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'Just another word for shapeshifter': X-Men creators scold fans over 'nonbinary' character for Disney+ reboot
Images via @MCUFilmNews / X

'Just another word for shapeshifter': X-Men creators scold fans over 'nonbinary' character for Disney+ reboot

The original creators of "X-Men: The Animated Series" defended a recent change for the Disney+ reboot of the show in which one of the characters has been remodeled as "nonbinary."

As Blaze News previously reported, a shapeshifting character named Morph was reimagined as a "nonbinary" person for the Disney+ iteration of the show called "X-Men '97."

"This is a lighter take on the character, who is nonbinary and has an interesting buddy relationship with Wolverine. The character's past with Mister Sinister, the show's villain, could also come into play," former Executive Producer Beau DeMayo stated.

This caused an uproar from fans as Morph's entire look was changed for the new, nonbinary direction, looking rather alien-like in the latest version of the show compared to how he was originally portrayed as a generic male character in the 1990s cartoon.

Creator Eric Lewald, his wife and writer Julia Lewald, and director Larry Houston spoke about the controversy, largely defending the change by claiming being nonbinary is the same as being a shapeshifter.

"For me, the word ‘nonbinary’ is the same as the word ‘shapeshifter,'" Houston said. "Every character that can change from one gender to another, or from human to animal, that’s just another word for ‘shapeshifter’ for me," he told Variety.

"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," Eric Lewald said. "That’s as nonbinary 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. 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," he added.

Julia Lewald chose to scold fans who took issue with the change:

"Did we teach you people nothing? Were you not watching?" she asked. "Did we not figure out how to be nice to each other and how to get along? It’s very odd to feel like we are still dealing with the same issues that we were dealing with 30 years ago. It’s painful," she explained.

Voice actor Lenore Zann took a similar tone and stated that the "message needs to be spread throughout the world right now."

"I hope we can bring hope to people and to children so they can look to the future and go, 'I have a place in this world. I belong, and it’s OK to be different.'"

Aside from fan controversy, the show has dealt with internal issues leading up to the reboot's launch. DeMayo, the aforementioned former executive producer, was fired a bit more than a week before his project premiered.

Marvel had no comment on the matter and DeMayo went silent taking his Instagram account offline, the Hollywood Reporter noted.

While no official reason for his departure was known, speculation swirled around his consistent controversies. In 2023, he reportedly announced he was deleting his Twitter account after coming under fire for allegedly whitewashing a character named Sunspot, a Brazilian who appeared to be tan in earlier versions.

DeMayo faced criticism for casting actor Gui Agustini in the role, even though he is Brazilian.

DeMayo, who is also reportedly a gay black man, allegedly posted shirtless photos of himself online and operated what has been described as a non-explicit account on the site OnlyFans, which is known for pornography.

Nonetheless, Morph was an iconic character as he appeared in the very first episode of the original cartoon and is the only character to undergo such a drastic reimagining.

In addition to complaints of other character-model tweaks, the show has likely had far more controversial moments before its launch than it should; however, this could, of course, translate to a greater number of eyeballs.

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Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados is a writer focusing on sports, culture, entertainment, gaming, and U.S. politics. The podcaster and former radio-broadcaster also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which he confirms actually does exist.
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