Morph Actor J.P. Karliak on X-Men ’97, Favorite Scenes, and Hollywood Typecasting

John Nguyen

“This one’s for you, Morph!”

X-Men ’97, the revival of the ’90s X-Men animated series, debuted on Disney+ today with the first two episodes. It’s a return to form with many of the original voice actors reprising their roles and the iconic X-Men animated show theme song still exciting fans after all these years.

Morph is back, and this time the mutant shapeshifter is voiced by J.P. Karliak, whose credits include Wile E. Coyote in New Looney Tunes, Dr. Nefarious Tropy in Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, Boss Baby in The Boss Baby: Back in Business, Green Goblin in Spidey and His Amazing Friends and many more.

With voice acting, J.P. Karliak can morph into all types of characters in popular animated and video game titles including Family Guy, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, Spider-Man 2, Starfield, Fortnite, and Minions: The Rise of Gru.

“When I started out in Hollywood, I was pursuing on camera and then also started pursuing voiceover simultaneously,” J.P. Karliak tells Nerd Reactor. “And while I found myself being typecast a lot with on camera in terms of… it was just a lot of like, ‘Hey, Mary,’ that type of those different roles. With voice acting, I was doing so many different things, like so many different roles. I mean, one of my earliest roles was with Skylanders, and I was playing an undead Australian werewolf rocker guy. And I was like, ‘Okay, yeah, there’s a lot more variety here.’ Yeah, that’s what I’ve really loved about it is that I’ve played so many different characters. One would argue that many of my characters have gone to a good college. But other than that, I’ve really gotten to play such a diverse group of people, which has been really fun.”

In X-Men ’97, Morph is the comic relief of the team and loves to joke around, especially in front of serious characters like Wolverine and Cyclops.

“Yeah, I love being the comic relief,” the actor said. “I’m a huge fan of that. He’s got some really fun one-liners and zingers and yeah, I really enjoy that. I also really enjoy that he is a collaborative character in that I play him, but then anytime I’m turning into somebody else, that other person who voices that character gets to do a version of me. Like when I turned into Jean and then Jennifer Hale gets to do me, I loved what she did.”

The animated X-Men title sequence is back in X-Men ’97, and there are new updates including Morph having his own spot. Karliak talks about seeing that for the first time in a packed theater during the premiere.

“But for me, the big shocker was the title sequence,” he revealed. “I didn’t think my character got to get the big dramatic reveal in the title sequence. And I mean, talk about iconic. My jaw was on the floor.”

Morph has dealt with a lot in the X-Men series, and that tragic backstory will play a part in the actor’s performance.

“He’s funny, there’s always the one-liners, there’s the comic relief element, but he does have that tragic backstory,” Karliak said. “I mean, you see it in that in that opening credits, in addition to the gorgeous reveal with the title with the name, there’s also that little cut of him shooting at something and then you see the eyes of Sinister appear and terrifying him. So he’s got that always in the back of his mind. So you want to make sure that that the humanity, that trauma, that heart still plays.”

X-Men ’97 features plenty of cool superhero moments, especially when the X-Men are kicking ass.

“Hearing Storm for the first time,” Karliak said about his favorite moments. “Hearing Alison’s iconic voice start to majestically speak the lines of Storm or to hear Rogue with that adorable scratchy Southern drawl. Just all those little iconic things; they just made me giddy hearing them. So yeah, those are some of my favorites. Obviously, I love Jen Hale playing me. Thank you.”

About X-Men ’97

Synopsis: Storm and Wolverine try to continue the X-Men. Magneto comes in and wants to step up for Charles Xavier. Sinister comes in to try to end the X-Men once and for all.

The revival series is created by Beau DeMayo and is based on the X-Men created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

The voice talents are Jennifer Hale as Jean Grey, Ray Chase as Cyclops, Lenore Zann as Rogue, Call Dodd as Wolverine, George Buza as Beast, J.P. Karliak as Morph, Adrian Hough as Nightcrawler, A.J. LoCascio as Gambit, Alison Sealy-Smith as Storm, Matthew Waterson as Magneto, Holly Chou as Jubilee, Isaac Robinson-Smith as Bishop, and Gui Agustini as Roberto Da Costa.

X-Men ’97 premiered the first two episodes on Disney+ on March 20th, with the eight remaining episodes released weekly.