Yahya Abdul-Mateen II to helm Marvel series for Disney+ – Deadline
EXCLUSIVE: Coming off some of the best reviews of his career for his work in the Broadway revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Suzan Lori Parks play Topdog/UnderdogYahya Abdul-Mateen II is preparing to make the transition from DC to Marvel as the lead for the studio’s Disney+ series Wonder Man.
Created by writer Stan Lee and artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby, Wonder Man was introduced to Marvel Comics in 1964 via The Avengers #9. The character otherwise known as Simon Williams is the son of industrialist Sanford Williams and takes control of his munitions outfit after his demise, seeing its success limited when it comes into competition with Tony Stark’s Stark Industries. The younger Williams gains ion-based superpowers, including super strength, while working under the villainous Baron Zemo and establishes himself as an antagonist to The Avengers, though he later decides to become part of that superhero team.
The live action Wonder Man series was first announced as in development in June, with Shang-Chi mate Destin Daniel Cretton and Hawkeye co-producer Andrew Guest both announced their engagement. Cretton will direct and produce, with Guest as lead writer. As previously announced, the show will see the return of Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley’s Trevor Slattery – the supervillain-turned-good-guy otherwise known as The Mandarin who appeared in Iron Man 3 and Shang-Chi.
Abdul-Mateen is best known in the superhero sphere for his work on HBO’s Watchmen, after winning his first Emmy in 2020 for his turn as Cal Abar/Dr. Manhattan in the show based on the DC Comic from Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore. The actor first linked up with DC with 2018’s Aquaman and will reprise his role as David Kane aka Black Manta in the sequel Aquaman and the Lost Empirewhich is scheduled for release on December 25, 2023.
Abdul-Mateen has also appeared in films including Ambulance, The Matrix ResurrectionsNia DaCosta’s Candyman sequel, Aaron Sorkin’s Oscar-nominated drama The trial against Chicago 7Jordan Peele’s second feature Us and Michel Gracey’s The Greatest Showman. Additional TV credits include Black mirror and The Get Down. Other upcoming projects for the thesp, who set up both production company House Eleven10 and a creative partnership with Netflix in 2021, include FX’s limited series Scent of burnt flowers based on Blitz Bazawule’s novel, which House Eleven10 will produce; the action thriller Dwayne Johnson Emergency phone, which he will star in and produce; and the Amazon Studios film I helped destroy peoplebased on Janet Reitman’s 2021 New York Timeswhich he will produce with Michael B. Jordan.
Abdul-Mateen is repped by WME, M88 and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole.