Marvel Finds Star For ‘Wonder Man’ TV Series

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A hero (and villain!) from DC is crossing over to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It looks like the reported (but not officially announced) Marvel TV series based on the long-running Avenger character Wonder Man has found its lead actor. Variety reports that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has been chosen to play Simon Williams, the man who becomes the Marvel hero known as Wonder Man.

The character has a somewhat complicated backstory in Marvel Comics, so it remains to be seen how much or how little of his established continuity gets utilized in the series. In the pages of The Avengers, Williams first appeared as a villain who blames Tony Stark for his going to jail after a business scheme gone wrong. He is given super powers by Baron Zemo and joins the Avengers as a spy on Zemo’s behalf, but then decides to use his powers to help the team and dies a hero.

Years later, Wonder Man was resurrected and became a long-standing member of the Avengers and West Coast Avengers teams; he frequently fought with his brother, who became the super-villain known as the Grim Reaper. In one of Wonder Man’s more famous periods, he uses his powers of strength and invulnerability to become a successful Hollywood stuntman. Variety claims it “does seem likely” that this will be the version of the character in the TV show “as Ben Kingsley is set to return as failed-actor-turned-reformed-villain Trevor Slattery, which he originated in 2013’s Iron Man 3 and reprised in Shang-Chi.”

Abdul-Mateen previously appeared as Doctor Manhattan in the HBO miniseries version of Watchmen. He also plays the villainous Black Manta in Aquaman and its upcoming sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Of course, Abdul-Mateen would be far from the first actor to play both Marvel and DC superheroes (or supervillains).

The Wonder Man series is being developed at Marvel by writer Andrew Guest and director Destin Daniel Cretton, who previously made Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and is also expected to direct the upcoming Avengers sequel, The Kang Dynasty.

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