Night of the Sentinels

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"Night of the Sentinels"
X-Men: The Animated Series episode
Sentinelnightree.png
One of the sentinels that attacks the X-Men when they are leaving the Mutant registration center.
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 1-2
Written by Mark Edward Edens
Production code Part 1: 101
Part 2: 102
Original air date Part 1: October 31, 1992
Part 2: November 7, 1992
Episode chronology
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List of X-Men 1992 TV Series Episodes

Night of the Sentinels is a two-part pilot episode of the 1990s X-Men animated series. It originally aired on October 31 and November 7, 1992. These episodes feature adaptations of Jubilee's intro story ("Uncanny X-Men #244"),[1] Bolivar Trask's creation of the Sentinels ("Uncanny X-Men #14"),[2] the Mark III Sentinels intro ("Uncanny X-Men #98"),[3] the Mutant Registration Act ("Uncanny X-Men #181"),[4] and anti-mutant hysteria present throughout the mid-to-late 1980s comics. Introduced in the episode were an X-Men team similar in look and line-up to the early 1990s X-Men drawn by Jim Lee. The members of the X-Men introduced compose of Professor X, Cyclops, Beast, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Rogue, Gambit, Storm and Jubilee, as well as an original character, Morph. The series was originally to premiere over the Labor Day weekend in September; however, due to production delays, it was pushed to the end of October. The two-parter aired as a "sneak preview" even though it was not considered ready for broadcast. Therefore, there were many animation errors. However, the errors were later corrected when FOX re-aired the pilot in early 1993.[5]

Plot[edit]

Part one

The episode begins showing TV news footage of Sabretooth attacking police forces, indicating a time of unrest between mutants and humans. Jubilee's foster parents register her under the Mutant Registration Act, apparently designed to support mutants. Later, The Sentinels attempt to apprehend Jubilee at a mall. However, the Sentinels are stopped by a group of X-Men who were coincidentally shopping at the time. Jubilee wakes up, confused, at the X-Mansion. Storm explains to Jubilee that the purpose of the X-Men is to fight for peaceful existence between humans and mutants.

Whilst the X-Men are briefed on the incident at the mall, Jubilee leaves the mansion to visit her foster parents. There, she is ambushed and captured by the Sentinels. Before she passes out, Jubilee sees Henry Peter Gyrich, who is alongside the Sentinels.

The X-Men discover that the group running the Mutant Registration Program intend to track down and eliminate mutants. Storm is assigned to lead Beast, Morph, and Wolverine into the Mutant Control Agency headquarters to destroy the registration files. The four mutants break in, while Cyclops, Gambit, and Rogue observe from the outside.

Part two

Wolverine smells the soldiers' gun oil and quickly closes the door before the soldiers have chance to fire. Storm enters and sweeps the guards away with her wind power. After destroying the files on mutants, the X-Men escape to the Blackbird, but are confronted by the Sentinels. During the confrontation with the Sentinels, Morph is shot and presumed dead. Beast gets blasted against the fence, electrocuted, and ultimately captured. The rest of the group retreat to the Blackbird on Cyclops' command, though Rogue is forced to render Wolverine unconscious with her absorption powers before he could defy Cyclops' orders and fight a hopeless battle. Meanwhile, shown on TV, the President of the United States claims that several mutants attacked the Mutant Control Agency and that there will be a counter-offense. But after meeting with Gyrich, the President decides to cancel the Mutant Control Registration.

Later that night, after a talk with Wolverine in a bar, Cyclops visits Jubilee's foster parents' home. Her foster father calls Gyrich to inform him of Cyclops' presence. Gyrich sends some Sentinels, but later the father regrets his decision when his wife tells him that Jubilee is suspected to have been kidnapped by the Sentinels. Subsequently, he tells Cyclops everything. Cyclops leaves, but is attacked by a Sentinel. Cyclops purposely blasts off the Sentinels' arm, so it can escape with the Blackbird following it back to its home base.

Landing clumsily, the wounded Sentinel damages the electrical box and electricity is released on the base. While the X-Men attack the base, Gyrich and Trask try to escape. After the Sentinels are defeated and Jubilee rescued, Jubilee decides that it's best to stay at the Mansion and waves goodbye to her foster parents, heading for a new future.

