Beau DeMayo participates in the Marvel Studios' Animation presentation during San Diego Comic-Con 2022 on July 22, 2022 in San Diego, California Source: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Out 'X-Men '97' Creator, Former Showrunner Beau DeMayo Reflects on Shocking Episode's Roots in a Queer Tragedy

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 3 MIN.

This article includes spoilers for the fifth episode of "X-Men '97," "Remember It."

Fans still don't know why Beau DeMayo abruptly departed "X-Men '97," a revival of the classic animated series from three decades ago, but DeMayo showed his ongoing love for the new show in tweets explaining Episode 5, titled "Remember It."

"The questions he answered Wednesday evening into the wee hours through a lengthy post and several replies came from fans who wanted to know about the creative decisions behind some of the series' critical moments and its latest episode, which DeMayo said he would 'momentarily break silence to answer.'" The Daily Beast detailed.

Though the series reboots a fond memory of many people's childhoods, and brings back several actors from the original show to reprise their roles, the series – and particularly the episode DeMayo was tweeting about – is hardly kids' stuff. The writer, who had completed a second season's worth of scripts before his mysterious separation from Disney, explained in no uncertain terms how he had anti-LGBTQ+ and racial prejudice on his mind when writing the show.

"Episode 5 was the centerpiece of my pitch to Marvel in November 2020," DeMayo recounted. "The idea being to have the X-Men mirror the journey that any of us who grew up on the original show have experienced since being kids in the 90s."

"The world was a seemingly safer place for us, where a character like Storm would comment on how skin-based racism was 'quaint' in One Man's Worth," DeMayo went on to add. (That specific episode was "the season 4 opener for the original X-Men animated series," Entertainment Weekly clarified.)

Then came the epoch-redefining terror attacks of September 11, 2001, after which, "Things weren't so safe anymore," DeMayo recounted.

"Grassroots populist movements began to rise around the world as a whole nation struggled to deal with collective trauma and fracture at the seams of every diverse demographic," DeMayo went on to add. "The effects we still feel today, and have only been exacerbated by more collective traumas like COVID or several recessions."

DeMayo freely admitted that the events of Episode 5, in which the X-Men suffer a devastating attack on "mutant haven Genosha" – supposedly a "safe space" – defy what viewers probably expected, with major characters meeting their ends. The writer mulled that "if events like 9/11, Tulsa, Charlottesville, or Pulse Nightclub teach us anything, it's that too many stories are often cut far too short."

The slaughter of 49 people at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016, shocked and traumatized the LGBTQ+ community.

"I partied at Pulse," DeMayo related. "It was my club. I have so many great memories of its awesome white lounge. It was, like Genosha, a safe space for me and everyone like me to dance and laugh and be free.

"I thought about this a lot when crafting this season and this episode, and how the gay community in Orlando rose to heal from that event."

As previously reported, "X-Men '97" was only a week away from its premiere last month when DeMayo – who had worked on other Disney shows, including "Moon Knight" – was suddenly no longer part of the team.

According to The Hollywood Reporter at the time, DeMayo's "company email was deactivated and cast and crew were informed he was no longer on the project."

"DeMayo's Instagram account, once a source for X-Men updates, was deleted" – and, along with it, "shirtless pictures of himself at the gym" that his fans had thrilled to.

"For a time he also ran a non-explicit Only Fans account," THR noted.

What bearing on his departure his social media activity might have had, if any, remains unknown. "No reason for the firing was given," the entertainment news outlet detailed.

That remains the case, with DeMayo's departure still shrouded in mystery.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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