Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Mateen II is in talks to lead the Disney+ series Wonder Man as Simon Williams, who’s alter-ego is the titular superhero.
Destin Daniel Cretton (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) is developing Wonder Man with head writer Andrew Guest.
Guest is head writer of the series, while Cretton will exec produce and possibly direct an episode or more. This project is part of Cretton’s overall deal with Marvel Studios and Onyx Collective.
Created by writer Stan Lee and artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby, Wonder Man/Simon Williams is one of Marvel’s oldest characters, first introduced in 1964 in the pages of Avengers No. 9. Williams is the son of a wealthy industrialist whose company, Williams Innovations, is run out of business due to competition from Stark Industries. In desperation, Simon turns to Baron Zemo, who gives Simon superpowers and directs him to infiltrate and then betray the Avengers. Eventually, however, Simon joins the Avengers in earnest, and is even a founding member of the spin-off team, the West Coast Avengers. However, it’s unclear how much or little of this storyline will make its way into the series.
If Abdul-Mateen takes on Wonder Man tis will be his third major comic book characer — and first for Marvel. Abdul-Mateen played the villain Black Manta in 2018’s “Aquaman” and Dr. Manhattan in HBO’s 2019 series “Watchmen,” for which he won an Emmy. He’s already set to reprise Black Manta in “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” currently scheduled for Christmas 2023.
Abdul-Mateen last appeared opposite Jake Gylenhaal in the Michael Bay action movie Ambulance and appeared in The Matrix Resurrections and Candyman before that.