Everything We Know

Blue Beetle: Release Date, Trailer, Cast & More

We break down the classic superhero's comic book origins, as well as new details about cast, location, story, and where it fits in the DC Universe.

by | April 13, 2023 | Comments


Blue Beetle always manages to survive. That fact is a curious part of the character’s longevity. Created in 1939 by Charles Nicholas Wojtkoski for Fox Comics, the character was a Mystery Man in a simple costume. His powers — initially derived by a special pill like Hourman — came to him via a sacred scarab. The mixture of mysticism and derring-do made him popular enough to star in his own radio serial.

With the arrival of the 1950s and a sharp decline in audience for superheroes who were not the DC Trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, Fox sold Blue Beetle and all their characters to Charlton Comics, who would eventually reboot him as Ted Kord, a man who used his prowess for invention instead of a power-yielding scarab to give bad guys what for. Ted’s initial spotlight lasted only a year before Charlton put its heroes on ice, eventually selling them to DC Comics. Like many of the other Charlton heroes, he served as the basis for a Watchmen character (Nite Owl II, to be exact), but also became a popular DC hero in his own right when the Charlton character integrated into the DC Universe and he became a supporting character in the more humor-focused Justice League International.

Concept art for Blue Beetle's suit

(Photo by DC Comics)

But like his predecessor, Ted’s time was deemed to be over. He suffered an ignominious death at the hands of an old ally and, after another DC Crisis, a scarab like the original Blue Beetle’s appeared to bequeath powers to a new character – a teenager by the name of Jaime Reyes who proved to find his own popularity in the pages of a new Blue Beetle comic book and as a key supporting cast member in the animated Batman: The Brave and the Bold series. He also became one of the heroes various DC regimes have tried to get to the big screen for almost 20 years.

And now, his time is coming with August’s Blue Beetle – a film that not only survived the tumult of the last few years, but ascended from a planned launch on HBO Max. How could the character pull this off, and will his adventures matter in the ever evolving DC Cinematic Universe? Let’s take a look at everything we know about Blue Beetle to see if the film is the beginning of a bold, new DC hero film star.

La Historia

Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes in Blue Beetle (2023)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures)

Based on the trailer, it appears the film will age up Jaime ever so slightly – leaving the high school trappings for a different set of heroes – and relocate him and his family from El Paso, Texas to the fictional Palmera City, which was first introduced in the comic miniseries Blue Beetle: Graduation Day (although portions of the film were shot in El Paso). Beyond that, though, many of the details remain the same. Jaime comes into possession of a mysterious alien scarab. It bonds with him — as seen in the trailer’s body horror moment — and provides him with the ability to produce a super-strong exoskeleton around his form. Beyond protecting him from exterior threats, it also allows him to produce various tools and weapons based on whatever he can imagine.

Presumably, he will follow a familiar superhero journey’s arc to learn his powers, come to an accord with the artificial intelligence embedded in the scarab, and discover the true meaning of heroism. Beyond that, though, there will be a fight with Kord Industries, who seeks the scarab for their own purposes, and maybe even a little bit of legacy as the company’s antagonistic ways may be hiding a founder — Ted Kord — who would have been more sympathetic to Jaime.

At least we assume he would be sympathetic. A villainous turn for Ted is one path he rarely walks, if ever.

La Locación

Image from Blue Beetle (2023)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures)

Whether or not the film largely takes place in El Paso or Palmera City (or both), there’s a larger setting to consider: the DC Multiverse. When the film was put into production, it was meant to be part of former DC Films president Walter Hamada’s plan to produce two mid-budget films per year for HBO Max. These pictures would take place elsewhere in the Multiverse, far from the prime reality of the feature films. The two films he set into motion were Blue Beetle and Batgirl. In December of 2021, the former was promoted to a full theatrical release. Batgirl, meanwhile, proved to be the nadir of Hamada’s Multiverse concept as his bosses at Warner Bros. Discovery shelved the nearly-completed film entirely and hired new DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran to build a consistent film universe while downplaying the Multiverse.

For Blue Beetle, that means viewers will watch a film largely unmoored from both the so-called DC Extended Universe and the DCU Gunn is building for 2025 and beyond. According to Gunn and Safran, that in-between status means little; Jaime could continue his hero’s tale in the DCU. Of course, the swiftness of that return appearance will largely depend on box office grosses and other measures of success.

All that said, the film still takes place in a DC Comics world complete with Big Belly Burger (an in-universe burger chain that debuted in a 1988 issue of Adventures of Superman and has appeared in the Arrowverse, various animated projects, and the short-lived DC sitcom Powerless), Kord Industries itself (a company that is usually getting robbed in its other screen stories), and the notion of superheroes. While we doubt any surprise cameos will occur in the movie, expect things like the trailer’s shout-out to Batman.

Los Personajes

Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes in Blue Beetle (2023)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures)

Starring as Jaime Reyes is Cobra Kai‘s Xolo Maridueña, an inspired choice as he has both the physicality of the character and the overall vibe of a Mexican American kid in his late teens. But Jaime is just one part of the equation, as his family has always been an important fixture of his Blue Beetle tenure. Filling out La Familia Reyes are Belissa Escobedo as Jaime’s sister Milagros, George Lopez as Tio Rudy, Adriana Barraza as Jaime’s nana (grandmother), Elpidia Carrillo as mother Rocio, and  Damián Alcázar as father Alberto. To director Angel Manuel Soto, building an authentic Mexican American family with a variety of accents and experiences – a notion backed up by the original comics – was an important part of bringing Jaime to the screen, and judging from the trailer, it appears they will get plenty of time to shine.

Image from Blue Beetle (2023)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures)

Bruna Marquezine plays Jenny (or Penny) Kord, a character described as Jaime’s love interest, while Harvey Guillén will appear in an undisclosed role.

Meanwhile, the bad guys are represented by Susan Sarandon as Victoria Kord – a name that immediately makes us wonder if Ted isn’t somewhere out there waiting for his chance to shine alongside Jaime. At the very least, the trailer confirms Ted’s superhero aircraft, the Bug, will be represented. Meanwhile. Victoria’s forces are backed up by Raoul Trujillo as Carapax the Indestructible Man. The character, although introduced in 1986, was meant to be an adversary of the Golden Age Blue Beetle, Dan Garrett, before becoming a robot (long story), but it unclear if the film will acknowledge all of Blue Beetle’s history. That said, legacy is an important part of many DC heroes and it would be nice for a film to include that sense of history.

Los Cineastas

Blue Beetle (2023) director Angel Manuel Soto

(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Charm City Kings‘ Angel Manuel Soto serves as director. Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer provided the script while DC Studios co-CEO Peter Safran and John Rickard produced the film. Executive producers include Zev Foreman, Garrett Grant and David Siegel. Pawel Pogorzelski serves as director of photography with Jon Billington as production designer, Mayes C. Rubeo as costume designer, and Craig Alpert as editor.

El Estreno

Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes in Blue Beetle (2023)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures)

Proving once again just how well Blue Beetle perseveres, the film is scheduled for release on August 18, 2023 – the same date it has held from the moment it was elevated to a theatrical film. It’s a true rarity when the DC film calendar shifts as often as it does and, hopefully, suggests a future for Jaime, his family, and maybe even Ted Kord.

Blue Beetle opens in theaters on August 18, 2023.

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