Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will reprise his role as DC Comics’ villainous Black Manta in next year’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. However, Abdul-Mateen is going to get a chance to portray a superhero of his own in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well. Deadline is reporting that Abdul-Mateen has been cast as Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man, for his own upcoming Disney+ series.
Don’t let the name fool you. Marvel’s Wonder Man has nothing to do with DC’s Wonder Woman. Instead, Stan Lee and artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby created Simon Williams as a one-off Avengers villain in 1964. Within his debut story, Simon was a disgraced executive who was given superpowers by the Masters of Evil in return for infiltrating the Avengers and betraying them. Regardless, Simon ultimately sided with the Avengers and turned against the Masters even though it cost him his life.
Wonder Man was revived in the ’70s and he became a regular part of the Avengers comic and a member of the team. He also found fame as both a stuntman and an actor, which sometimes conflicted with his career as a hero.
Abdul-Mateen has extensive genre experience, including his starring roles in Candyman (pictured above), HBO’s Watchmen, and The Matrix Resurrections. He is currently starring in the Broadway revival of Topdog/Underdog.
So far, the only other confirmed cast member for Wonder Man is Ben Kingsley, who will reprise his role as actor Trevor Slattery from Iron Man 3 and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Trevor’s inclusion appears to imply that the Wonder Man series will lean into Simon’s quest to become a rich and famous actor.
Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton will executive produce Wonder Man alongside head writer Andrew Guest. Cretton is also expected to direct the series, which does not currently have a release date.
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