|This article is written from the Real World perspective|
|Beginning date||November 4, 2000|
|End date||October 25, 2003|
|Number of Episodes||52|
|Original Channel||Kids' WB|
|Previous Series||The Avengers: United They Stand|
|Next Series||Spider-Man: The New Animated Series|
X-Men: Evolution is a series that ran from November 4th, 2000 to October 25th, 2003. It was the first series after the Marvel Animated Universe ended. It was the second series, and third attempt, at a series based on the X-Men after "Pryde of the X-Men" and X-Men.
The series was put in production following the release of the original X-Men film. The designs were initially inspired by their first appearances in the comics, despite consisting of a different line up. Character designer Steven E. Gordon admitted to having purposely changed the looks of each character for individualistic unique faces and figures that would make everyone stand out from each other. His art style for the series was inspired by the art of Adam Hughes, who's art he enjoyed for the different facial designs for each of his characters.
X-Men: Evolution is the third longest running Marvel series, alongside The Super Hero Squad Show, Iron Man: Armored Adventures and The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. By the time of the fourth season, the series would no longer have the episode titles aired onscreen. During the time that the third X-Men film, X-Men: The Last Stand, was coming out, the series was rumored to be making a return.
The main X-Men of the series are Charles Xavier, Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Rogue, Spyke and Beast. The Brotherhood of Mutants are show's most recurring villains and include Toad, Blob, Avalanche, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. The last members of both groups, Beast and Scarlet Witch, are introduced and become members of the team in the second season and stay members for the rest of the series.
The New Mutants were incorporated into the show for the second season, including Iceman, Magma, Boom Boom, Multiple, Berzerker, Cannonball, Sunspot, Jubilee and Wolfsbane. Iceman was originally included as a member of the main group in a draft for the series, though was removed once the producers felt they needed an African-American character for the sake of diversity. As the third season was put into production, it was decided that the cast was getting too large to do every character some justice, and as such, removals occurred. The no longer main or supporting characters were Spyke, Jubilee and Wolfsbane. This is notable for being the only time in a X-Men cartoon that the line up has changed, as the original series kept the same characters the entire run and Wolverine and the X-Men was cancelled before it could add Colossus and Jean Grey to the main cast in the second season.
The fourth season introduced some last few characters that served for the episode's plot, including Gabby Haller, David Haller, Leech and Danielle Moonstar. This was reportedly done in an attempt to bring the show more in line with the comics. The series last episode, ""Ascension, Part Two"", revealed some character designs of the X-Men as adults. This included Cyclops, Colossus, Rogue, Shadowcat, Nightcrawler, X-23, Storm and Beast. These costumes and designs were believed to have been planned for the fifth season, though Steve Gordon confirmed that they were designed when the producers and show staff knew the fourth season was the last one. Character designs for Emma Frost and Psylocke have surfaced since the show's end, and both were planned for the firth season. However, the designs have been debated as being their character designs for the series or merely a request by the fans of the show produced by Steve Gordon.
Of note, was another scene depicted in the final episode, which had Jean Grey seemingly being possessed by the Phoenix Force. This was revealed later on to be the planned main villain of the unproduced fifth season, though was scheduled to have others as a side villains as well, possibly including Mister Sinister. A character design for Jean as Phoenix and possibly her Dark Phoenix guise was designed by Steve E. Gordon, though never planned for the series in any capacity. Other characters to have been hinted at making appearances sometime down the fifth season's run were Cable, Bishop and the Shi'ar, though it is unknown if Lilandra would have appeared with the group.
The series ran for fifty-two episodes over four seasons. It is the third longest running Marvel series after X-Men and Spider-Man. A fifth season was reportedly in the original contract for the show, but was cancelled.
Because of its changes and different aesthetic from the original series, it was poorly received by longtime X-Men fans when it first premiered. A common complaint were the different attitudes portrayed for the characters from the comics, which was complaint only Spyke was able to avoid. Various fans of the series have found the portrayals of Nightcrawler and Shadowcat in the series to be annoying or otherwise removed from the attitudes and attributes of their comic counterparts.
However, despite these changes, as the series progressed into its later seasons, the show gained generally positive reception as it improved, and is now regarded as one of the best superhero animated series of all time.
The series has also recently been receiving more praise due to the fact of how little in focused on Wolverine in relation to the other incarnations of the X-Men, some even deeming this version of the character as more likable than the one from the Wolverine and the X-Men series.
Rotten Tomatoes ranked the series among its top one-hundred superhero series with this series at sixty-six above Big Hero 6 at one-hundred Spider-Woman at eighty-nine, Iron Man: Armored Adventures at eighty-six, Ultimate Spider-Man at eighty-three, Spider-Man Unlimited at seventy-three, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes at sixty-nine, The Super Hero Squad Show at sixty-eight and below Fantastic Four at sixty-four, Avengers Assemble at fifty-eight, Guardians of the Galaxy at fifty-five, The Marvel Super Heroes at fifty-one, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends at forty-eight, The Spectacular Spider-Man at forty-six, Spider-Man at forty, Spider-Man at nineteen, and X-Men at five.
- 100 Best Superhero TV Shows of All Time at Rotten Tomatoes