STEPHEN MELCHING'S X-MEN ANIMATED ARCHIVE
Note: The following content presented in this section
was originally featured on the now-defunct "X-Men Animated Archives" website belonging to writer Stephen Melching. The following material has been recovered from the website,
which is no longer online. Please note some content has been updated, edited or altered in order to preserve its integrity.
I wrote all these episodes with my old
high school chum David McDermott. X-Men was the first series
either of us wrote for, and it was a great experience. We learned all
about the wonders of Broadcast Standards, the ideosyncracies of producers
and executives, and the pain of trying to service such a large cast of
characters in 22 minutes. We also tended to over-plot our stories, so
nice character scenes had to be sacrificed to make sure the plot made
some kind of sense and that there was enough action to keep the kids interested.
Click on BS&P NOTES and read what the "network censor" had
to say... (A word in their defense -- these are the people who have to
protect the network from the many so-called "media watchdogs"
out there who would like to child-proof the world. I've seen some of the
letters that these people write, threatening boycots of shows and sponsors
over the strangest things. Also keep in mind that the FOX network in particular
was under a lot of scrutiny at the time due to its prime-time programming,
and the spectre of government regulation of content was looming ever closer)
Click HERE to see a complete list of X-Men
episodes sorted by SCRIPT NUMBER. Click HERE to see them sorted by EPISODE
NUMBER (there is a difference).
Return to Backstage
Original Airdate: 5 October 1996
handsome rebel from another world, tumbles into this world with no memory
and a murderous gang -- led by the six-armed woman warrior Spiral -- hot
on his trail. It turns out that Longshot is on the run from Mojo, maniacal
inter-dimensional TV executive. Using Jubilee as the 'prize', Mojo and his
minions lure Longshot and the X-Men into a deadly contest which Mojo broadcasts
'live' to up his ratings.
first professional sale! This was our (somewhat egotistical) effort to
"correct" continuity errors in the "Mojovision" episode,
and bring the TV series more in line with Art Adams' books -- which we're
both huge fans of.
This script makes more sense than the televised version
(since it's too long!), features talking Warwolves, alien bounty hunters,
a slightly different opening scene, and it includes all kinds of great
Mojoverse dialog, like "Fallen Messiah" and "Za's vid!"
For a variety of reasons this script differs quite a
lot from the version that finally made it to the air (which, due to overseas
animation problems, more that 2 years after it was written!).
I: A Faithless Haven
Original Airdate: 21 October 1995
battling for mutant supremacy, Magneto offers to transport all mutants to
an orbiting asteroid where they can live human-free lives in peace. However,
the governments of the world feel threatened by Magneto's plan, and decide
to destroy the asteroid -- until Professor X intervenes on his old friend's
behalf. In an effort to understand his intentions, Beast, Gambit, and Xavier
visit the peaceful asteroid, only to be implicated in Magneto's assassination!
has a bigger fight on Genosha, more intrigue with Cortez, and a better
This episode won an award for its sound mixing.
II: Thou Fallest A Martyr
Original Airdate: 28 October 1995
plummets helplessly to Earth, Fabian Cortez assumes control of Asteroid
M, blames the X-Men for Magneto's disappearance, and holds the world hostage
with the asteroid's stolen nuclear arsenal. Can the X-Men stop the deranged
traitor in time or will Cortez succeed in his maniacal plan to destroy life
wrote the outline for this episode, though segments of our script for
part one were "shifted" into part two. The writer of this teleplay
was also a veritable newcomer to the X-Men universe, so we tried
to be as detailed as possible in our outline!
Available on DVD!
x, lies, and videotape
Original Airdate: 11 June 1995
postcard unleashes a flood of maddening and painful memories in Wolverine
that threaten to drive him insane. To keep his mind from being torn apart,
Wolverine and Beast travel to the one location that may hold the answers
to his hidden past: the ruins of the top-secret Weapon X lab where Wolverine's
bones were laced with adamantium. There he encounters other former 'test
subjects' -- Sabretooth, Maverick and Silver Fox -- who are suffering similar
mental breakdowns. Old passions and rivalries are reignited as the four
former government agents break into the lab, leading to an explosive climax
and the realization that some secrets are best left buried...
even more flashbacks! Plus it has a somewhat different final action sequence
that's probably less exciting than the televised version.
We spent large sums of money on back issues to research
this episode, then tried to make sense of it all in 22 minutes. Did we
succeed? You be the judge....
The Powers That Be also decided to air this episode in
prime-time, which was especially exciting for us, since this is the first
thing we wrote to actually appear on television!
