Who is Blue Beetle, the Star of DC’s First Latino Superhero Movie?
Although DC Studios had a rough start at competing with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the franchise seems to be finding a groove in 2023 with “The Flash” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” both arriving in theaters this year, as well. However, DC’s “Blue Beetle” is breaking ground as the first standalone superhero movie to star a Latino.
Before we get into the movie, we wanted to take a look back at the character’s origins. Similar to different incarnations of Spider-Man, Green Lantern, and The Flash, Blue Beetle wasn’t always a person of color. To better understand the significance of the new movie, we need to know more about how Jaime Reyes became Blue Beetle.
Who is Blue Beetle (and who created him)?
Fox Comics first introduced Blue Beetle — created by Keith Giffen, John Rogers, and Cully Hammer — in 1939 as the superhero alter ego of a cop named Dan Garret. The character gets his powers from something called Vitamin 2X and works with a local pharmacist to maintain his supply throughout the series.
Blue Beetle was part of the “Golden Age” of comics, a period between the late 30s through the 1940s that introduced heroes like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Flash, and many, many more.
However, by the end of the Golden Age, Blue Beetle was mostly irrelevant. Fox Comics eventually shut down in the 1950s, at which point they sold the Blue Beetle rights to Charlton Comics. They retained the character’s alter ego, “renaming” him Dan Garrett.
Garrett, a college professor in Charlton’s reimagining, passed the torch down to his student, Ted Kord, in 1966. His tenure as Blue Beetle was brief. By 1968, Charlton Comics discontinued the Blue Beetle story until DC Comics purchased the characters wholesale in 1983 when Charlton went out of business.
Kord maintained his status as Blue Beetle in the late 1980s. He was even part of the Justice League for a brief period. However, the character found a new audience in 2006 when DC rebooted the character as Jaime Reyes. That character also had a hard time connecting with audiences. However, things did trend upward.
With a solo series and occasional crossovers with teams like Teen Titans, Reyes is arguably the most successful incarnation of the character thus far. Although the character never really found the mainstream success of his Justice League counterparts, Blue Beetle seems like a perfect addition to the DCEU.
Iron Man was not well-known when the MCU introduced him in 2008
Like Iron Man before him, Blue Beetle is a lesser-known hero who has the potential to become a really big deal. He’s a young, Latino character with surface-level similarities to characters like Spider-Man and The Flash. Structurally, his costume isn’t dissimilar to Iron Man’s and the emphasis on the character’s family will likely attract audiences.
Audiences are now more likely to give superheroes they’re not familiar with a chance. Hugely popular series like the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies and the “Ant-Man” movies starred heroes who were not well-known when audiences were introduced to their on-screen counterparts.
So, who is Jaime Reyes? He’s a Mexican kid from El Paso who loves his family above all else. After his exposure to an extraterrestrial scarab gives him superhuman powers, he accepts his responsibility as a crime-fighting teenager who must balance his new alter ego with the strains of his personal life.
The DC movie swaps out El Paso for a fictional city called Palmera City. According to a recent panel, producers wanted Reyes to have a unique hometown like Batman’s Gotham City or Superman’s Metropolis. Additionally, “Cobra Kai” star Xolo Maridueña will play the titular character with co-stars George Lopez and Susan Sarandon.
“Blue Beetle” hits theaters on August 18. Check out the official trailer!
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