Marvel Studios Casts Aquaman Star as Newest MCU Superhero Wonder Man

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Marvel Avengers

Marvel Studios has cast the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom star to play Simon Williams in the upcoming Disney+ series Wonderman.

Wonder Man has been on the table for the MCU since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in 2017, for which James Gunn actually cast Nathan Fillion in the role before his material was cut from the film. Since then, Shang-Chi and Avengers: The Kang Dynasty director Destin Daniel Cretton has joined the project, with Shang-Chi and Iron Man 3 star Ben Kingsley also set to reprise his role as Trevor Slattery in the series.

Kingsley has since shared his thoughts on coming back for a third MCU entry, expressing the feeling that his responsibility is to "constantly surprise and refresh" with regard to his appearance in the show.

But now, with Trevor Slattery in tow, the big question is who exactly will take on the leading role of Simon Williams? Well, Marvel appears to be looking at a major DC star as he leaves his role from the Aquaman franchise in the past.

Aquaman Star to Head Marvel Disney+ Show

Yahya Abdul Mateen II
Gage Skidmore

Deadline revealed that Marvel has cast Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as the lead in the upcoming Wonder Man series on Disney+. The show will feature Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton as an executive producer and director while Hawkeye co-producer Andrew Guest will serve as head writer.

This marks Abdul-Mateen's first outing with Marvel Studios after playing the villainous Black Manta in 2018's Aquaman and 2023's Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

New Approach for Abdul-Mateen II With Marvel?

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has certainly made headlines in the news stream over the past few months, although not all of it has been in the most positive light.

In late August, he made some disparaging comments about his time in the Aquaman movies, calling his work "clown work" and leaving many to wonder if he felt that way about the superhero genre in general. Clearly, he sees what the MCU is doing as something vastly different from the DCU as he takes on his third superhero role and his first as a leading man.

This show will put Abdul-Mateen's Simon Williams right in the middle of Hollywood, as Williams is deeply embedded in the world of movie-making and entertainment during his time in the comics. This could play out similarly to how Eternals' Kingo became a Bollywood movie star, although this will focus much more heavily on that aspect of the leading character as his story evolves in the MCU.

Now that Abdul-Mateen has this responsibility, it may lead one to wonder if Aquaman 2 will be his final outing as Black Manta for the DCU. With that movie now more than a year away from its debut after countless delays, the star will be in an interesting position as he promotes roles for both companies over the coming years.

While Wonder Man doesn't yet have a production timeline and is absent from Marvel Studios' confirmed upcoming confirmed slate, this announcement should push that date closer as the MCU looks to introduce one of its most unique stories to date.

- In This Article: Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
Release Date
December 22, 2023
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.