Phalanx Covenant I
Original Airdate: 7 September 1996
investigate a disturbance downtown, the X-Men find Sabretooth on the rampage
again -- but realize too late that it isn't really Sabretooth at all! It
is the Phalanx, a voracious alien life-form that can assume the guise of
anything or anyone. Before long, the X-Men are all captured, except for
Beast, who must find a way to stop the alien horror from devouring the entire
draft has a different (and we think superior) opening scene with Wolverine
fighting Sabretooth that was changed due to its proximity to the weapon
x script. The Phalanx's capture of the mansion is expanded, and much
creepier. All in all, the script is better paced.
Unfortunately, it was also deceptively long! Leave it
to us to team up the SLOWEST-talking characters in the series (Beast,
Sinister, Forge, and Magneto).
The Phalanx Covenant II
Original Airdate: 7 September 1996
from the jaws of the Phalanx by the villainous Mr. Sinister, Beast and Forge
search for allies to help them battle the alien threat. Gathering assistance
from such unlikely sources as Magneto and Sinister himself, they embark
upon a daring and risky plan to free the planet from the clutches of the
Phalanx by traveling straight into the belly of the beast.
battle was somewhat reduced, presumably for budgetary or time reasons
(there are strict limits on the number of speaking parts per episode;
that's why we rarely got to use the entire team).
Original Airdate: 8 February 1997
for Apocalypse to return to the material plane he requires a mutant vessel,
to be procured for him by his "failsafe" servant Fabian Cortez.
During a research expedition in South America, Beast and Jubilee are captured
by Cortez's mutant-hunting Hounds, led by Caliban. Cortez uses his powers
to turn Beast into a monster worthy of his moniker, forcing him to confront
the animal side of his nature. Jubilee, meanwhile, is made ready to receive
the essence of Apocalypse. Caliban's loyalties are put to the ultimate test
-- will he remain faithful to Cortez, who gave him strength, or Jubilee,
who befriended him when he was a Morlock...?
contains several extra scenes that expand on Caliban's predicament, specifically
his relationships with Jubilee and Cortez, and the painful choice he must
make. We also see much more of what Beast went through in his "feral"
state, and how the experience both unnerved him and helped him better
This episode also won an award for
its sound mixing.
Original Airdate: 6 September 1997
a teenager who possesses the mutant power of a living cannonball, lives
a quiet life in a small Southern mining town. But his idyllic life is shattered
when a sinister government agency decides to recruit him into their top
secret weapons program. To force his decision, they use shadowy tactics
to turn the townspeople against the "mutant freak" who lives in
their midst. Rogue, meanwhile, visits Sam's family in an effort to recruit
him into Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, and in the process experiences
longings for the childhood she never had. When Gambit and Xavier learn of
the government's plan, they rush to Rogue's aid... only to be caught in
the middle of a showdown between Sam, the townspeople, and the sinister
forces that wish to use his powers for their own twisted ends...
were just as horrified as y'all to see the Guthries with brown hair and
Rogue making skin-on-skin contact.
This script features a dilemma for Rogue (she realizes
that Sam is living the life she never had), more anti-mutant sentiment
being stirred up, more stuff with Gambit, and a big fight between Rogue
and a confused Sam.
Also, the entire X-Men team doesn't show up at the end
only to stand around and do nothing.
Original Airdate: 13 September 1997
Dr. James Xavier, ancestor of Charles, helps Scotland Yard track down Jack
the Ripper, who may be the key to finding the renegade scientist Nathaniel
Essex. As they follow the trail, Xavier recounts the events of 1859 that
turned Essex into a monster. An early supporter of the theories of Charles
Darwin, Essex believed that mutants represented the next evolutionary step
for humankind. But his experiments on captive mutants, his ailing wife,
and finally himself hasten the development of the mutant bloodline, create
the beginnings of anti-mutant hatred, and warp the once-respectable man
of science into the fiend who would later become known as Mr. Sinister!
Depending on who you
talk to, either one of the best loved or most reviled episodes in the
Contrary to popular belief, this episode was NOT an adaptation
of the Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix comic book miniseries.
We took inspiration from a rough version of the first issue in the series
and brief outlines for issues two and three provided by Marvel. Our script
was finalized without ever seeing the concluding chapter, and months prior
to the actual publication of issue one.
We took the story in a very different direction, preferring
the classic horror approach (the mad scientist blinded by love and ambition
destroying himself) to the Marvel Comics trend of the time to link everything
together (it's all Apocalypse's fault).