The “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” actor makes his Marvel debut with the upcoming Disney+ series “Wonder Man,” helmed by “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” director Destin Daniel Cretton before he directs “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.” “Hawkeye” co-producer Andrew Guest will also write the series. A Marvel Studios representative confirmed the casting news to IndieWire.
“Wonder Man” was introduced in 1964 with “The Avengers” comic book series, created by writer Stan Lee and artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby. Known as Simon Williams, Wonder Man is the son of industrialist Sanford Williams and assumes control of the conglomerate following his passing, seeing its successes limited when it comes into competition with Tony Stark’s Stark Industries. Per an official synopsis, the younger Williams gains ion-based superpowers, including super strength, while working under the villainous Baron Zemo and establishing himself as an antagonist to The Avengers, though he later decides to become part of that same superhero team.
The Disney+ show was announced in June 2022. Cretton will direct and executive produce, with Guest as head writer. Ben Kingsley also reprises his role as Trevor Slattery, also known as The Mandarin who appeared in “Iron Man 3” and “Shang-Chi.”
Emmy winner Abdul-Mateen starred in HBO’s “Watchmen” as Dr. Manhattan, and also starred as the Black Manta in the two “Aquaman” films. Additionally, Abdul-Mateen led Michael Bay’s “Ambulance” opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, as well as “The Matrix Resurrections,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” and “Candyman.”
Abdul-Mateen is confirmed to also lead FX limited series “Scent of Burnt Flowers,” Dwayne Johnson action film “Emergency Contact,” and the Amazon Studios adaptation of the 2021 New York Times article “I Helped Destroy People.”
Earlier this year, Abdul-Mateen likened the DCU to “clown work” in terms of having fun with superhero films.
“Everything should be about getting to the truth. But sometimes you got to know which movie or genre you’re in,” Abdul-Mateen told Vulture. “Something like ‘Aquaman,’ that’s clown work. ‘Aquaman’ is not ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7.’ You have got to get over yourself.”
He continued, “In order to survive and to do it well, you have to play that game and then be crafty about when you want to surprise the audience, the director, or yourself with a little bit of, ‘Wow, I didn’t expect to see a Chekhovian thing or August Wilson and Aquaman, but I did.'”