Production[edit]

Storm's voice actress in Season 1 and the majority of Season 2 of the series is Iona Morris. Part-way through Season 2, however, Alison Sealy-Smith takes over the role for the rest of the series. An original member of the X-Men, Morph, is loosely based upon a shape-shifting character from early X-Men comics, named Changeling. The character became very popular, to the point that an alternate version of Changeling in the "Age of Apocalypse" comics run was named Morph.

Morph was originally placed in the series simply because the writers wanted to have a character die in the opening story arc, in order to show how serious the show was. Changeling was chosen because of his past ties to the X-Men, as well as his deceased status in the comics. He was practically considered a blank slate, so the writers were able to use him without angering fans. The name was changed from Changeling to Morph, since DC comics had the rights to the name Changeling at the time. Due to the characters unexpected popularity, Morph returned.

During the episode, Beast is captured and imprisoned. There were two principal reasons for why Beast was chosen to be captured in this episode. The first was that in preparation for the first season, Beast had not been included as a core character. Therefore, since he was a "guest" or secondary character, the writers felt he could be off-screen a lot. Another reason was associated with his character - Beast's articulate personally was considered to work beautifully in a court scene. Lewald mentioned in an interview that the character is reasonable and likeable, making it hard for the prosecution to make him out to be a monster. This is in contrast to Wolverine, who would be more likely locked up if he were in Beast's situation, according to Lewald.

Cultural references[edit]

When Wolverine says, "Hey, Tin Woodsman I'm sending you back to Oz, in pieces!" Wolverine is referring to the L Frank Baum series of "Oz" books.[6] When Beast says, "As Archimedes said when he discovered the principal of displacement... eureka!", Beast refers to the famous Greek, who indeed said "eureka" after discovering what is known today as Archimedes' principle.[7] Also when Beast says, "Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry. John Wesley." Beast quotes the 18th century Methodist Church founder.[8] On the screen of the computer which Beast uses John Wesley's name appears on the list of registered mutants just as Beast completes quoting him. While Morph is watching television, he sees a commercial for a new men's fragrance. He transforms into the attractive man on the commercial and says "Aggression, by Calvin Clone". This is a reference to the popular cosmetics company Calvin Klein.

Reception[edit]

At the height of the series' popularity, Pizza Hut sold two VHS tapes that featured "Night of the Sentinels (Parts 1 & 2)" and "Enter Magneto"/"Deadly Reunions". Also contained were round-table discussions between prominent names such as X-Men creator Stan Lee and 1990s writer Scott Lobdell.[9] The story of this pilot was also adapted in the comic book "X-Men Adventures (vol 1) #1-2". An IGN review of the X-Men Volume 1 DVD described the episode as "pretty decent" and "as compelling here as it is in comic form." [10]

Cast[edit]

Voice actor Role
Cedric Smith Professor Charles Xavier
Cathal J. Dodd Wolverine/Logan
Norm Spencer Cyclops/Scott Summers
Catherine Disher Jean Grey
Iona Morris Storm/Ororo Munroe (Part 1)
Alison Sealy-Smith Storm/Ororo Munroe (Part 2)
Chris Potter Gambit/Remy LeBeau
Lenore Zann Rogue
George Buza Beast/Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy
Ron Rubin Morph
Alyson Court Jubilee/Jubilation Lee
Len Carlson Senator Robert Kelly
Barry Flatman Henry Peter Gyrich
David Fox Sentinels

References[edit]

  1. ^ Claremont, Chris (w). "Ladies' Night" Uncanny X-Men 244 (May 1989), United States: Marvel Comics
  2. ^ Lee, Stan (w). "Among us stalk...the Sentinels!" Uncanny X-Men 14 (November 1965), United States: Marvel Comics
  3. ^ Claremont, Chris (w). "Merry Christmas, X-Men — The Sentinels Have Returned!" Uncanny X-Men 98 (April 1976), United States: Marvel Comics
  4. ^ Claremont, Chris (w). "Tokyo Story" Uncanny X-Men 181 (May 1984), United States: Marvel Comics
  5. ^ "DRG4's Exclusive X-Men Cartoon Pilot Differences". drp4's X-Men Website. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  6. ^ "The Tin Woodsman". Mego Museum. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  7. ^ "The first Eureka moment". Science Magazine. 2007-08-27. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  8. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica (1911) John Wesley (1703-1791), Available online, [Accessed 8 May 2007]
  9. ^ "X-Men Creators' Choice #1 Pizza Hut giveaway". Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  10. ^ Shaffer, R.L. (23 April 2009). "X-Men - Volume 1 DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved 16 August 2011.