X-Men ’97’s A.J. LoCascio Is Glad Fans Like Gambit And Wolverine's Combo Move, But All That Crop Top Talk Was The ‘Last Thing’ He Expected

 Gambit wearing crop top in X-Men '97.
Gambit wearing crop top in X-Men '97.

If you’re a fan of both X-Men ’97 and Gambit, then the last few weeks have been pretty rough. Disney+ subscribers tuning into the X-Men: The Animated Series revival saw Gambit tragically die at the end of “Remember It,” and that was the final gut punch of the devastation that unfolded on Genosha. But before X-Men ’97’s fifth episode dropped, Gambit was getting a lot of attention for two more positive reasons from the first episode: pulling off a cool combo move with Wolverine and wearing a hilariously ‘90s crop top, as seen above. A.J. LoCascio, Gambit’s voice actor, told CinemaBlend that he’s glad that fans liked the former, but didn’t expect them to talk so much about the latter.

The combo move I’m talking about, of course, was Gambit charging Wolverine’s claws with explosive kinetic energy, and with an assist from a Blob-transformer-Morph, Wolverine then used to destroy the Master Mold in “To Me, My X-Men.” Gambit charging Wolverine’s claws was first teased in the X-Men ’97 trailer, and director Jake Castorena was “flabbergasted” by the fan reaction to that moment. When I asked LoCascio, who took over Gambit-voicing duties from X-Men: The Animated Series’ Chris Potter (who’s now voicing Cable), what he thought when he first learned about the moment, he answered:

To read it and then to see it is a whole other thing. Because I read it and went, ‘Ok.’ I was like, ‘Cool.’  It’s neat, but then to actually visually see it, because they showed me that scene a while ago, and I got to see the whole Sentinel scene, and I just lost my mind. It was like, ‘Oh my God! If the rest of this is as good as this, you guys got nothing to worry about. This is insane!’ And then seeing all the people react to the trailer and then that specific moment, everybody exploding was surreal. You hope that when you work on something, not only will people notice it, but people will like it. And so to see people reacting at such a high level is astounding.

While there have been plenty of combo moves shown off in the X-Men comics and other media, including the Fastball Special, where an armored-up Colossus tosses Wolverine at an enemy, Gambit charging Wolverine’s claws is unexplored territory. As Jake Castorena previously told us, one of the goals with X-Men ’97 was to show “familiar mutant abilities and power sets that we’ve seen and love, but just in ways we’ve never seen them before without breaking canon,” and this certainly qualified. From LoCascio

And then there’s Gambit crop top, which the Rain’ Cajun was wearing early on in “To Me, My X-Men” as he was preparing beignets at the X-Mansion. Lenore Zann, who voices Rogue and was part of this same interview, brought up the fashion choice shortly after A.J. LoCascio was done giving his earlier answer, and when I noted how the crop top took the X-Men ’97 fanbase by storm on social media, the actor said:

That’s the last thing I expected, because I saw that in the animatics and everyone went, ‘Oh neat, that’s perfect, Gambit has a crop top. He would. Perfect!’ And then they didn’t think about it anymore. And so when that became a big thing on social media, I was surprised.

But wait, it gets even better. LoCascio has that same shirt in real life, albeit the full-length version, and he had it on both during WonderCon last month (via @TaimurODar) and during my interview with him and Zann. Regarding the former, he continued:

Just one grubby photo of me hunched over at the con with this on. I was like, ‘That’s what went viral?’ I’m honored, and it’s also very, very funny.

Sadly, the good times with Gambit on X-Men ’97 appear to be over, as he sacrificed himself at the end of “Remember It” to destroy the Wild Sentinel that attacked Genosha and killed dozens of mutants, including Magneto. While there’s always the chance that his death might be undone via time travel or some other plot twist, for now Remy LeBeau has departed this mortal coil, and Nightcrawler has now taken his spot on the X-Men, as seen in the Newton Brothers-composed opening credits. But hey, at least we’ll have those fond memories of him from the show’s first episode.

There’s four episodes left to go in X-Men ’97’s run, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for coverage on them and what’s announced for future seasons. You can also look through our 2024 TV schedule to see what other shows are running now or will be soon.