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A Blue Beetle Movie Gives Us the First Latinx Superhero to Headline Their Own Film

Jaime Reyes is coming to the big screen.

jaime reyes

Warner Bros. and DC have announced that they’re bringing the Blue Beetle to the big screen. The film will center on the third Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes, making it the first superhero movie centered on a Latinx character. The studio has hired writer Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (Miss Bala) to write the script, but no further details have been released.

Jaime Reyes was created by Keith Giffen (Lobo), John Rogers (Zombie Tales), and Cully Hamner (Red), and made his debut appearance in 2006 in Infinite Crisis #3. The character is a Mexican-American teen living in El Paso, Texas who encounters the mystical blue scarab, which fuses to his spine and can envelop his body in a weaponized armored suit. The scarab is often portrayed as having a mind of its own, resembling an Iron Man suit by way of Venom.

While Jaime Reyes is a relatively young character, the Blue Beetle has been around since 1939, and has gone through several incarnations before landing on Reyes. He began as Dan Garret, a cop who fought crime in a bulletproof suit with superhuman strength courtesy of Vitamin 2X. After Garret’s death, the mantle was assumed by Ted Kord, an inventor and protege of Garret’s. Like many long-running comic book superheroes, the Blue Beetle has undergone a dizzying array of retcons, including versions where he is an archaeologist, a world class athlete, and more.

Blue Beetle will fill a massive void in comic book movies with the inclusion of a Latinx hero. The only other Latinx superheroes we’ve seen onscreen are Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo in Suicide Squad, and there have been zero Latinx Avengers. As for Latinx actors, only Zoe Saldana as Gamora and Michael Peña as Luis, in the Ant-Man movies, make the cut for onscreen representation. Next month’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will center on biracial Miles Morales, and Rosie Perez is set to play Renee Montoya in Birds of Prey next year.

Latinx heroes fare better on the small screen, but not by much. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has featured characters like disabled speedster Yo-Yo Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) and Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna). There’s also Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) on The Flash, which also featured Gypsy (Jessica Camacho) in the third and fourth seasons.

In addition, Marvel’s Runaways on Hulu features superpowered teen Molly Hernandez (Allegra Acosta) and Latinx actress Ariela Barer as Gert Yorke (the character is not Latinx). Finally, Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple has dipped in and out of Marvel’s Netflix series over the years, many of which have now been canceled.

Latinx representation in film and television is growing, but slowly. This year, Latina women made up 7% of all speaking parts in film and television, a record high that is still shamefully low.

Here’s hoping that Blue Beetle will make strides for Latinx representation both in front of and behind the camera. In the meantime, we’re still waiting for a Stephanie Beatriz/America Chavez movie.

(via io9, image: DC Comics)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.