In the throwing of yet another wrench into James Gunn’s desired ‘fresh start’ for DC Studios, Blue Beetle director Angel Manuel Soto has confirmed that his upcoming film will feature direct references to the now de-canonized Man of Steel.
Soto revealed Blue Beetle’s apparent connection to the Snyderverse during a promotional interview given to Spanish-language entertainment news site Desde Hollywood.
Asked by the site’s founder Nestor Cine for his thoughts on the excitement for the film emanating from its pre-release fanbase, Soto opined (translated via this article’s author and DeepL), “For me, it’s very important that the movie is about [the experience of being Latin American] as well as the power of community. And [that excitement] is something that gives me a lot of hope for the future.”
“And not just [the hype] from the Blue Beetle Battlalion,” he then asserted, making reference to the collectively agreed upon ‘meme name’ for the online Blue Beetle fandom, “but in Mexico they were running ‘escarabajeate’ [a trend which saw fans making various memes whose punchlines made reference to the film’s release date]. So they follow each other, make up [non-serious] things that I say, or constantly saying ‘Azul Agosto’ (Blue August), and that is so genuine.”
It was then, in turning to reflect on how inspiring it was that he was able to experience this atmosphere of excitement while in Mexico, that Soto revealed that his film made reference to Snyder’s take on Big Blue.
Recalling the former DCEU architect’s July 30th tweet wherein he informed his followers, “Looking forward to taking my kids to see Blue Beetle. #RepresentationMatters”, Soto beamed, “Waking up in Mexico to the news that [Zack] Snyder also wants to see it, a director that I respect so much, whose films are an immense influence on me,” before admitting, “In Blue Beetle there are some references to Man of Steel that we made out of honor and respect for the work and art of Zack Snyder”
“Also, seeing David Ayer sharing [Snyder’s tweet]…It’s like, ‘WOW, brother!’,” he concluded. “It feels nice to have that support from people that one respects and that the fans also respect.”
As noted above, this confirmation that Jamie Reyes’ solo outing will connect to Man of Steel serves as yet another confusing twist in Gunn and his DC Studio co-head Peter Safran’s plans for the comic book publisher’s cinematic future.
During a June appearance on Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast, Gunn confirmed to the Justice League/Unlimited voice actor that “The first DCU character for sure is Blue Beetle, and the first full DCU movie is Superman.”
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To this end, Soto himself has since affirmed that Blue Beetle is wholly disconnected from the events of the Snyderverse.
“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,” the director told Total Film just days after Gunn made his comment. “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.”
In the interest of fairness, Gunn has previously admitted that, contrary to his initial plans, The Flash “resets many things, not all things, [and while] some characters remain the same some do not,” and as such it would not be out of the question for the film to feature a small callback to the Snyderverse.
However, Blue Beetle‘s inclusion of specific references to Man of Steel flies directly in the face of Gunn’s infamous recasting of Henry Cavill as Superman, and thus any mention of his version of the hero would serve only to confuse both audiences and the DCU’s new timeline.
Of course, it’s possible that this concern over the new DCU timeline could all be for naught, as despite Gunn and Soto’s above confirmations that Blue Beetle is essentially the ‘prologue’ to this new endeavor, star Xolo Maridueña has seemingly indicated that the bug-themed hero’s future depends on the success of his solo film.
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Asked by Fandango’s Naz Perez during an August interview, “Have you had any conversations with James Gunn about the future of Blue Beetle because he has a connection to Peacemaker in the comics, would you want to appear in Peacemaker Season 2 or the Booster Gold series?”, Maridueña responded, “I have had the please of getting to speak with Mr. James Gunn and the whole DC fam. And, you know, at the end of the day I think, you know, first, we have to cross this first hill and introduce Jaime to the world.”
“But I think it’s up to the audience to watch the movie,” he added. “It’s up everyone to show up for the movie and it’s so wonderful that we get to make movies like and if it does well we’ll get to open more doors for more Blue Beetles and not even just for the people up here, but we’ve got a whole thing set up. So many Beetles to choose from. So many comics to choose from and really just a whole world.”
As of writing, the potential-maybe-first-chapter of Gunn and Safran’s new DCU hits theaters on August 18th.