X-Men ’97 Using Ace Of Base’s Happy Nation Was Just For Me, Actually

Magneto and Rogue in X-Men 97 dancing to Ace of Base Happy Nation

There’s been a lot of debate about whether X-Men ’97, the new animated series on Disney+, is a straight nostalgia play for fans of X-Men: The Animated Series. I’ve been mostly on the side of, no, this has the nostalgia. But it also works as a great X-Men show for anyone to jump in and watch. That is until this week’s episode, “Remember It,” when they played Ace of Base’s “Happy Nation.” Which was targeted specifically at me, and nobody else.

I’m being a little facetious of course. But the 1992 hit is the perfect accompaniment for the episode and the scene it plays in, for a variety of reasons. Those reasons? The “Happy Nation” lyrics perfectly match the plot of the episode. And also, as an undertone, there’s Ace of Base’s not-so-secret Nazi past. No, I’m not joking about that one.

Let’s discuss how “Happy Nation” plays in the episode, and spoilers past this point. In the episode, Rogue (Lenore Zann), Gambit (AJ LoCascio), and Magneto (Matthew Waterson) are in Genosha to oversee the mutant island’s official induction into the United Nations, because why wouldn’t you send the three characters currently in a contentious love triangle to watch over things? As the episode continues, we discover that years earlier Rogue traveled to the Savage Land, met Magneto and discovered they could touch — so struck up a love affair. It broke up after she realized he’d never escape his darkness. It’s all a rough adaptation of Uncanny X-Men #274 by Jim Lee and Chris Claremont, FYI.

Back in the present, Magneto is offered the position of ruling Genosha, and he accepts with one caveat: he wants Rogue to be his queen. Rogue breaks up with Gambit, who accepts with aplomb, and everyone heads to a gala celebrating Genosha.

That’s where the song comes in, as Rogue descends the stairs — flying, mind you — and dances with Magneto, ending with a kiss. The joyous assembled mutants all dance too, to the tune of “Happy Nation.”

Ace of Base’s “Happy Nation” Is An LGBTQ+ Anthem

Dancing X-Men 97 episode 5

While Ace of Base may not have meant it this way, the song “Happy Nation” is pretty clearly used here as an LGBTQ+ anthem. That’s something that is up for debate in the X-Men fandom… They’re generally a loose metaphor for whatever pressed group you identify with. But, I mean, look at the “Happy Nation” lyrics that play in the episode:

Happy nation living in a happy nation
Where the people understand
And dream of perfect man
Situation lead to sweet salvation
For the people for the good
For mankind brotherhood

Add the bumping beat, the joyous mutants and it’s pretty clear this song is getting across the joy they feel to finally have a home of their own, a place where they can be free.

X-Men ’97 Creator Beau DeMayo Was Inspired By The Pulse Nightclub Shooting

Jamie Madrox dancing in X-Men 97 Episode 5

X-Men ’97 creator Beau DeMayo broke his social media silence after being fired by Marvel to talk about the inspiration behind the episode, confirming this read of things. He was specifically inspired by 9/11, and post-9/11 society when writing Episode 5. He found comfort in X-Men: TAS after coming out to his family post-9/11.

But more to the point, this episode and sequence seem to be specifically inspired by the 2016 shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Florida, which left 53 people wounded, and 49 dead.

“I partied at Pulse,” DeMayo said on X (formerly Twitter). “It was my club. I have so many great memories of its awesome white lounge. It was, like Genosha, a safe space for me 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.”

Since we haven’t laid this out yet, let’s talk about the other half of the episode here. Right after this joyous moment dancing to Ace of Base, a massive robot called Master Mold attacks Genosha, murdering hundreds if not thousands of mutants. That includes Magneto and Gambit, who die saving everyone. It’s absolutely horrific; but there’s an undertone to the choice of Ace of Base that may have foreshadowed this turn.

Ace Of Base Has A Not-So-Secret Nazi Past

Or more specifically, Ace of Base founding member Ulf Ekberg was part of a Neo-Nazi skinhead band called Commit Suiside before he joined the pop group. After the news came out in 2013, Ekberg not only apologized but admitted to regretting his choice to join the band. However, it’s pretty hard to dodge the Nazi allegations.

While there may be a lot of A+B=Nazis going on here, there’s an in-depth breakdown on Cracked (really) about how everything from the band’s name possibly being inspired by German U-Boats to their lyrics maybe being Nazi propaganda. Given that, the whole “mankind brotherhood” thing in the “Happy Nation” lyrics takes on a more ominous tone.

