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Pryde of the X-Men

X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men (commonly known as Pryde of the X-Men) is an animated television pilot originally broadcast in 1989 on the Marvel Action Universe television block, featuring Marvel Comicsmutant superheroes the X-Men. As of 2007, as with the majority of the other Disney-acquired Marvel Comics animated shows, it was once released on VHS but there are no plans to release this pilot to DVD.

Overview

As a failed television pilot

The title is a pun on the name of Kitty Pryde, the youngest X-Man. The series for which this episode was intended to launch never materialized; Marvel Productions would have to go back to the drawing board for 1992’s X-Men. The pilot aired infrequently in syndication, and was later released on video. It served as the basis for the classic X-Men arcade game.

Main characters

Narrated by X-Men co-creator Stan Lee, Pryde of the X-Men stars Professor X and the X-Men (Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Wolverine (who speaks with an Australian accent, despite being Canadian in the comics), Kitty Pryde, and Dazzler saving the world from Magneto and his "Brotherhood of Mutant Terrorists" (Toad, the Blob, Pyro, Juggernaut, and the White Queen). The X-Mansion, Danger Room, Cerebro, Blackbird, Asteroid M, and Lockheed the dragon are also featured.

Plot

The story begins with the voice of Stan Lee: "Look around you...you never know who could be a mutant, a person born with strange and wondrous powers..." It is the desert. The X-Men’s archenemy Magneto is being transported by a military convoy; Magneto is unable to use his powers, trapped in a force field. That is, until the White Queen appears. A member of his "Brotherhood of Mutant Terrorists," she scatters the escort and dismantles the field restricting Magneto, allowing him to use his magnetic powers to tear apart his portable prison.

Elsewhere, a taxi pulls up to a mansion; inside is young Kitty Pryde. Professor Xavier has invited her to the his school because she is a mutant, and here he can train her in her power, the ability of phasing that allows her to pass through solid matter. He then takes her to the Danger Room, where the other students are training. They are the X-Men: Cyclops, Colossus, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Storm, and Wolverine. The team is friendly when they are introduced, but Kitty is frightened by Nightcrawler’s demon-like appearance, and Wolverine insists that "the X-Men don’t have room for whiny brats."

An alarm sounds: evil mutants have been detected, and the X-Men are off. Magneto and the Juggernaut watch as their Blackbird jet takes off: the Brotherhood’s diversion has worked. They invade the X-Mansion, Juggernaut operating similar to a wrecking ball. The Professor learns from Magneto’s thoughts that they have come for the main chip of Cerebro (the powerful, mutant-tracking computer), which he gives to Kitty and orders to flee. She is chased and ran down by Magneto, who electrocutes her and takes the computer chip.

The X-Men meanwhile confront Magneto’s henchmen Pyro and the Blob at an observatory. The X-Men easily free the hostages that have been taken, but the evil mutants escape, claiming they got what they came for: information on the Scorpio comet. The X-Men return to find the mansion in ruins and the Professor and Kitty unconscious. Xavier once again reads Magneto’s thoughts, this time learning the full details of his plan. Magneto plans to redirect the passing Scorpio comet onto a collision course with Earth. The X-Men must leave at once for Magneto’s orbiting sanctuary Asteroid M, but he instructs Kitty to stay as the mission is far too dangerous. Kitty however, wanting to help, phases aboard the Blackbird and hides.

Once they reach Asteroid M, each X-Man quickly becomes enganged on the way to Magneto: Storm must stay behind to maintain the air lock, Dazzler becomes embroiled with Pyro, Wolverine and Toad chop it up, Colossus and the Juggernaut come to blows, and Cyclops and the White Queen exchange optic and mental bolts. Only Nightcrawler continues, and when he is stopped by the Blob, "the immovable object," the acrobatic mutant simply teleports past him.

Nightcrawler finally confronts a gloating Magneto as the Scorpio comet is approaching Earth. Raising his hand to blast Nightcrawler, Kitty suddenly emerges from the floor, causing Magneto to accidentally blast the wiring of his device. There is now an opportunity to save Earth, but Nightcrawler must risk sacrificing himself to complete the circuit and conduct the comet away from the planet, towards Asteroid M.

With Scorpio’s course being redirected, both parties must evacuate. The X-Men watch from the Blackbird as the comet approaches Asteroid M, waiting for Nightcrawler to teleport at the last minute. The comet and asteroid collide, and Nightcrawler is gone. The X-Men mourn their fallen team-mate, especially Kitty, who cries over how badly she had treated him earlier. To everyone’s surprise, a familiar voice emerges from the back of the jet—Nightcrawler is alive! The X-Men are reunited and the Earth is saved. Wolverine insists that Kitty isn’t a member of the X-Men—at least "not yet."

Credits

Cast

Stan Lee Himself/narrator
Michael Bell Cyclops/additional voices
Earl Boen Colossus
Andi Chapman Storm/additional voices
Neil Ross Wolverine
Kath Soucie Kitty Pryde
John Stephenson Professor Charles Xavier
Alexandra Stoddart Dazzler/additional voices
Frank Welker Nightcrawler/Toad/Lockheed
Ronald Gans Magneto/additional voices
Pat Fraley Pyro
Alan Oppenheimer The Blob/additional voices
Patrick Pinney The Juggernaut/additional voices
Susan Silo The White Queen
Dan Gilvezan Additional voices

Frank Welker, who provided the voices of Nightcrawler, Toad, and Lockheed in Pryde of the X-Men previously provided the voice of Iceman on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.

Crew

Ray Lee director
Margaret Loesch (billed as Margaret Loesch Stimpson) executive producer
Will Meugniot producer
Robert J. Walsh original music
Stu Rosen voice director

Writing credits
Larry Parr original story
Stan Lee characters (uncredited); though billed as Supervising Producer
Jack Kirby characters (uncredited)
Chris Claremont characters (uncredited)
John Byrne characters (uncredited)
Dave Cockrum characters (uncredited)

Critical response

The reaction from fans to the pilot is generally mixed. Although praised for its high quality animation (provided by Toei Animation, who also animated Dungeons & Dragons, G.I. Joe and Transformers), fans simply felt that the pilot for the most part, came across as too campy for a comic (especially under the guidance of John Byrne and Chris Claremont) with often dark and adult oriented themes like X-Men.

Furthermore, purists were not fond of the way certain characters where portrayed in the pilot. For instance, Kitty Pryde was seen in their eyes as coming across as too much of a whiny, damsel-in-distress. Fans also found it awfully quizzical to see the White Queen be portrayed as a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants even though she was never associated with them in the comic books up until that point. Most importantly, fans were upset at the sound of the traditionally Canadian Wolverine, speaking with an Australian accent. This casting error seemed to stem from a brief run-through of the script in which, mockingly, Wolverine calls the traditionally Australian character Pyro, a dingo..

Tie-ins

In 1990, Marvel published a graphic novel titled X-Men Animation Special, an adaptation of Pryde of the X-Men that featured cell animation from the cartoon rather than original art.

In 1992, Konami produced an X-Men arcade game that served as an expansion of the Pryde of the X-Men pilot.

See also

References

External links

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