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Disney Appears to Walk Back Nonbinary Character: 'It Was Just in No Way a Mainstream Term'

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Back in February, fans of the classic 1990s cartoon “X-Men: The Animated Series” were not too pleased with Disney’s decision to change it.

The company chose to revive the series this year, but with one alteration — one of the show’s male superheroes was turned into a “nonbinary” character.

Well, according to a recent interview, it turns out that either Disney is walking that decision back, or it was never anything more than a marketing ploy to begin with.



According to the actor who portrays Morph, the character in question, the X-Man will be referred to with “he/him” pronouns throughout the show and his “nonbinary” identity will never be mentioned.

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Three episodes of the revival show — “X-Men ’97” — have been released thus far, and many critics have been surprised at Disney’s restraint and lack of forcing politics into the story (including this writer — read my review of the first two episodes here).

Part of that restraint appears to be shown in Disney’s unwillingness to forcibly insert modern views of gender ideology into a story set in the 1990s.

Despite the new series’ since-fired showrunner referring to Morph using “they/them” pronouns, the character refers to himself in the new show using the correct “he/him” pronouns.

When asked about this disconnect, the character’s actor, LGBT activist J.P. Karliak, explained the reasoning behind it.

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“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,” Karliak told CBR.”

The activist added a breathless caveat: “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.”

Despite the original “X-Men: The Animated Series” creator insisting that Morph’s character had not been changed for the new show, Karliak revealed that he had changed the character to better fit the actor’s own gender ideology.

“Sometimes they want a dead-on sound-alike, and sometimes they’re more loose in what their expectations are,” the actor told CBR regarding his interpretation of the character.

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“I really didn’t try to do a sound-alike as much as I used my own voice, because I knew from the casting process that Morph would be non-binary. It was really important for me to ground him in some sense of reality — not try to do a character voice so much as just be me. Knowing that he’s going to change into all these different people and his voice is going to change, it was nice to just have a grounding point.”

Morph is made to sound decidedly more effeminate in this new series, a clear change from the original series’ portrayal of the character.

Nevertheless, although Karliak sees the character as “nonbinary,” it appears that — in the story of the show — Morph doesn’t even know what the word “nonbinary” means.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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