Marvel's creative headaches continue as X-Men 97 creator is axed just days before Disney Plus show's launch

The cast of X-Men 97 burst through a set of double doors in the Disney Plus animated show
X-Men 97 has lost its showrunner in the lead-up to its release (Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney Plus)

Marvel has reportedly fired X-Men 97's creator just days before the eagerly anticipated animated show's release.

According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), Beau DeMayo, who was head writer and a producer on the Disney Plus series, has surprisingly parted company with the comic book giant. No reason was given for DeMayo's sudden departure, but TechRadar has reached out to Disney and Marvel for an official comment, and we'll update this article if we receive a response.

The decision to sack DeMayo has raised eyebrows in the Marvel community, not least because X-Men 97 is due to launch on Disney Plus very soon. The animated series, which is a long-overdue sequel to beloved 90s cartoon X-Men: The Animated Series, will debut on the service on Wednesday, March 20. THR claims that DeMayo was preparing to conduct press interviews ahead of its release, had completed work on two seasons (a second X-Men 97 entry hasn't been confirmed yet, but is rumored to be in development), and was even discussing plans for a third installment with his fellow writers. Days before the show's launch, though, DeMayo was abruptly let go by Marvel Studios.

A screenshot from the X-Men 97 trailer showing Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, and other mutants in the Marvel Disney Plus animated show

X-Men 97's story will pick up in the immediate aftermath of X-Men: The Animated Series (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Prominent Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) leaker CanWeGetSomeToast suggests there were problems behind the scenes on X-Men 97's development, but didn't say if this was the sole reason for DeMayo's departure. DeMayo, who regularly interacted with X-Men and MCU fans on instagram, has deleted his social media channels in the wake of his sacking.

It remains to be seen what the future holds for the X-Men's latest animated adventure in the wake of DeMayo's firing, but it isn't the only Marvel Phase 5 project that might be affected by his departure. DeMayo, who also worked on 2022's Moon Knight live-action series for Disney's primary streamer, had contributed to the script for Marvel's Blade movie, which has been trapped in development hell for some time. It's unclear whether any of DeMayo's script treatment for Blade will be retained after he was let go.

New year, same old problems for Marvel

Deadpool and Wolverine walk down a dirt road in their classic comic book costumes in Deadpool 3

Marvel is likely praying that Deadpool and Wolverine will turn its theatrical fortunes around (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

After a year filled with negative press, Marvel Studios had hoped to turn over a new leaf heading into 2024. With a number of big announcements made throughout February, including the reveal of an official release date and trailer for X-Men 97, it appeared that the Disney subsidiary was starting to win back the support it had been losing. After two sizable box-office bombs, a terribly received Disney Plus show in Secret Invasion, and the firing of Kang actor Jonathan Majors among many other issues, Marvel had hoped to put a turbulent 12 months behind it.

Unfortunately, the studio's bad luck has followed it well into the new year. Just three days into 2024, Marvel was engulfed by a new crisis when Invincible star Steven Yeun departed its Thunderbolts movie cast over scheduling conflicts. Yeun was followed by The Bear's Ayo Edebiri, who was set to feature in the same film – one with its own sticky development cycle – but also left its cast due to similar scheduling issues.

Add DeMayo's departure and leaked Daredevil: Born Again footage that teases the potentially huge death of a beloved character to the above, and Marvel's damage limitation team won't be taken off speed dial anytime soon. The release of X-Men 97 on one of the world's best streaming services, and the hotly anticipated arrival of Deadpool and Wolverine in theaters, can't come soon enough for a studio that needs another big win (or two) from somewhere.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.