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X-Men '97 Morph Actor Reacts To Backlash Over Non-Binary Marvel Character

X-Men '97 TV show voice actor J.P. Karliak responds to the Marvel backlash over the animated show describing Morph as non-binary.

Karliak takes over the role of Morph from original X-Men: The Animated Series actor Ron Rubin in the newly released Disney+ show, which aired its first two episodes earlier this week. When it was revealed just prior to the debut that the character of Morph was a non-binary character, there was a storm of criticism seen across social media, which itself was ridiculed by the creators of X-Men: The Animated Series. Now Karliak has broken his silence on the matter, revealing to CBR that he was not at all surprised by the online reaction to Morph’s status.

"No. [laughs] I'm a queer activist. I run a nonprofit that advocates for queer representation. I also co-founded a voter registration organization. I know what's going on in the world, especially politically, so no, it didn't surprise me at all. [laughs] I think what I appreciated was how much counter-backlash there was, with people like 'Have you watched the X-Men? Are you familiar with why they were created and what they're about? Did you forget that?' That was reassuring."

He added:

"I haven't really taken offense with anything anybody's published, as much as they've tried. [laughs] There was one article that called me a radical queer activist and listed the insidious mission statement of my organization [Queer Vox] -- verbatim of what was on the website. I was like 'Facts. No lies here, thanks for the promotion!'"

Despite Morph’s non-binary status has been confirmed by Marvel, it is not likely to be something that is mentioned in the series itself. As Karliak explained in the same interview, the term “non-binary” was not used during the time the series is set. He said:

"Two things about that – one, as far as I know, we're never going to say the word 'non-binary' because nobody said the word 'non-binary' in the '90s. It's not that it didn't exist; it was just in no way a mainstream term at the time. Morph's understanding of who he is could equate to what a modern person would say is non-binary, but he just doesn’t have the terminology for it. At the same time, they/them wasn't a concept in terms of using it as a pronoun."

With many fans uninterested in online opinions, and the series earning some of Marvel Studios’ best reviews, it seems that any controversy about Morph’s non-binary status has had no impact on the popularity of the return of the X-Men.

New episodes of X-Men 97 air every Wednesday on Disney+.

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