Yes, That Morph Moment in X-Men ’97’s Finale Meant Exactly What You Thought It Did

This week’s season finale of X-Men ‘97 brought an emotional, explosive climax to mutantkind’s battle against Bastion and the Prime Sentinels—and the X-Men love nothing more for their soap operatic drama than a big emotional twist while everything’s going bonkers. The finale delivered on that front… although as with a lot of the X-Men’s problems, we’re going to have to wait and see how it pans out.

As the battle on Asteroid M rages around the X-Men in “Tolerance Is Extinction, Part 3” and the team attempts to stop the station from plummeting into Earth in a cataclysmic event, a brief moment cuts to the X-Men’s blackbird jet as Morph watches over a sedated Wolverine, grievously wounded the episode prior when Magneto used his powers to tear the adamantium from Logan’s skeleton. Ouch. In his regenerative slumber, Logan keeps calling out for Jean Grey—but it’s Morph who’s at his side. Realizing they might not get another chance, with the base crashing down around them, Morph mutters to themselves “she can’t say it, but I can…” as they shapeshift into Jean, and use her form to add “I love you, Logan. Stay with me.”

To be fair, Morph has not been a subtle person about their feelings for Logan throughout this season—we’ve seen them spending a lot of time together, and Morph has constantly had a flirtatious vibe with Logan, from thinking he was eagerly following him into the showers in “Fire Made Flesh” (tricked by a supernatural vision of their desires, happens to the best of us) or bringing a six pack of beer and shifting into Logan’s archnemesis Sabretooth for some late night grappling. But just in case you’ve not been picking up what they’ve been putting down—it’s not exactly clear if Logan has been, either—former showrunner Beau DeMayo took to social media in the wake of the finale that yes, that wasn’t Morph trying to reassure Logan as Jean, that was Morph mustering their courage to reveal their own feelings to Logan.

It would make Morph the first explicitly romantically queer character on X-Men ‘97 so far, but as for how it’s going to pan out for them, things might not be so rosy. In the replies to DeMayo’s post confirming the intent behind Morph’s confession, the former showrunner acknowledged that Morph was potentially chasing after a straight man, and that never goes well for queer people. And that’s even before you get to the hot mess of confessing your feelings for someone while wearing the face of the person they have feelings for already. Hoo boy, Morph, you truly are a member of the X-Men with dramatic timing like that! It’s also something that Morph’s voice actor JP Karliak doesn’t necessarily want for the character, either.

“As somebody who’s consumed a ton of queer media over the years–what coded things we had in the ’90s—I think there have been so many stories told about the queer person that’s pining over the straight best friend. Meh!” the actor told Polygon this week about potentially setting Morph up for catching feelings that will go unrequited. “It’s kind of meh to me! I think it’s so much more interesting that they love each other like they’re Frodo and Samwise, and that’s great. It doesn’t need to be more than that. And they can support each other. It makes Morph razzing Wolverine by turning into Jean Grey so much less about like, ‘Oh, I’m jealous, so I’m gonna, like, razz you about your girlfriend who I hate,’ and more about, ‘Hey, buddy, I think this is harmful for you, and I just want to point this out, that maybe you need to move on.’”

Whatever DeMayo and X-Men ‘97‘s creative team has planned for Morph and Logan’s relationship remains to be seen—before DeMayo exited the series, his work had already been completed on season two. But suffice to say, poor Morph is going to be in for a hell of a time between being flung through time, watching the aftermath of the person they’ve caught feelings for get half their skeleton ripped out of their body, and y’know, the whole surviving yet another threat of eradicating their entire kind and the rest of the planet along with them. Business as usual for the X-Men.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.