Who Is Wonder Man? Everything You Need To Know About The New MCU Hero Heading To Disney+

For nearly 15 years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been thriving on the big screen. In that time, True Believers have seen some of the biggest superheroes of all time like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor star in their own incredible movies. As the years went on, Marvel Studios has been able to bring a few deeper cuts from your local comic shop to the mainstream, like Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Shang-Chi, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. And now that Disney+ has been such a huge success for Kevin Feige and company, the floodgates are wide open to explore even more as shows like "WandaVision," "Ms. Marvel," and "She-Hulk: Attorney At Law" make a splash on the streaming service.

When it comes to the future of the MCU, it seems like the studio is fully prepared to bring just about any Marvel Comics character into live-action as long as there's a good story to be told. We've seen that most recently with characters like Moon Knight, Werewolf By Night, Echo, Daredevil, and the Eternals. And based on the latest reports, Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man, looks to be the latest hero from the Marvel pantheon to get the Disney+ series treatment, with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II playing the role.

But just who is this person with the moniker Wonder Man? Is he some glorified background character? Or is he Marvel's answer to Wonder Woman? All of these are fair questions, as even some of the most devoted Avengers fans aren't super-familiar with the character. However, that doesn't mean that he doesn't have what it takes to be the next beloved hero in the MCU. So until we officially meet him onscreen, here's everything you need to know about Wonder Man.

Wonderful beginnings

Simon Williams was created in 1964 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Don Heck for "The Avengers" #9. After his father died, Simon took over the family's industrial munitions factory called Williams Innovations when his older brother Eric declined. While he was a capable scientist and electrical engineer, he was no businessman and the company started to flounder against competition like Stark Industries. At the urging of his brother, Simon tries to embezzle funds from the failing company and gets caught. Angry at Tony Stark, Williams joins forces with Baron Zemo and forms a plan with the Masters of Evil to take down the Avengers from the inside.

Now dubbed Wonder Man and imbued with ion-enhanced strength and durability, Williams infiltrates Earth's Mightiest Heroes and lures them into a trap. And as extra insurance, Zemo reveals that after the treatments that gave him powers, Simon must now take periodic doses of a serum that only the Masters have access to in order to stay alive. Wonder Man carries out the mission as planned, until he has a change of heart at the last minute and decides to save the Avengers instead. This choice seemingly costs him his life, but Williams' body just enters a catatonic state. And in the hopes of reviving him one day, Hank Pam records Wonder Man's brain patterns into his computer for safe keeping.

After that, Wonder Man didn't appear in Marvel Comics for four years because Stan Lee didn't want to be accused of copying DC's Wonder Woman, according to a 1964 interview in Crusader Fanzine. But in a 1978 interview with The Comics Journal, Lee revealed that they started using the character again after DC introduced Power Girl following the creation of Marvel's Power Man because it seemed "unfair."

It's complicated

Wonder Man was back in play by August 1972 for "The Avengers" #102 ... except that he technically wasn't. In that story, his comatose body makes a cameo appearance to recount the events of his introduction. Then, Kang the Conqueror uses Simon's body to fight the Avengers in 1975. Black Talon does the same thing the following year. And finally, the Living Laser also pulls that trick in "Avengers Annual" #6. All this was happening while Simon's brother, Eric, who was now known as the Grim Reaper, tries to get revenge on the team for "killing" his brother.

During this time, Ultron also took advantage of Wonder Man's mind in his suspended state. The robotic menace was so inspired by Grim Reaper's plight to avenge his brother that Ultron decided to create a family member of his own by combining Williams' brain patterns with robotic technology based on himself and the original Human Torch. The result of Ultron's experimentations was The Vision, who also started out as an Avengers villain but eventually switched sides and became a part of the team.

Of course, things got even more complicated when Scarlet Witch entered the picture. As founding members of the West Coast Avengers, Vision eventually accepted Wonder Man as his brother. However, Simon began developing feelings for Wanda, who is technically his sister-in-law since she married Vision. So when Vision is dismantled and requires a new personality matrix, Simon refuses to donate his brainwaves again because of these feelings. Also, because he didn't exactly give his consent the first time around since he was in a coma. But when Wonder Man eventually came around, it was Vision (the all white version that recently set his MCU return) who refused since he was his own person now. 

Man about town

After that, Wonder Man would become part of a number of teams including The Defenders, Force Works, The Revengers, and The Lethal Legion, in addition to aligning with various Avengers from time to time to form the Dark, Mighty, and Uncanny iterations of the team. However, he would also supplement his superhero life with a bit of entertainment work on the side. At first, Williams would take on small film roles and serve as a stunt man due to his invulnerability. But eventually, he would become a full-fledged Hollywood A-lister in the Marvel Universe.

Already incredibly rich because of Williams Innovations bouncing back, Wonder Man was living an extravagant celebrity lifestyle already. In fact, during his time on the Avengers, he formed a close bond with fellow Avenger and X-Men team member Beast. They were a fan-favorite duo that loved going out on the town. These super drinking buddies even continued this dynamic after both of them left Avengers Mansion.

Although, while it never really seemed like his acting career would interfere with his superhero work, his celebrity status did create some trouble for him during the first Superhuman Civil War. While being accused of misappropriating funds from his non-profit organization, Wonder Man is blackmailed into working with Iron Man's pro-registration faction. Similar to Captain America in "Spider-Man: Homecoming," Williams becomes the public face of Stark's campaign by appearing in commercials that educated the unregistered and the general public about the Superhuman Registration Act.

As seen in

As previously mentioned, Simon Williams will be starring in his very own Disney+ show, presumably called "Wonder Man." Rumored to start filming in 2023, the new series will be directed and executive produced by "Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings" filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton and will feature Andrew Guest of "Community," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and "Hawkeye" fame as the head writer. While details are currently under wraps regarding what the series will be about, "Watchmen" and "Aquaman" star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will star as the titular hero and Ben Kingsley will reprise his fan favorite role of actor and Morris' buddy Trevor Slattery.

However, this isn't the first time that Simon Williams was set to appear in the MCU. Originally, James Gunn planned on bringing Nathan Fillion in as the charismatic hero for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2." However, Fillion's scenes ultimately ended up on the cutting room floor. Also, "scenes" isn't really the right word, as Gunn would later explain on Twitter (via Yahoo, since the tweets appear to be deleted) that Fillion's Wonder Man was only meant to appear in the film on movie posters as a gag.

The "Firefly" star would eventually get to play Williams in a Marvel project, albeit not in live-action. He appeared on an episode of Hulu's "M.O.D.O.K." opposite Patton Oswalt to voice a version of Wonder Man that was an actor and "pending Avenger." But now, thanks to the multiverse, different variants of this character can exist in our world and True Believers can look forward to Abdul-Mateen's take in the relatively near future.