Why We're Excited About Xolo Maridueña Starring In the 'Blue Beetle' Movie
Here’s the deal: I realize that Blue Beetle isn’t a household superhero name. If anything, it kind of sounds like a store-brand knock-off of Green Hornet or something. And if you don’t know the character, you won’t care about who’s playing him. So I’m going to give you a quick one-sentence summary of BB to get you excited about his upcoming movie: Imagine if Venom made sweet love to Iron Man and they had a baby who became a Latino Spider-Man.
At least, that’s the Jaime Reyes version of Blue Beetle. Over the years, different characters used that name. In the ‘60s, Blue Beetle was a guy named Ted Kord, created by Steve Ditko around the time he came down with lethal Rand-ium poisoning. This Beetle was a genius in great shape who used a bunch of spy/superhero gadgets, and he was actually supposed to appear in Watchmen, but then DC asked Alan Moore what he was planning to do with him, and he sat there silently for five minutes before whispering “… nothing weird.” So Moore was forced to create a Kord stand-in, and that’s how we got the second Nite Owl.
Jaime Reyes only first appeared in comics in 2006, but he instantly became a fan favorite. The Reyes Beetle is a Latino teenager from El Paso who gets an alien scarab on his spine that talks to him, sometimes tries to get him to kill people, and can encase him in a sci-fi armor capable of flight and shooting powerful energy blasts.
But while not out superheroing, Jaime is just a regular kid with his own problems (that the scarab proposes to explode away), which stem from him being a teenager and a minority. The upcoming Blue Beetle movie, which will go into production next year, will focus on this version, and they’ve found the best person to play him.
The role of this vulnerable character who suddenly gains great power from a source that’s not always the best influence on him, but which mostly has good intentions, has gone to Xolo Maridueña. You probably know him best from Cobra Kai, the sequel series to the Karate Kid where he plays Miguel, a bullied kid who learns karate from Johnny Lawrence, the villain of the first movie, while also helping his sensei shed his asshole persona and forming an almost father-son relationship with him.
Or, in other words, he plays a vulnerable character who suddenly gains great power from a source that’s not always the best influence on him but which mostly has good intentions.
Great. Barely 20 years old and already weirdly specifically typecast. That’s Hollywood for you.
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Top Image: Netflix, DC Comics