Disney suddenly fires X-Men '97 showrunner, with no public explanation given

X-Men ‘97
X-Men ‘97

Beau DeMayo, the creator and showrunner of Disney+’s X-Men ’97—a continuation of Fox’s iconic ‘90s cartoon—was apparently fired by Marvel Studios early last week, with the news coming out publicly just a day before the show’s Hollywood premiere and just about a week before the show is going to debut on Disney+. No reason has been given for DeMayo’s departure, and The Hollywood Reporter says that it happened “suddenly,” that his company email was deactivated, and that the cast and crew “were informed he was no longer on the project” (implying that he did not do the informing himself). DeMayo had reportedly just finished writing a second season of X-Men ’97 and was developing ideas for a third, and that’s after working as a writer on Marvel’s Moon Knight and an early draft of the troubled Blade reboot.

On top of all that, DeMayo’s Instagram page, which he occasionally used as a way to share updates on the progress of the animated series, has apparently been deleted. He had also been fairly outspoken before this, embracing his identity as a gay Black man and talking about how that impacted his appreciation of the X-Men, who have always been used as a metaphor for any number of groups who are hated and feared by society just for being themselves.

No official statements about any of this have been released, but basically all of this is unusual. It’s rare for someone in a position like that in Hollywood to get fired—meaning it wasn’t a “creative differences” or “scheduling” split, where a safe explanation is given even if it’s not necessarily accurate—let alone a showrunner getting fired right before a premiere event. THR notes that Marvel regularly replaces writers on its movies, and even ones whose work was completely rewritten will attend the red carpet, so this doesn’t seem like a situation where DeMayo was just moving on to do something else.

Marvel is also not typically shy about throwing creatives under the bus when something isn’t working, like with Daredevil: Born Again. In that case, original head writers Chris Ord and Matt Corman were “let go” so the show could be retooled, but there was no ambiguity about what was happening or why (and they technically stayed involved as executive producers). So that means this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the quality of X-Men ’97.

All we can definitively say is that something is up surrounding X-Men ’97, and it’s happening at a time when the show should be enjoying a nice victory lap ahead of its premiere on March 20.