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Tuesday, March 19, 2024 

More clues the changes to Morph in X-Men 97 were forced

Variety interviewed the producers of X-Men 97, who're dismissing the criticisms leveled at the program's emphasis on Morph as "non-binary", and what's told about the episode plot itself sure is illuminating what this was really intended for:
After the trailer for “X-Men ‘97” debuted last month, however, some fans took to social media to decry changes made to Morph, a fan-favorite shapeshifter. In the series premiere of “X-Men: The Animated Series,” Morph was introduced as an original character, based partly on the comic-book hero Changeling, and could transform his appearance and voice to perfectly impersonate anyone. In a shocking twist, Morph was killed off in the premiere, but he was so loved by fans that the “Animated Series” team revived him one season later. At first, Morph was brainwashed by the evil Mister Sinister, but he later flipped back to the good side and rejoined his friends.

Morph returns to the team in “X-Men ‘97” with a new look. Instead of appearing as a brunette man, Morph is now nonbinary with a bald head and white, mask-like face. DeMayo confirmed the change in an interview before he was fired, but after the first trailer dropped, some fans took to X/Twitter and called it a “woke” change for the sake of diversity.

Now, Morph’s creators are pushing back on the criticism, saying the hero being portrayed as nonbinary aligns with their original designs.

“For me, the word ‘nonbinary’ is the same as the word ‘shapeshifter,’” Houston says. “Every character that can change from one gender to another, or from human to animal, that’s just another word for ‘shapeshifter’ for me.”

Eric Lewald points to Morph’s resurrection in Season 2 of “The Animated Series,” when the former teammate transforms into Rogue, Storm and Jean Grey to get revenge on the X-Men.

“He attacks Wolverine, his closest friend, in the most dramatic way by turning into Jean Grey and putting his hand on Wolverine’s neck and leaning in for a kiss. That’s as nonbinary as you can get. It’s Morph turning into a woman and coming onto Wolverine to freak him out,” he says. “It was all there in Morph’s character. Now it’s become such a social thing that I think people will be more sensitive to how it’s used. That’s the only difference. We didn’t see a problem in reading him and didn’t feel he was any different.”
It sounds like Morph is set up in the script to humiliate the female cast members as much as the male cast almost immediately out of the gate upon premiering, and to make matters worse, it sound like the villain is trying to sexually assault Wolverine. Interesting how nobody asks whether it qualifies as sexual misconduct as one of Dan Slott's Inferior Dr. Octopus storylines with the Chameleon was accused of over a decade ago. Or whether such ideas are appropriate in a cartoon assumed to be aimed at children. And it's "all in Morph's character"? Oh, do tell us about it. They sure love doing everything they can to justify their steps, and just because Morph may be a villain is no defense. Though if he'd later returned to the good side after coming under Mr. Sinister's influence, this new take undoes the previous story development for the sake of crude shock value.

It's been reported more recently that one of the reasons scriptwriter Beau deMayo left the TV show is because he'd been acting "creepy" on one of his social pages, at Only Fans. Unfortunately, his dismissal does nothing to alleviate worries this new X-Men cartoon will be woke if the other producers continue to uphold the same visions he pushed onto the property. Seriously, it's time fans of the original products stop anticipating these "revivals" when chances are very high they'll be full of woke changes. There's nothing to look forward to in these brand new TV shows and films anymore, and even if the premiere of a TV series doesn't seem to have forced elements, they could come in the next several episodes, all in order to lull the audience into a false sense of security and confidence. Hollywood as we know it is no longer trustworthy when it comes to classic creations.

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