Nonbinary “X-Men ’97” Character Sparks Conservative Backlash

Nonbinary “X-Men ’97” Character Sparks Conservative Backlash

A new nonbinary X-Men character has conservative Marvel fans in shambles after the trailer of the highly anticipated “X-men ‘97’” show was released in February. 

The new show, which was originally announced in late 2021 is expected to be released on streaming platform Disney+ on March 20. The new season will feature 10 episodes.

According to Forbes, the storyline will pick up where the original cartoon left off after the death of team founder Professor Charles Xavier. However, fans are less concerned with the death of a beloved character and more troubled by the introduction of nonbinary shapeshifting character, Morph, who died at the beginning of the original series. 

Morph has been in and out of the X-Men universe since their first appearance in the original series. In the original 1967 comic, writer Roy Thomas created a “minor mutant supervillain called Changeling, a shapeshifter who battled the X-Men on one occasion,” according to ScreenRant. Today’s Morph is considered a returning variation of this character. 

The decision to make Morph nonbinary was revealed in a feature interview with showrunner Beau DeMayo in Empire. DeMayo also confirmed via Instagram that Morph uses they/them pronouns. They will be voiced by openly gay actor JP Karliak.

Forbes reports that “some comic-centric news sites and Youtube channels – along with posts on X – criticized the decision, saying the show is “ruined” by the inclusion of a non-binary character.”

Backlash from right-wing social media influencers has accused the franchise of “going woke” and consequently making the series “unwatchable.” Die hard fans have not been shy about their critiques for other characters as well. Them reports fans had a lot to say about design changes for a highly sexualized character, Rogue. 

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