Angel Manuel Soto (Charm City Kings) will direct the superhero film starring Mexican-American hero Jamie Reyes.

By Christian Holub
February 23, 2021 at 04:31 PM EST
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Slowly but surely, superhero movies are getting more representative of the global population. The Wonder Woman movies, featuring an indestructible feminist hero trying to save men from themselves, have been the biggest successes of DC's recent crop of live-action adaptations. 2018's Black Panther made a massive cultural impact for featuring a (fictional) independent African country populated entirely by Black heroes — including several powerful women. In the latest sign of progress, EW has confirmed that DC is officially moving forward with their live-action Blue Beetle movie. With Charm City Kings' Angel Manuel Soto tapped to direct, Blue Beetle will be the first major superhero film from Marvel or DC to star a Latino superhero made by a Latino director. The Wrap was first to report the news.

Even more than Marvel, DC superheroes have a tradition of passing down their names and mantles to younger successors over the years. There have been no less than three Blue Beetles throughout comic history. The first was a character named Dan Garrett, first created by Charles Nicholas Wojtkoski and then revamped by Joe Gill and Tony Tallarico. He gained superhuman powers from a mystical scarab. The second character to hold the mantle was named Ted Kord, and he exchanged the mysticism of his predecessor for a tech-based approach to crimefighting. A genius who built himself many useful inventions (most notably a beetle-shaped personal aircraft), the Ted version of Blue Beetle was a major inspiration for the character of Nite Owl in Watchmen. After DC bought the rights to this Blue Beetle (and the rest of Charlton Comics' superhero line) in 1983, Ted became a prominent member of the Justice League until he was killed by Maxwell Lord in the lead-up to the 2005 event Infinite Crisis

Credit: Monica Schipper/Getty Images; DC Comics

What comics take away with one hand, they give with the other. The pages of Infinite Crisis also produced Ted's successor as Blue Beetle. Mexican-American teenager Jamie Reyes found suddenly found himself bound to the mystical scarab. Though it had never worked for Ted, the scarab gave Jamie mystical powers, most notably a set of blue bug-like armor that covers his whole body. It can also produce wings and energy shields, among other things; the full extent of Jamie's Blue Beetle powers is unknown and often surprising. DC continuity went through several revamps in the 2000s and 2010s, which has led to some flip-flopping about whether the scarab is an ancient magical artifact or whether it is actually a weapon created by the alien empire known as the Reach. 

Jamie proved a popular character from the get-go, and has already been featured in multiple DC TV adaptations. He showed up in the final season of Smallville (played by Jaren Brandt Bartlett) and has played a major role in the animated series Young Justice (voiced by Eric Lopez). In particular, season 2 of Young Justice revolved heavily around the threat posed by the Reach and how they hoped to use the scarab to control Jamie and take over the Earth. 

But for all this, Jamie's biggest adventure is still on the horizon. In addition to being directed by Soto, Blue Beetle will be written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (Miss Bala). 

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