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Shang-Chi director will produce Marvel’s Wonder Man series

There’s a long list of Marvel characters who could conceivably hold down their own show on Disney+. In this year alone, Marvel Studios has debuted new series centered around Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel. But the next hero in line for Disney+ stardom is considerably further down on the depth chart. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel Studios is bringing Wonder Man to Disney+ as an original series.

Apparently, this show is already further along than most. Marvel has already lined up Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton to executive produce Wonder Man and potentially helm some episodes as well. Former Hawkeye and Community writer Andrew Guest will also executive produce Wonder Man and serve as the head writer.

Despite his relatively obscure standing in the public consciousness, Wonder Man has been around in the Marvel Universe for almost sixty years. His alter ego, Simon Williams, was introduced in the pages of The Avengers #9 by Stan Lee, along with artists Jack Kirby and Don Heck. Simon was an unlikely criminal who embezzled money from his family’s company before he received the offer of a lifetime from Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil. In return for super strength, flight, invulnerability, and a slew of other abilities, Simon agreed to become a sleeper agent within the Avengers.

Jeff Johnson's cover for Wonder Man #1.

Naturally, this deal came with a catch: Simon’s life depended upon a special serum that only Zemo could give him. And he needed it once a day. Regardless, Simon couldn’t bring himself to go through with betraying the Avengers and he died a hero. Several years later, Simon was revived and seemingly cured of his dependency on Zemo’s serum. Because of the heroism he showed before his death, Simon was also invited to join the Avengers.

So, why make a show about Wonder Man when he has rarely held down his own comic book series? Marvel and Disney+ haven’t shared their plans for this incarnation, but in the comics, Simon reinvented himself as an actor and a stuntman. That’s largely unexplored territory in Marvel’s live-action adaptations and a natural fit for a more comedic take on the character.

Ironically, Wonder Man was almost seen in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Director James Gunn commissioned fake movie posters of Nathan Fillion as Simon Williams starring in a movie based on a minor Marvel character named Arkon. However, those images were ultimately cut from the film.

Wonder Man will likely begin production next year, and a 2024 debut on Disney+ seems likely.

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