Remember when many folks didn't know who Iron Man was? Now, a Wonder Man Disney Plus series is coming (though Marvel Studios hasn't formally announced it). And before you can ask: no, Wonder Man is not related to Wonder Woman. That's DC and Marvel, and this isn't 1996 anymore (RIP Amalgam Comics).
The good news, though, is that the news of a Wonder Man series shows that Marvel apparently hasn't lost its eye for casting. Its rumored star, who we'll get to in a moment, has already proven himself as a great actor — and a talent when it comes to appearing in comic book adaptations.
Wonder Man, for those who don't know, is an interesting character in the Marvel Comics world. He's been both a villain and a good guy, and has worked against and alongside the Avengers and other major Marvel characters. And his origin story has shades of Tony Stark's, at least when it comes to family businesses.
Most interestingly of all of this is that this upcoming Marvel series appears to be a comedy. That speculation on our part is due to Wonder Man's head writer — who worked on two of the best sitcoms in recent years.
But, to backtrack just slightly, there is a bit of DC in this upcoming Marvel series news. That's because Marvel's apparently-chosen star has appeared in not one but two DC projects — and has been aces in both ventures.
Wonder Man cast: Who is Wonder Man?
Right now, only two actors are apparently signed onto this upcoming Disney Plus series (one that Disney hasn't confirmed, we should note) — and Deadline (opens in new tab) broke the news on the show's star.
And that actor is Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Well-known for his role as Manta (aka Black Manta in the comics) in DC's Aquaman movie, Abdul-Mateen II also appeared in Watchmen, one of the best HBO Max shows in another iconic role (one we won't spoil for those who let that fantastic show slip under their radar).
Abdul-Mateen II has done more than adaptations of comics, as he's recently been praised for his performance of the Suzan Lori Parks play Topdog/Underdog. The actor has yet to acknowledge the rumors on his social media, but that's not surprising, as Disney hasn't formally announced it yet.
Ben Kingsley is the other reported cast member, as Variety says he's signed on to reprise the role of Trevor Slattery, last seen in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Wonder Man crew
The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) broke the news that writer-producer Andrew Guest (Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Community) will be the head-writer, and Destin Daniel Cretton (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) is going to executive produce and "possibly direct an episode or more."
The two will serve as co-creators for Wonder Man.
Wonder Man release date speculation
Right now, based off the the movie timelines shown at Comic-Con 2022, Wonder Man feels like it could be a Phase 6 release that would come out somewhere between Fall 2024 and Summer 2025. Much later than the Ironheart series.
Since it hasn't been announced yet, we think it could be in the later end, with the summer of 2025 at the earliest. Deadpool 3, for example, is due Nov. 8, 2024. Since Wonder Man is still in the casting stage, it seems like it may not be a part of that run, and it could come out in Phase 7 for all we know.
Unlike the X-Men, Marvel hasn't even teased Wonder Man's arrival.
Who is Wonder Man? Secret identity and history
Wonder Man's entry to the world of heroes and villains has some similarities to Iron Man's story. Simon Williams' father Sanford Williams ran Williams Innovations, a munitions company that was passed to Simon upon his father's passing. Tony Stark's Stark Industries was too strong a competitor, and Williams family problems got worse when Simon's brother Eric convinced him to invest in his own company — which was into illegal racketeering.
Soon, Simon found himself working with the original Baron Zemo (Baron Heinrich Zemo, not to be confused with his son Helmut Zemo, who is played by Daniel Bruhl — last seen in the MCU in The Falcoln and the Winter Soldier). Zemo's next upcoming Marvel movie is not confirmed nor teased.
Back to Simon: through Baron Zemo, Williams gained ion-based superhuman powers, including enhanced strength. This is where he first donned the guise of Wonder Man. Zemo would later talk Wonder Man into infiltrating the Avengers, but he would soon save the super-team.
Wonder Man even became an Avenger, and one of the founding members of the Avengers West Coast team. He was supported by Ant-Man Hank Pym and The Vision to overcome his fears of death and failure. He would later refuse to help restore Vision completely, which put him at odds with The Scarlet Witch. This could tie into the reported Vision Quest series (opens in new tab).
Wonder Man also came across the X-Men team member known as The Beast, as well as Kang the Conqueror. All of the above means that Wonder Man seems like he could possibly appear in the next Avengers movies.