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X-Men '97 Director Confirms Your Spider-Man Animated Series Theory Is Wrong

The Season 1 finale of "X-Men '97" seemed to resolve a decades-long Spider-Man mystery when, amid all the chaos of Asteroid M falling toward Earth, there's a shot of Peter Parker with Mary Jane Watson from "Spider-Man: The Animated Series." That show's finale saw MJ get lost within realities, so her "X-Men '97" appearance seems to confirm Peter found her at some point. 

But some aren't convinced it's really MJ, including @RCAReacts on X (formerly known as Twitter), who theorizes "['Spider-Man: The Animated Series'] ended in '98...we're seeing her in X-Men '97...that's still the hydro-clone." As "Spider-Man: TAS" fans know, the MJ on the show was a clone after the original fell into an interdimensional portal in Season 3. The series ends with Peter (Christopher Daniel Barnes) trying to find the true Mary Jane, but there was never a resolution to that particular plot thread — until now.

Though others on social media shared similar theories, "X-Men '97" Supervising Producer/Director Jake Castorena confirmed on ComicBook.com's "Phase Zero" podcast that the MJ in the episode is, in fact, the original. "I'm pretty sure, I'm like 99.9% sure, it's real MJ," he said. "I don't remember off the top of my head. But, I remember talking to Beau [DeMayo] and it was like, 'Well, if we're gonna do it, we're, we're gonna do it! Let's give the bump.' And, so it's not a clone, I'm pretty sure it's end game. I'm 99.9%." Granted, that leaves a 0.1% chance of the character actually being a clone or something else entirely, but for the time being, fans can rest easy knowing the real Peter wound up with the real MJ.

The X-Men '97 cameos had to serve a purpose

Many consider the '90s animated Spider-Man to be among the best iterations of the superhero outside of the comics. There's no word on whether a "Spider-Man '98" show is in the pipeline, but at least fans can see Peter isn't still searching the Multiverse for the love of his life. While Jake Castorena does indicate there's a minuscule chance that MJ is a clone on "X-Men '97," the show's creator, Beau DeMayo, stated things slightly more definitively. After the Season 1 finale aired, DeMayo went on X to state, "Yes, Peter Parker found MJ."

All of that having been said, Peter and MJ (not to mention Flash Thompson, who is seen in the same shot) showing up on "X-Men '97" isn't necessarily meant to set up "Spider-Man '98" in any meaningful way. The iconic Marvel couple doesn't even have any lines, but their inclusion shows just how wide-ranging the stakes of the finale are. Director Chase Conley spoke separately with ComicBook.com about including characters like Silver Samurai and King T'Chaka (Isaac Robinson-Smith) in the finale episode. "I think a lot of [the cameos are] just to serve the purpose." In this case, "the purpose" is to show that the X-Men's chaos is affecting the entire Marvel Universe, with Peter and MJ stunned while heroes like Daredevil try to maintain order.

Besides, it makes sense for this MJ to be real. Peter was already duped once into marrying an MJ clone, and he deserves to be reunited with the real deal. But for the time being, fans will have to settle for going back and rewatching the best moments from the original "Spider-Man: The Animated Series" if "Spider-Man '98" never happens.