also enjoyed Lee's famous catchphrases. They appreciated the presence of Lockheed in one of his few appearances outside the comics. They noted how odd it was that he was inexplicably on Asteroid M, but would have liked to see what the series could have done with him had it been made. They noted that White Queen was one of the X-Men's greatest foes and her inclusion was obvious, though it was odd that she was a member of the Brotherhood. They wondered why she was given new powers but felt that otherwise she was just like the version in the comics. They appreciated that the episode tried to introduce her as a major figure before she was on Wolverine and the X-Men and X-Men: First Class. They also appreciated the introduction of Dazzler as an X-Man, introduced at the same time as White Queen as well as before she was an X-Man in the comics. They noted that both women appeared on X-Men but only briefly and this proposed series would have made them major characters. They liked her upbeat personality and enjoyed her visuals especially in the Danger Room. They thought her visuals would have been equal to Jem, also animated by Toei. They liked how the episode was able to introduce the prejudice against mutants and themes of diversity. They noted the anti-mutant prejudice in the military figures as well as the fear of mutants in the family being rescued. Despite Wolverine's Australian accent, they praised the voice acting. They felt Cyclops had a commanding voice, Storm was confident, Dazzler was warm, Colossus and Nightcrawler were charming, Magneto was villainous, and Xavier was fatherly. They loved the costume designs. They noted X-Men used the most recent designs while X-Men: Evolution and Wolverine and the X-Men completely redesigned the looks, but this episode used the classic most recognizable designs. They most loved the designs for Cyclops, Nightcrawler and Wolverine. They also liked that each character had a distinctive silhouette. They liked the inclusion of all the villains. While the producers probably wanted to include as many villains as possible to show the range of foes, they felt that the range of villains made them dynamic. While subsequent versions of Magneto were sympathetic, this version was more of an intimidating threat. Juggernaut and Blob both had similar powers but were portrayed differently. They felt Pyro was better than he was on X-Men. They felt White Queen was cold, and could be set up to run her own school. They liked that Toad's agility was a threat. They enjoyed the one-on-one fights on Asteroid M as it was smart and fun potentially setting up rivalries for the proposed series. They liked how Nightcrawler was able to get around Blob. They noted that Jubilee on X-Men was very similar to Kitty here, but Kitty is more faithful to the comics. They thought Soucie gave her youthful energy and assertiveness. They also liked that she went on somewhat of an emotional journey and would have liked to see where she would have gone. They praised the animation, noting that X-Men sometimes was at times just average. Like many late 1980s animated shows, it looked great and was highly kinetic. They did note that the high quality animation probably wouldn't have continued throughout the series, but felt this was outstanding. They particularly praised the Danger Room sequence as well as small touches like Magneto's wrist movements. They felt the episode nailed the relationship between Kitty and Nightcrawler from the comics. While the episode didn't delve too much into the other characters it did translate that one relationship. They liked that she had her own prejudices about mutants and his appearance that she was able to overcome. They praised Nightcrawler's sacrifice for being surprisingly dark in what should have been a generic Saturday morning cartoon. They felt the animation and pacing sold the moment. They thought that even though everything was okay in the end it was still kind of horrific. They noted that the arcade game based on the episode was popular in arcades everywhere in the 1990s when X-Men merchandise was everywhere. They thought that considering the game's popularity that the potential series could have kicked off the X-Men mania earlier. They noted that while the roster of X-Men weren't accurate it was awesome and some of the most iconic characters. They liked that it gave prominence to several characters who would not give any similar prominence in subsequent series, with fan favorite Kitty not even appearing in the 1990s. They noted that lineup was streamlined, as opposed to X-Men where some characters were sidelined for whole seasons. Their top point, noting how divisive it would be, was the theme song. They felt it was "incredibly '80s" and goofy, but that made it glorious. They did not really care that it didn't make sense, as long as it sounded great. They felt that while other X-Men series had better themes this one proved that if a theme song had lyrics they had better be as awesome as this one.
The episode has a rating of 6.9 on the Internet Movie Database.
In 1990, Marvel published a graphic novel titled X-Men Animation Special adapted from "Pryde of the X-Men". The panels were images from the cartoon rather than newly drawn art.
In 1992, Konami produced an X-Men arcade game that served as an expansion on "Pryde of the X-Men" using the same characters and animation.
Will Meugniot and Larry Houston eventually went on to work on X-Men. Meugniot's initial proposal for this pilot's story formed the basis for "Night of the Sentinels, Part One" and "Night of the Sentinels, Part Two".
- ↑ Celebrating The Pryde of the X-Men, Australian Wolverine and All at Comic Book Resources
- ↑ Pryde of the X-Men: 16 Things the Failed Cartoon Got Right at Comic Book Resources
- Retro Junk
- Behind the Voice Actors
- Marvel Animation Age
- Marvel Retrospective
- Internet Movie Database
- Marvel Database