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.
A Mexican-American teenager from El Paso TX will be @TheDCUniverse's newest cinematic super hero, and Mexican-born writer Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, who wrote “Scarface,” has been tapped to write the screenplay! #RepresentationMattershttps://t.co/Hv8bY37AMQ
— Voto Latino (@votolatino) December 3, 2018
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.
— Geeks of Color (@GeeksOfColor) November 29, 2018
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.
I did watch he was amazing, then they took him off. That's a show, I want a full movie dedicated to a Latino character. Warner bros is making a Blue Beetle film which I give them so much credit for. Latinos make up 25% of the comic book genre audience. Yet we have nothing
— Jimmy Carson Embiid (@Thetownofshizzl) December 3, 2018
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.
Hey so WB/DC is developing a live action Blue Beetle/Jaime Reyes movie with a Latino lead. Can y’all help me get this out there by retweeting?
Time to finally have a Latino Superhero as the lead in a big film!! pic.twitter.com/grWjk8A9RH
— Armani (@armani_salado) November 30, 2018
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.