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DC Superhero Blue Beetle Is Set To Become First Latino Lead In A Superhero Movie

DC Comics / "Young Justice" / Cartoon Network

There has been an undeniable boom in the amount of superhero movies studios are producing. Yet, when it comes to diversity in those films, there’s a huge gap in the representation of people of color. Notably, Latinos have long been relegated to the supporting or side roles of most major studio superhero movies. However, according to reports, DC is developing “Blue Beetle,” a film based on the Mexican-American comic book character Jaime Reyes. The project will be the first Latino superhero to lead a standalone DC Extended Universe (DCEU) major studio film.

Mexican-born writer Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer will be behind the screenplay for DC’s first Latino-led superhero movie.

Dunnet-Alcocer, the Mexican-born screenwriter, has been tapped to write the script for Blue Beetle. Though other Latino heroes have appeared in DC films—like Jay Hernandez as El Diablo in Suicide Squad —Reyes will be the first Latino superhero to lead in his own DCEU film.

Dunnet-Alocer will be be adapting the story of Jaime Reyes, a Mexican-American teenager who gets his powers after discovering a strange scarab, which attaches itself to him, giving him power armor, weapons and wings. Reyes then takes role of the Blue Beetle, battling enemies on Earth and in space.

DC plans to incorporate the Blue Beetle into it’s wide universe of superheroes and in future films.

Reyes was created by Keith Giffen, John Rogers, and Cully Hamner, and made his first appearance in a 2006 DC comic. Yet this isn’t the first Blue Beetle. The original Blue Beetle character, which debuted in 1939, got its superpowers from a sacred scarab as well. The character was a police officer who fought crime with superpowers. The second version of Blue Beetle was Ted Kord, a student who continued costumed crime-fighting, but had no superpowers.

Reyes’s character has already appeared on the small screen, in the TV series Smallville, as well as in animated form in Young Justice.

When it comes to watching superhero films, Latinos are one of the biggest movie going fanbases.

According to the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA), Latino audiences held the highest per-capita attendance at the movie theaters. Latinos make up 18 percent of the U.S. population and purchase almost a quarter of movie tickets sold. Latinos also made up 22 percent of the audience for “Wonder Woman,” and 21 percent for “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

In a year where “Black Panther” was praised for its celebration of black culture, many Latinos asked when was their moment going come. It might have come sooner if it wasn’t for the recent death of Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee. One of his last known projects was reported to be the development of a Latino superhero. In 2017, he announced that a Latino character was in the works at La Conque, the largest comic convention in Latin America.

“I wanted this to be a surprise, but I’m personally working on a Latino hero, that you’ll be seeing at the end of the year,” he told the AFP at the time. “I want to make him as good as I can, as different as I can.”

The announcement of the film was universally applauded by many happy to see a Latino superhero as the lead role.

While it’s great to hear news that a Latino superhero will finally get it’s own stand alone film, many are still wondering if an Latino will play the role. Hollywood has a history of casting non-ethnic people to play certain lead roles despite the character’s own ethnicity. Some people have taken to Twitter to start putting their name out there for the role.


READ: Here Are 7 Latino Superheroes (Or Villains) You Should Know

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Robert Clemente’s Jersey Number Hasn’t Been Retired But Latino Players Don’t Wear It Out Of Respect

Entertainment

Robert Clemente’s Jersey Number Hasn’t Been Retired But Latino Players Don’t Wear It Out Of Respect

davidsantos8416 / Instagram / Bacalao con Papa

Few players have gained the respect and iconic status in baseball like Roberto Clemente have. A 15-time All-Star, 12-time Gold Glove Award winner, two-time World Series champion for the Pittsburgh Pirates and a member of the 3,000-hit club, Clemente has a resume that few can match. Unfortunately, Clemente died in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972, while helping with earthquake relief from his home of Puerto Rico to Nicaragua. A year later he became the first player from Latin America inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. These reasons alone have made Clemente a legend to so many Latino baseball players. It’s also why so many have refused to ever put on his No. 21 ever again out of respect to Clemente.

Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 is the only jersey number retired across baseball, but many Latino players want Clemente’s jersey to get the same honor.

As well as being great on the field, Clemente was an even better person off of it. He was a huge advocate for Latino players and fought against Jim Crow laws during his era. That advocacy is not lost on players today.

This is why the No. 21 has become, in many ways, a “sacred number” in baseball, especially to Puerto Rican players. According to Baseball Reference, out of the 235 Puerto Rico-born players who have appeared in an MLB game since Clemente’s death 47 years ago, only 16 have used the No. 21 — and none in the past five years.

While Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 is retired and celebrated every April 15th, many think the same should happen with Clemente. Coincidentally, Clemente debuted just two days after Robinson did on April 17, 1955.

“His body of work speaks volumes, so I do think that, as Jackie Robinson represents greatness in baseball and so much more, so does Roberto Clemente, particularly for Latinos all over the world,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló said at an event last year honoring Clemente. “So I think it’s the right time to retire No. 21.”

