Why Was Thunderbird on the Villain Side on the X-Men Cartoon?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and forty-eighth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As we've been doing it for some time now, one legend today, one tomorrow and one Sunday.

Let's begin!


Thunderbird was going to be a villain on the X-Men animated series



Any fans of the X-Men animated series from the early 1990s are likely familiar with the opening credits.

Okay, so my pal Justin K. wrote in to ask, "Why is Thunderbird on the villains side in the intro?"

He's right, of course, as Thunderbird is, indeed, shown as part of Magneto's Brotherhood in the climactic part of the intro where the heroes and villains charge at each other.

So what was the deal?

I'm afraid the answer is shocking...in how not shocking it is.

I asked Eric Lewald about it. Eric was a longtime writer on the series and he and Julia Lewald (who also wrote for the series) are coming out with a new book about the X-Men animated series. You can read about it here.

So obviously they were the people who would know. As it turns out, it was really just as simple as spacing. Larry Houston, who designed the credits with Will Meugniot, needed balance, and there were too many good guys on the left of the screen. So he added in some characters from an early episode where the X-Men visit Genosha. The Gargoyle (Yuri Topolov) (the guy with the big pink head) also was added from that episode.

It was the seventh episode in the series, so it was likely finished in time for the intro people to pick characters from it.

So Thunderbird was never meant to be a villain on the series.

Thanks to Justin for the question and thanks to Eric for the answer!

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