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X-Men ’97: Who Is Madelyne Pryor? Here’s What We Know About Jean Gray’s Clone

The first two episodes of X-Men ‘97, which is a revival of the X-Men: The Animated Series, focused on what had happened to the main characters in the months following where the original series ended. The story picks up from after Professor Charles Xaviar’s death in the original series and how the rest of the X-Men are dealing with the loss of their leader. We also see that Jean Gray and Cyclops have become parents to a little boy. However, at the end of the second episode, the audience saw the appearance of a character who looks just like Jean Gray. So who is this character and what could her function be in the upcoming episodes?

Madelyne Prior in Marvel Comics

Who is Madelyne Pryor in the X-Men comic books? 

The character of Madelyne Pryor first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #163 which came out in 1983, and she was created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Paul Smith. Madelyne’s first appearance was puzzling to everyone as she looked just like Jean Gray who died after the Dark Phoenix saga. Even Cyclops at first thought Madelyne was Jean but later accepted that she was a different person. 

Cyclops marries Pryor in the comic books and she becomes pregnant with his child. Later after Storm bests him and becomes the leader of the X-Men, Cyclops thinks about wanting to retire and live a normal life. However, in a very controversial twist of events, after Jean Gray is resurrected in the X-Factor comic book, we see Cyclops leave his wife and child to return to being an X-Man and reconcile with Jean. 

This, coupled with a bout of demonic possession almost drives Madelyne insane. But later she learns that she was created as a clone to Jean Gray by Sinister, who was discarded by him as a failed experiment, but later was given sentience by the Phoenix itself. Sinister’s plan was to make Madelyne and Cyclops fall in love so she could give birth to his child and help continue his research in mutant genetics. Madelyne later becomes the Goblin Queen and also appeared at the center of a crossover called Inferno in 1999, which focused on various X teams working together to fight off a demonic attack. To psychically destroy Jean Gray, Pryor takes her own life, but Jean fuses with her and the Phoenix Force to survive, which results in her gaining the memories of Pryor. But even after her death, she appeared in a few other comics later, and even teamed up with jilted clone Ben Riley in the Dark Web crossover of 2023.

X-Men '97

What will Madelyne’s role be in the X-Men ‘97 series? 

It is not yet known how the series will handle the Jean Gray clone as the last episode ended in a cliffhanger. We do not even know if the newcomer is Jean Gray or Madelyne Pryor. It could be revealed that the one who gave birth to baby Nathan is Madelyne while the real Jean Gray just came back after being swapped somewhere in the original series. But if the series wants to stray more from the original material, which they sometimes do to make things less complicated, then the newcomer may be Madelyne, who has probably escaped from Sinister’s laboratory and does not know that all her memories about X-Men are artificially planted. 

Another interesting part of this development will be to see the treatment of baby Nathan in the series. In the comic books the Apocalypse senses that Nathan could grow up to be an extremely powerful mutant and Scott and Jean are forced to give up Nathan to the Asaki Clan who then raise him in the far future. However, Nathan later becomes the time-jumping vigilante named Cable who is an enemy of the Apocalypse. Cable has already appeared in multiple Marvel movies, notably in Deadpool 2, and is all set to appear again in Deadpool 3 where he will also work with Wolverine. Although Nathan Summers is just a baby in the X-Men ‘97 series, it will be very interesting to see how the family dynamics work out between his parents if it’s revealed that Madelyne Pryor is actually his mother and not Jean Gray. Once it’s revealed which one of the two is the actual Jean Gray, we will have a better idea about how the future is going to be for Cyclops, Jean, Madelyne, and Nathan.

ALSO READ: X-Men ‘97: Who Is Jean Grey And Cyclops’ Child? Explained

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