The ‘X-Men ’97’ Season Finale Introduced a Major Marvel Comics Character That Most Fans Missed

The season finale of X-Men ’97 was so chock-full of goodness that fans could be forgiven if they overlooked a thing or two. With all the cameos from heroes across the Marvel Universe to the introduction of Apocalypse and the post-credit tease of Gambit’s resurrection, the episode was quite simply one of the best examples of what Marvel Studios can–and should–be capable of. However, with a Mr. Fantastic here and a Sauron there, some fans seem to have completely missed the appearance of a major X-Men character.

Following an emotional good-bye between Scott, Jean and Cable, the appearance of a young Nathan in the future to which his parents where whisked away was certainly an attention grabber. The reunion gives Cyclops and Marvel Girl the opportunity to spend at least some time raising the son they’d lost…but the scene also introduced a daughter they didn’t know they had… because they hadn’t…not yet, at least.

When Scott and Jean arrived in the year 3960, they were met by a hooded woman who introduced herself as Mother Askani. From there, Nathan’s appearance took all the attention but it’s all but a sure thing that Mother Askani’s identity will become a significant part of whatever goes on in Season 2. If showrunner Beau DeMayo is staying relatively close to the comics–and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest he is–then Mother Askani will be revealed to be Rachel Summers, the daughter of Scott and Jean.

Though she remains hooded and her face partially hidden, Rachel’s trademark face markings are clear. What’s more, the markings on her chin and the long, white braid are consistent with the appearance of the alt-Earth version of the character who first appeared in 1993’s Cable #6.

As the founder of Clan Askani, Rachel became known as Mother Askani. The clan believed that a Messiah, known as Dayspring or Askani’son, must be saved from the past to protect the future and overthrow Apocalypse. That messiah is, of course, Nathan Summers, who was alive and well under Rachel’s watch in the season finale.

This isn’t Rachel’s first appearance in the animated universe as she showed up in X-Men: The Animated Series when the show adapted Days of Future Past. However, given the timey-wimey nonsense that comes with Marvel’s mutants, this Rachel is probably not that Rachel and she’s probably not the daughter of that Scott and that Jean. In that sense, saving the full reveal of the true identity of Mother Askani for Season 2 was a wise move as it gives Scott, Jean (and the emotional fans) time to process one reunion before moving on to a potentially more awkward one.

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