Blue Beetle director Angel Manuel Soto recently claimed that the upcoming DC film is part of James Gunn’s planned DC Universe set of films.
Angel Manuel Soto recently spoke with Total Film via Games Radar and told the outlet, “We are part of the universe, we are part of the world, we are part of the plans that they have been creating for the future instalments of the DCU.”
He elaborated, “But we are not tied to all the films from the past. Yes, our movie lives in the world where superheroes exist. But that doesn’t mean that a certain event, or certain alliance, or certain things from the past dictate where our film is going.”
Soto also teased he has plans to turn Blue Beetle into a trilogy and noted this first film is the first act in his hoped for saga.
He explained, “Our first movie, the way we wanted to do it, was always with the mentality that we wanted to do two more, at least. And taking the traditional three-act structure of a story, we wanted our first movie to practically be the first act of a saga.”
Soto’s comments come after James Gunn cryptically told Michael Rosenbaum on his YouTube show Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum, “The first DCU character for sure is Blue Beetle, and the first full DCU movie is Superman.”
Gunn previously indicated when he announced his upcoming DCU slate that he would be labeling non-DCU projects as DC Elseworlds.
He explained, “If something is outside of that like Matt Reeves’ Batman or Todd Phillips’ Joker or Teen Titans GO! that it is clearly labeled as DC Elseworlds outside of the mainstream DCU continuity.”
Specifically discussing Blue Beetle during the announcement he said, “And then to move into Blue Beetle, a fantastic film about a kid who is a marvelous part of the DCU.”
However, when he got to Superman: Legacy he said, “The big one, the true beginning of the DCU. This is called Superman: Legacy. This is being written by me. I’m in the middle of it. I’m having a great time doing it. And Superman will be released into theaters July 11, 2025.”
So it’s still unclear how the Blue Beetle film ties into the DCU. It seems apparent that the character played by Cobra Kai’s Xolo Maridueña will join the DCU, but it’s unclear what kind of connection the film has to the DCU.
While it’s unclear what Gunn and Soto actually mean in regards to the film and character’s relationship to the DCU, it is a different way of marketing the film compared to previous films made under the old regime before Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav came in and hired Gunn and Safran as CEOs of DC Studios.
Director David F. Sandberg previously implored potential moviegoers to go see the film in the hopes that future films featuring Shazam! could be made.
He tweeted, “He definitely won’t if people don’t go see this movie. What I’ve been told is that there’s nothing in the Shazam films that contradict the future plans for DC. So the possibility for more Shazam is there and if that’s what you want your best bet is to go see the film.”
The film’s screenwriter Henry Gayden also told The Hollywood Reporter that the character’s fate on the big screen depended on the film’s box office prospects, “As far as Shazam moving forward, they’ve said that, if this movie does well, then we can continue in their universe. So it’s really kind of contingent on this weekend, and the next weekend and the weekend after that.”
The film never caught lightning and only grossed $132.2 million globally on a $125 million production budget. Meaning the film probably lost a little over $180 million using the standard 2.5x the production budget to hit break even calculation.
The Flash director Andy Muschietti would make similar comments while promoting his film when he was asked about a potential sequel. He told ComicBook.com, “We didn’t talk about it. I think that we’re all waiting to see how this movie does.”
He added, “Of course, there’s excitement about continuing the story, especially if this movie’s successful. Of course, there’s an architecture in DC that is brewing, and it’s being created. And the question is, will this new architecture absorb this story?”
“The good thing about the multiverse is that it is possible. The multiverse allows all of this different worlds to coexist and interact. And so hopefully, yes. We don’t know yet. That’s the truth,” he concluded.
Promoting Blue Beetle as already having a place within the DCU regardless of whether or not the film does well at the box office is definitely a new marketing strategy. It will be interesting to see if the strategy works out or not.
However, the film already has a lot going against it with the director wishing for the assassination of President Donald Trump and calling Puerto Rico a slave colony.
On top of Soto’s comments, Maridueña also began promoting the film using tired identity politics. He told Empire, “The goal was to create a movie for a young me and a young Angel [Manuel Soto, the film’s director,] that said, ‘Hey, man, someone who looks like you or comes from a similar background can be a superhero.”
He added, “The second thing was to open more doors for people like us. As fun as it is to get into this superhero world where everything is [dialled up to] 110 per cent, [it’s] the characters… that I’ve [most] related to.”
Susan Sarandon also marketed the film with identity politics claiming that her villainous character, Victoria Kord, is the “white military industrial complex.”
She specifically told Jimmy Fallon, “What’s fabulous about [Blue Beetle] is it’s the first Latinx hero that has his own movie. Even better all of the Mexican — because his family is Mexican and all the actors were Mexican and it’s in Spanish so it’s subtitled.”
She then shared details about her character, Victoria Kord, “I’m, of course, the bad guy. I’m the white military industrial complex.”
“So I had a fabulous time because there’s nothing better than being bad,” she added.
But maybe the biggest thing the film has going against it is that the movie’s first trailer features George Lopez’s character calling Batman a fascist.
What do you make of Soto’s comments about Blue Beetle being part of the DCU?