In that, whether purposeful or not — and in a much heavier way than the appearance of Uatu, The Watcher in the episode — having an explosion of dance at a mutant ball to a song that may or may not have Nazi undertones, right before the mutants are all murdered by robots who hunt them based on being different… Well, that’s some foreshadowing as well.

You can read the full lyrics to “Happy Nation” over at Genius.

X-Men ’97 Season 1 Premiere Dates And Episode Guide:

X-Men ’97 doesn’t have a one-a-day schedule like What If…? Season 2, or all-at-once like Echo. Instead, the series is getting a more traditional release schedule of two on premiere day, then one a week thereafter.

The release time is also typical. Versus what has now become a run-of-the-mill primetime “early” release for big movies and TV shows, new episodes of X-Men ’97 will be released on Wednesdays at 3 am ET / Midnight PT.

Here’s the full list of episodes in Marvel’s X-Men ’97 Season 1, and when they premiere:

  • Wednesday, March 20, 2024: X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 1 – “To Me, My X-Men”
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2024: X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 2 – “Mutant Liberation Begins”
  • Wednesday, March 27, 2024: X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 3 – “Fire Made Flesh”
  • Wednesday, April 3, 2024: X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 4 – “Motendo / Lifedeath – Part 1”
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2024: X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 5 – “Remember It”
  • Wednesday, April 17, 2024: X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 6 – “Lifedeath – Part 2″
  • Wednesday, April 24, 2024: X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 7 – “Bright Eyes”
  • Wednesday, May 1, 2024: X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 8 – “Tolerance Is Extinction, Part 1”
  • Wednesday, May 8, 2024: X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 9 – “Tolerance Is Extinction, Part 2”
  • Wednesday, May 15, 2024: X-Men ’97 Season 1, Episode 10 – “Tolerance Is Extinction, Part 3” *Season Finale*

Listen to MarvelVision:

Want more deep dives into Marvel Studios’ TV shows and movies? Plus, semi-regular news updates on everything going on at Marvel? Then check out our podcast.


12 thoughts on “X-Men ’97 Using Ace Of Base’s Happy Nation Was Just For Me, Actually

  1. All the feels! Even more haunting, we heard a clip of the Latin portion of “Happy Nation” during Madelyne’s catastrophic vision in ep 1. As soon as the full song started during Rogue and Magneto’s dance, I realized we were about to see the show’s version of E for Extinction.

  2. LGBT? wtf with these woke people. It’s all about Genosha and mutants being proud of being mutants. Stop trying to put your agenda in EVERYTHING out there.

    1. “I partied at Pulse,” DeMayo said on X (formerly Twitter). “It was my club. I have so many great memories of its awesome white lounge. It was, like Genosha, a safe space for me for me and everyone like me to dance and laugh and be free.” reading comprehensions lacking much?

      1. That’s one hell of a reach. There’s literally nothing that references gay stuff in the lyrics. How desperate are you to find homosexuality in every piece of media out there?

        1. I mean, first of all this is saying that “Happy Nation” is used as an LGBTQ+ anthem, and I clarified why in the piece. It’s not a stretch. Or a reach. I’m saying that the characters in the show view it as an LGBTQ+ anthem, that is the metaphor the writer is playing off of, at least in part in the scene, which he explains in the quote above.

          Second, I would in general not characterize Ace of Base songs as aggressively straight? So there’s that too.

  3. Nazi undertones are not welcome, and your waving them away is bizarre. It’s a Nazi song about an Aryan nation and it’s really shocking that it’s included.

  4. So Alex, let me offer another perspective…

    As a young boy in Israel, back when “Happy Nation” was a hit, there was an urban legend about something devilish in the song (besides the Nazi interpretation). Apparently, the Latin part at the beginning sounds like Hebrew, with these words being said:

    “על כנפי הנשר בעזרת השם,
    הייתי כאן לפני כולם, 
    בנתיים אני אהרוג אתכם,
    הייתי כאן לפני כולם״

    “On the wings of the eagle with God’s help,
    I was here before everyone,
    In the meantime, I will kill you all.
    I was here before everyone”

    The ‘I will kill you all’ part made my heart skip a beat back then.

    Now hearing these words again and again on loop, with the latin christian church gregorian chant style, added another chilling dimension to the song (which adds up to the October 7 massacre general vibe which I guess can’t be ignored by Israelis).

    Makes me wonder if Avi Arad knows about this – maybe it’s an Easter egg?

    Another thing I suspected was that “Happy Nation” and the original X-Men TV show came out on the same date… and I wasn’t that far off. The TV show aired on October 31, 1992, and “Happy Nation” came out on November 2, 1992… that’s two days apart.
    I feel like my mind is being played with here 🙂

Leave a Reply