Earlier this month, after several years in development, DC’s Blue Beetle movie finally found its lead. Cobra Kai star Xolo Maridueña has been cast as Jaime Reyes, the fan-favorite teen superhero who gains an alien battlesuit thanks to the Blue Beetle scarab. The news came as a complete shock to fans, and that’s because there wasn’t a long hunt for someone to play Reyes beforehand. Maridueña was the first and only choice for the role.
Director Angel Manuel Soto revealed all to The Hollywood Reporter. The Charm City Kings filmmaker explained that he’d met Maridueña at the Sundance Film Festival a few years ago, which meant that the actor immediately came to him as the perfect choice for Jaime when he signed on to helm the movie. The studio didn’t need to host the usual exhaustive search for the right person for the job, and Maridueña was hired straight out the bat.
“His persona is pretty much the character of Jaime Reyes,” Soto revealed about his leading man. “It was a natural fit.”
Prior to him officially joining the DC universe, Maridueña was a popular fan cast for Marvel’s Nova, so clearly the star was destined to make his mark on the superhero genre. In fact, Maridueña has the honor of being the DCEU’s first leading Latino superhero.
He found out the life-changing news in what he describes as an “Aston Kutcher Punk’d-style” prank.
Maridueña attended a dinner in Pasadena for what he thought was a meet-and-greet with DC Films president Walter Hamada and Warner Bros. exec Galen Vaisman—only to find Soto, screenwriter Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, and others from the team sitting at a nearby table. He was offered the job on the spot. Hamada revealed to THR that things got “emotional.”
“He got very emotional,” Hamada recalled. “Later we called his mom. Angel actually spoke to the mom and said, ‘I’m asking your son to be our Blue Beetle,’ and he started to cry a little bit.”
Though Maridueña is locked in as Jaime Reyes, we still don’t know much else about Soto’s Blue Beetle movie, apart from the fact that it’s headed for HBO Max. Hopefully we’ll receive some further casting news—maybe for Booster Gold or Ted Kork?—soon.