The search for Marvel’s Wonder Man has ended… in the DC world. According to Deadline’s reporting, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will take on the role of the protagonist in the new series on Disney+. The director of Shang-Chi, Destin Daniel Cretton, and Aquaman producer, Andrew Guest, are presently working on a live-action series, and the Aquaman actor will play the main role in the next project (producer of Hawkeye). The series does not yet have a release date, and it was anticipated that it would not be available for many years. However, the announcement of the main cast members is likely to kick-start production of the series sooner than was originally anticipated.
In the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has already portrayed two major characters, the most notable of which was his role as Cal Abar/Dr. Manhattan in the critically acclaimed HBO series Watchmen. For this performance, he was awarded the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.
The announcement that a Wonder Man series was in the works was first broken exclusively by Giant Freakin’ Robot a year ago; however, Marvel did not make the news public until June of this past year. The series will be written by Guest, while Cretton will direct the episodes.
When Marvel announced the series, they also confirmed that Ben Kingsley, winner of an Academy Award, will be reprising his role as Trevor Slattery, better known as The Mandarin, in the series. Iron Man 3 and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings were the two prior movies in which Kingsley has portrayed this character.
Wonder Man, also known as Simon Williams, is famous for his eyes that glow red and his mutant-like abilities that are based on ions. These abilities include superhuman strength and speed. Wonder Man was a villain when he was first created in 1964 by Jack Kirby, Don Heck, and Stan Lee. However, Wonder Man soon changed his allegiance and joined the Avengers, whom he had previously been an adversary of. It is probable that the series is a set-up for Yahya Abdul-Mateen II to make an appearance in a movie somewhere between the years 2025 and the upcoming new Avengers films that will be released as part of Phase Six of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
After graduating from Yale with a degree in theater, the native of New Orleans had his acting debut in the Netflix series The Get-Down, playing the role of Cadillac. He then went on to make his feature film debut in the drama The Vanishing of Sidney Hall, which was released in 2017. After that, he had parts in the films Baywatch and The Greatest Showman, but his performance as David Kane/Black Manta in the 2018 blockbuster Aquaman was his most high-profile role at the time. Baywatch and The Greatest Showman are both directed by Rob Reiner. In the film Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which is scheduled to come out on December 25, 2023, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will play the character once again.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has also been seen in the action film Ambulance and gained a name for himself in the role of the regenerated Morpheus in the film The Matrix Resurrections, which was released in 2021. In addition, he has roles in the most recent Candyman sequel/reboot, Jordan Peele’s Us, the Academy Award–nominated film The Trial of the Chicago 7, and the Netflix original series Black Mirror.
Most recently, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was seen on Broadway in the production of the play Topdog/Underdog, which was written by Suzan Lori Parks and won the Pulitzer Prize. His next appearance will be in the film Emergency Contact, which is being directed by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Wonder Man almost went in a very different way than what Marvel had originally planned. Nathan Fillion, who stars in Firefly, recorded a cameo performance as Wonder Man for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but the scene was ultimately scrapped.