• X-Men: The Animated Series legacy lives on with the revival X-Men ’97, featuring familiar voices and new talents for fan-favorite characters.
  • Morph underwent significant changes in X-Men: TAS, from being killed off early to being brought back with a darker, morally gray personality.
  • Morph’s return in X-Men ’97 showcases the character’s evolution, now identifying as non-binary with a unique appearance, bringing new depth to the team.



X-Men: The Animated Series endures as a Marvel classic with its comic-accurate character designs, iconic theme music, and some heartbreaking narratives that might have been a bit dark for children’s television. Originally airing on Fox Kids, the legacy of X-Men: The Animated Series continues with the Disney+ revival X-Men ‘97. All the more exciting is that the X-Men ‘97 voice cast finds many returning stars as the fan-favorite characters. At the same time, some of these characters have changed over the years, with some of them being voiced by new talents. A case in point is the shapeshifting mutant Morph.

While the morally conflicted character was voiced by Ron Rubin in the original run, Morph is now voiced by Spidey and His Amazing Friends alumnus J.P. Karliak. With Morph, aka Kevin Sydney, joining the MCU timeline with X-Men ‘97, the ever-metamorphosizing hero has gone through some major changes. This evolution is unsurprising considering the ups and downs that Morph has witnessed since the 90s-era series’ two-part pilot episode “Night of the Sentinels.” Back then, even the showrunners wouldn’t have thought of how popular this relatively niche mutant would become in the face of leads like Wolverine and Jean Grey.


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Why X-Men: TAS Killed Morph So Quickly

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Morph looking scared in X-Men The Animated Series

X-Men: The Animated Series sought to respect its source material from the very first episode, with the writers’ room making enough room for Easter eggs. While the violence in the show was toned down from the comics, the showrunners were intent on killing off a main character in the pilot itself. The sacrificial lamb was initially intended to be Thunderbird, the mutant who kicked off the Second Genesis incarnation of the team in Giant-Size X-Men. One of Marvel’s most promising Indigenous characters, Thunderbird was killed off in the very first mission.


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But the possibility of killing off the team’s only Native American character in the pilot would have been even darker, the reason why X-Men: The Animated Series decided to introduce Morph and kill him off instead. Originally appearing as Changeling, aka Kevin Sydney, in the comics, the shapeshifter was mostly reduced to an obscure, minor character, so making Morph’s animated debut a short-lived affair seemed fair to the character. While fighting off the Sentinels, Morph is killed in an explosion, setting a more mature tone for the show and shocking audiences the same way as Thunderbird’s demise in the comics.

Why X-Men: TAS Brought Morph Back

The Morally Gray X-Men Became One Of The Breakout Characters Of The 90s Series

Upon the release of its first season, X-Men: The Animated Series garnered a dedicated fanbase not just for mainstream faces like Storm and Rogue but also for niche characters like the late Morph. The slain mutant’s chameleon-like abilities, awkward sense of humor, and ill-fated debut won over audiences, and Morph surprisingly emerged as one the most popular characters of X-Men: The Animated Series. The book X-Men: The Art and Making of the Animated Series by writers Eric Lewald and Julia Lewald revealed that despite his death, Morph struck a chord with young audiences and he was resurrected at the network’s request.

The show’s breakout character was aptly resurrected in the sophomore season’s two-parter “Till Death Do Us Part.” It was revealed that Morph survived the Sentinel explosion and awakened a darker personality out of frustration that the other X-Men left him to die. Serving the supervillain Mister Sinister, Morph’s struggles with facing his inner demons and betraying his close allies made him more morally gray in comparison, a major departure from the character’s initially humorous demeanor. Bringing back Morph worked in favor of X-Men: The Animated Series not just for mere fan service but for adding more layers to his personality.

Morph Is Returning In X-Men’97

How Has Morph Changed Over The Years?

Split image of Morph from X-Men '97 and X-Men: The Animated Series
Custom image by Sean Migalla

Other than the episodes covering his death and resurrection, Morph’s appearances in the series became more sporadic even though he did make it to the ensemble in the open-ended series finale “Graduation Day”. More than three decades later, X-Men’97 continues the mutant team’s saga with Morph going through quite a change. Joining the X-Men again and giving up the persona of Kevin Sydney, Morph now identifies as non-binary and appears in a featureless form with white skin and no facial lines. Morph went through a lot in X-Men: The Animated Series, but the character is finally back where they belong.

X-Men 97 Disney Plus TV Series Poster

X-Men ’97

X-Men ’97 is the direct continuation of the popular 1990s animated series X-Men: The Animated Series. Taking up where the third season left off, Marvel’s revival brings back famous mutants such as Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Gambit, Cyclops, Beast, Magneto, and Nightcrawler, who fight villains like Mr. Sinister, the Sentinels, and the Hellfire Club.

Jennifer Hale , Chris Potter , Alison Sealy-Smith , Lenore Zann , Cal Dodd , Catherine Disher , Adrian Hough , Ray Chase , Chris Britton , George Buza

Release Date
March 20, 2024


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