While it’s been more 40 years since Clemente’s death, many feel now is a great time to honor him.

Latinos have become a growing force in the major leagues and now make up 30 percent of all baseball players. With this growing presence, many feel now is the right time to make Clemente’s jersey retire across baseball.

Despite multiple campaigns and calls for the retirement of the number, there has been little change on the subject. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has resisted the idea of retiring the number. He says the league already honors his legacy with the Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to a player who demonstrates the values that Clemente displayed in his community.

While the No. 21 may not be officially retired, Latino baseball players have in their own special way.

While the Pirates are the only team to have officially retired Clemente’s jersey number, players have chosen to honor him in a different way: by choosing not to wear it all together.

Luis Clemente, the son of Roberto Clemente, has a different idea on honoring his father. He has called for not only a number retirement but a patch on the jersey or hat to be worn by the previous year’s Clemente Award winner. While he hasn’t had official talks with MLB about the proposal, there’s no doubt it would receive support among many Latino players.

“No Puerto Ricans will use the number because of Roberto Clemente,” Houston Astros shortstop, Carlos Correa, 24, told the New York Times. “The way I see it: Roberto Clemente is a figure for Latinos just like Jackie Robinson was for African-Americans. Clemente didn’t just break barriers but inspired other Latinos to get into baseball.”

READ: Trump Put A Stop To The MLB And Cuban Baseball Federation Deal And Here’s Why It Matters

Mexico Is Becoming A Major Source Of Talent And Production For Netflix

Entertainment

Mexico Is Becoming A Major Source Of Talent And Production For Netflix

narcos / romacuaron / Instagram

Mexico has long been a source for original stories and great talent when it comes to film and television. The country has also long exported some of best minds behind the camera, five out of six of the last best director Oscars have gone to Mexican filmmakers Alfonos Cuarón, Alejando Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro. That’s why it’s no surprise streaming giant Netflix is increasing production in Mexico with more than 50 projects in different stages of production over the next two years. With award-winning projects like “Roma” and fan favorite series like “Narcos: Mexico,” Netflix is just tapping into the emerging talent and stories that Mexico has to offer.

While there has been streaming services prior to offer Spanish content, none have the reach and audience like Netflix.

With the expansion and investment in Mexico, Netflix is ushering in a new era for filmmakers, actors and a global audience that will get to view the work. The incoming projects include five new projects, a musical inspired by the music of Pedro Infante, a series of documentaries about the U.S.-Mexico border executive produced by Gael García Bernal, American Jesus, based on a comic by Mark Millar and a anticipated series about Selena. The increase in production is noticeable. As of 2017, only seven Netflix productions were made in Mexico.

“The richness of talent in front of and behind the camera in Mexico was key in our decision to begin our local production strategy four years ago,” Netflix Chief Executive Ted Sarandos said at a publicity event in Mexico City last month.

Netlfix is planning to open a new office in Mexico City to help increase production there.

The expansion to film and produce in Mexico comes natural for Netflix. It was the place where it first started producing non-English original programming when it expanded internationally to Latin America in 2011.

The numbers also show that international expansion is the way to go for the streaming service. More than half of Netflix’s audience is now international, and international subscriptions are growing faster than domestically. In the last quarter of 2018, Netflix added 1.5 million U.S. subscribers and 7.3 million international subscribers — a record increase. Netflix executives declined to release the number of subscribers it currently has in Mexico.

It’s also benefited those living in Mexico by providing job opportunities.
Over 100,000 Mexicans have already worked on Netflix Originals and this will only increase in the coming years.

Lenard Liberman, the CEO of LBI Media, the parent company to Burbank-based, Spanish-language EstrellaTV Networks says the combination of Netflix and Mexico is good sign for consumers.

“The fact that you have a Netflix now and you have independent producers producing, it’s created more diversity and more interesting formats,”
Liberman told The Hollywood Reporter. “Where it used to just be novella novella novella, the fact that there are so many platforms now looking for great content means that there’s a lot of people being creative.

Netflix is giving Mexico a platform to tell it’s stories and give actors from the region a chance to be exposed to a huge audience.

What made productions like “Roma” and “Narcos: Mexico” so successful was the authenticity it provided viewers. Part of that authenticity comes from the on-site location filming that Mexico brings.

The focus on production in the country has also exposed millions to stories and actors who audiences might have never been to introduced to. Erik Barmack, who recently left Netflix to start his own production company after serving as the vice president for international originals, says no matter where the production is filmed or where a story comes from, audiences will always love great content.

“People from around the world are used to watching things subtitled and dubbed — they’re just looking for stories,” Barmack told the LA Times. “They’re not thinking, what’s coming from the U.S. They’re just asking, ‘How do I find the most interesting things from around the world?’”

READ: Once Again, A Study Shows Latinos Continue To Lack Representation In Hollywood

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