Emmy Award-winning actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has just landed his next role in a comic book superhero project. Except this one comes in the form of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Variety reports that Abdul-Mateen has been cast in the titular role for Marvel Studios’ “Wonder Man” television series for Disney+.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Joins The MCU For Marvel’s ‘Wonder Man’
Abdul-Mateen was taped for the Marvel Cinematic Universe project for filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton (“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”), who is developing the show for Marvel Studios with head writer Andrew Guest (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Community”). Variety notes that Cretton may direct the planned Disney+ series as well.
Daniel Cretton’s stock appears to be rising ever since “Shang-Chi.” He was already tapped to direct the next “Avengers” movie, “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty,” which arrives in 2025. He’s also attached to helm a planned sequel to “Shang-Chi.”
Abdul-Mateen previously co-starred in the DC Film Universe for Warner Bros. and DC’s “Aquaman” as the villainous Black Manta. He will once again appear opposite star Jason Momoa for the upcoming sequel, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” later next year.
Another major comic book project for Abdul-Mateen was Dr. Manhattan in HBO’s “Watchmen” television miniseries, which an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. The show is based on the iconic and highly celebrated graphic of the same name novel created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
In the Marvel Comics, Wonder Man is Simon Williams, the son of a wealthy industrialist, whose company goes out of business due to competition with Stark Industries. He’s later manipulated by Baron Zemo into getting superpowers in order to infiltrate and betray the Avengers. However, Simon Williams eventually turns on Zemo and later joins the Avengers and becomes a hero himself.
Also joining the cast is the returning Academy Award-winning actor Ben Kingsley, who is slated to reprise his role as the failed actor Trevor Slattery. Kingsley appeared as Slattery in Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” in 2013 and “Shang-Chi” last year. Considering Slattery’s involvement, it does appear that the show will reference Williams’ background in the comics when he went to Hollywood to become an actor and stuntman.
View this post on Instagram
Disney and Marvel Studios have not yet officially announced “Wonder Man” and Abdul-Mateen’s casting. The show is reportedly in the works for Disney+, and it’s expected to launch on the streaming service at a later date.
Marvel has recently been using Disney+ as a means to introduce and explore lesser known characters through limited miniseries and television specials. Earlier this month, “Werewolf by Night” debuted on Disney+, introducing Gael García Bernal as the titular creature and Jack Russell, along with Ted Sallis, aka Man-Thing.
Other previous MCU projects on Disney+ have included “She-Hulk,” “Moon Knight,” and “Ms. Marvel.” Some of the upcoming MCU series on Disney+ will feature “Ironheart,” “Secret Invasion,” and “Agatha: House of Harkness.”
This role is only the latest in an impressive growing resume for Abdul-Mateen. Also appeared opposite Keanu Reeves in last year’s “The Matrix Resurrections,” and he also starred in the “Candyman” reboot for writer and producer Jordan Peele. Earlier this year, he starred in the Michael Bay action film, “Ambulance.”
“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” featuring Abdul-Mateen as Black Manta, arrives in theaters on December 25, 2023.