Conservatives are just finding out the X-Men are woke

Marvel’s X-Men have always been a crystal clear metaphor for marginalized people. They’re mutants, shunned by society, relegated to being second-class citizens — it’s an allegory meant for all ages, obvious enough that even children can pick up on it. But apparently, conservatives only just got the memo, and they’re immediately crying “woke.”

The discourse comes courtesy of a trailer for a new X-Men series coming to Disney+: X-Men ‘97, a sequel to the hit ‘90s cartoon X-Men: The Animated Series. Set in 1997, the new series picks up where that show left off. The trailer sees beloved characters like Wolverine, Storm, and Cyclops rocking fabulous ‘90s fashions and kicking ‘90s butt.

One X-Man got a notable update to their character: Morph, a shapeshifting hero who will be portrayed as nonbinary this time around.

“This is a lighter take on the character, who is nonbinary and has an interesting buddy relationship with Wolverine,” the series’ former showrunner, Beau DeMayo, told Empire Magazine. “The character’s past with Mister Sinister, the show’s villain, could also come into play.”

In a superhero squad that’s always been metaphorically linked to queer folks, a canonically nonbinary hero fits right in. But conservatives didn’t see it that way, going into a frenzy over an imagined bastardization of their favorite characters.

People took issue with everything from the existence of a nonbinary character to the updated designs of characters like Rogue having “no ass.” (Remember, this show is meant for children.)

One hater even took issue with a frame showing an ad for a mutant fashion show. Apparently, wearing clothes is too woke for right-wingers.

The rest of the internet was quick to swoop in and set the record straight. Their message boils down to a simple truth: If you can’t pick up on the X-Men’s queer subtext (and its pre-existing gay characters, like Iceman), you really can’t consider yourself an X-Men fan. And if you’re not an X-Men fan, then what are you so angry about?

The account that shared the news of Morph’s updated character, X-Men Updates, also responded to the backlash with a follow-up post.

“The X-Men have and will always be symbols for inclusion and diversity,” the account wrote. “If you’re a bigot and have a problem with that, you’re not an X-Men fan and you don’t understand the slightest thing about them.”

Luckily, X-Men comes with a built-in metaphor for the anti-woke crowd, too. One shot in the trailer shows an angry mob protesting against civil rights for mutants. As one user pointed out to anyone complaining about queer representation, “You’re the bad guys in the trailer! Not the cool ones. You’re the sh*tty ignorant racists in the background!”

X-Men ‘97 premieres on March 20 on Disney+.

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