Does anyone remember Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s breakout role in Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down? The sheer funky charisma he showed on that tragically short-lived show has led to mega-sized roles in projects as varied as Candyman, Aquaman, The Matrix Resurrections, Watchmen, Ambulance, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. This news was perhaps inevitable, because Abdul-Mateen is headed to Marvel. The unexpected part is that he’ll be starring in the upcoming Wonder Man series.
Variety confirms a ScreenGeek rumor making the rounds that Abdul-Mateen will play Simon Williams in the Wonder Man series headed to Disney+. Wonder Man is a vital member of the Avengers, but he began as a villain. Williams’ family’s industrial business was run out of business by Tony Stark, and so he turned to a life of crime. Gaining ionic energy powers with the help of Baron Zemo, he battles the Avengers before becoming a good guy himself. It’s worth noting that Wonder Man also has intense romantic feelings for Scarlet Witch, and his brain patterns were eventually used to build part of Vision’s personality. So we could see some weird love triangle shit emerge from this.
Nathan Fillion was cast as Wonder Man for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 but those scenes were eventually cut other than the odd background poster or two. Fillion did eventually voice the character in Hulu’s MODOK animated series.
Of course, this all depends on how much they plan to follow the comics. Another part of Wonder Man’s story is his connection to Hollywood as an actor. Since there seems to be a comedic angle to this series, with Ben Kingsley’s Trevor Slattery turning up, they will probably decide to play up that angle. Wonder Man is, other than maybe Hank Pym, one of the most emotionally complex members of the Avengers. His personality has shifted like the wind many times.
I expect there will be outrage by some toxic, fragile men that a Black guy will be playing Williams, but who cares about them? Abdul-Mateen is an incredbile actor, and he’ll be mint in the MCU.
The series is led by producer and Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton, with Andrew Guest (Community) writing the scripts.