X-Men '97 Showrunner Calls Criticisms of Morph's Confession to Wolverine "Offensive and Straightwashing"

X-Men '97 Showrunner Calls Criticisms of Morph's Confession to Wolverine "Offensive and Straightwashing"

Beau DeMayo can't help but react to the negative reactions to Morph's confession of love to Wolverine in X-Men '97.

X-Men '97 Credit: Marvel Studios Animation / Disney+

There’s no denying that X-Men ‘97 is a big success, but it still faces a fair share of criticisms. Compared to the original Saturday cartoon X-Men: The Animated Series, the sequel features more mature themes, including confirming Morph's identification as non-binary, which resulted in a backlash. The clamor even escalates when Morph confesses his feelings to Wolverine in the first season finale. So, though it has been almost a month since the first season ended, showrunner Beau DeMayo addresses the criticisms of Morph’s confession to Wolverine, calling it “offensive and straightwashing.”

Before the X-Men were sent to different timelines in the X-Men ‘97 Season 1 finale, Morph was seen confessing his romantic feelings for Wolverine, saying, “I love you, Logan. Stay with me,” while the latter was on the verge of death after his intense battle with Magneto. DeMayo later confirmed it was a confession of love, and many seemed not fond of it. However, it looks like the series creator doesn’t mind the negative reactions, finding Morph’s confession to Wolverine “always romantic.”

“I discussed this openly and often during production,” he said in a post on X. “Suggesting otherwise, never mind contradicting the intention of a queer writer-showrunner, is both offensive and straight-washing.”

DeMayo continued to pour his heart out. After being able to talk about representation and making it matter, he complained of ending up being contradicted after becoming one of the few showrunners who were gay and black.

“[It] is just disingenuous,” he added.

What made the writer-producer even sadder was experiencing disrespect during Pride Month. Though he was still contradicted in the comment section of his post, he received a lot of support from his followers.


Morph’s Non-Binary Backlash in X-Men ‘97

Ahead of the first season’s release, X-Men ‘97 faced a major backlash after Marvel Studios confirmed that Morph was identified as non-binary—a big change from the original animated series or any of the comic books. Many social media users called this change “woke,” but the character’s voice actor, J.P. Karliak, who took the role from Ron Rubin, wasn’t surprised by the negative reactions. He was even thankful for people who came to Morph’s defense, countering the backlash.

“I know what's going on in the world, especially politically, so no, it didn't surprise me at all,” Karliak told CBR. “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.”

X-Men: The Animated Series director Larry Houston also explained to Variety that Morph being identified as non-binary in X-Men ‘97 was in line with the character’s concept, saying it was the same as the word shapeshifter. He even cleared that anyone who could transform from one gender to another could be identified as non-binary.

To support this claim, co-creator and showrunner Eric Lewald added that Morph had become both a man and a woman in the original series, so he had been non-binary all along. The only difference was it wasn’t stated at the time.

“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,” he said. “That’s as non-binary as you can get. It’s Morph turning into a woman and coming onto Wolverine to freak him out. It was all there in Morph’s character.”


X-Men '97 Voice Actor Lenore Zann Addresses Rogue, Gambit & Magneto's Controversial Love Triangle

Despite the confirmation that Morph is non-binary and DeMayo revealing that the character has romantic feelings for Wolverine, many still can’t believe this change. As Lewald earlier says, people are more sensitive today and very mindful of how the term non-binary will be used. But despite the backlash and criticisms, Morp is no different and is still the mutant many love.

All episodes of X-Men ‘97 Season 1 are available on Disney+.

About the author

Jonnalyn Cortez (1239 Articles Published)

Jonnalyn is a book lover who discovers Netflix and gets stuck on the couch watching all day. If she’s not busy writing about her favorite fandoms, she plays with her Star Wars-inspired-named dogs, Chewie and Wookie.