Fans thrilled as animated series X-Men '97 features non-binary hero

Morph, a superhero to be featured in the upcoming 'X-Men '97' animated series on Disney+, has been confirmed to be non-binary.
Morph, a superhero to be featured in the upcoming 'X-Men '97' animated series on Disney+, has been confirmed to be non-binary. Disney+

LGBTQ+ fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) are in for a blast from the past as Disney+ prepares to release the long-awaited return of X-Men ‘97 featuring a non-binary hero. The animated series, which originally debuted to audiences in 1992, has been rebooted as part of the ever-expanding MCU. 

Alongside reprising fan favourite characters from the original series like Jean Grey, Wolverine, Beast, Storm, Magneto, Cyclops, and more, the new animated series will also feature a member of the X-Men known as Morph, who creators have confirmed to be a non-binary member of the superhero team. 

Show-runners confirmed Morph’s gender identity in a recent issue of Empire magazine, in which they provided brief character profiles for the series’ returning heroes. Morph, who did appear in the original 1990s series, was similarly profiled. Showrunners told Empire that the new X-Men ‘97 series will feature a “lighter take on the character, who is non-binary and has an interesting buddy relationship with Wolverine.” 

The announcement came as an unexpected surprise to many LGBTQ+ comic fans as Morph’s character has never been identified as non-binary in previous appearances. 

For readers who aren’t comic book aficionados, or for those who’ve never seen the original X-Men: The Animated Series, Morph, also known as Kevin Sydney, is a shapeshifting mutant with the ability to take the form of anyone they want. Throughout the greater Marvel universe, both in the comics and in other adaptation projects, Morph has been known to transform into male and female characters indiscriminately. 


In previous projects, Morph has been something of a turncoat, leaving the X-Men to join the villainous Mister Sinister in the original X-Men animated series. Morph later betrayed their uneasy alliance with Mister and Sinister and joined forces with the X-Men to defeat the villain. That being said, by the end of the original animated series, which ended in 1997, Morph’s complicated past kept the hero from fully integrating into the X-Men. 

“He really sets the stakes, and he had a very interesting relationship with the team because of trauma,” said X-Men ‘97 show-runner Beau DeMayo about Morph’s journey in the original X-Men animated series. 

Morph has been confirmed as one of the many heroes returning to Disney+’s X-Men ‘97, with the character being voiced by J.P. Karliak, who has worked on projects like The Boss Baby: Back in Business, Trolls: TrollsTopia, and New Looney Tunes. 

While Morph’s newly announced non-binary identity feels like a win for many LGBTQ+ comic fans, as well as being true to the X-Men’s long-standing allegorical connections to disenfranchised communities, including the queer community, not all MCU fans are happy, with many condemning the series for being too “woke”. 

Morph now joins a number of MCU heroes who have come under fire for being part of the LGBTQ+ community, including the likes of Loki and Captain Marvel, both of whom hinted at their queerness in recent MCU projects like Loki and The Marvels

The upcoming X-Men ‘97 series will pick up where the original 1990s cartoon left off. In the finale of X-Men: The Animated Series, a dying Professor X left his family behind as he traveled to the Shi’ar homeworld. 

Teasing where the rebooted series will go from there, DeMayo told Empire that the first season of X-Men ‘97 is “very much about what happens when the X-Men are faced with a future they didn’t expect.” 

X-Men ‘97 is set to premiere on March 20, 2024, on Disney+. Check out the first trailer for the series below!


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