The Blue Beetle Filmmakers Have Sequel Plans, And We Hope The New DCU Gives It A Chance

The hierarchy of the DC universe is changing, and no franchise or hero is safe, especially those with disappointing box office performances — I'm looking at you, "Shazam 2!" Before James Gunn's brand new DC universe officially starts, we still have a few leftover projects to figure out. One of them is "Blue Beetle," the first Latino solo superhero movie in live-action. 

The story follows Jaime Reyes, a kid from El Paso who finds an alien scarab that gives him powers, but may also draw a lot of unwanted alien attention — and we are not talking about Superman.

This is one of the coolest things DC has in the works, one with cultural specificity and a young hero with teenage problems in addition to superhero stuff — which is even more promising now that Spider-Man is leaving that in favor of living alone in a crappy apartment with no family. Plus, this movie can introduce non-Kryptonian aliens to the DC universe.

Because of this, director Angel Manuel Soto is thinking of how to expand the world of Jaime in future installments. As he told a group of journalists at a trailer launch event for "Blue Beetle" that /Film's Jenna Busch attended, "we want to keep some mystery that we can maybe take a deeper deep dive in another movie," Soto explained. 

"We wanted to make [this movie] as personal as possible, and we wanted to do ... almost like a very dramatic coming of age story. Granted, this scarab is from the second sector of the universe. I mean, it has a whole history. And we hint at some of that stuff, but we really didn't want to go the route of making it ... galactic."

A world of possibilities

Indeed, as Soto teases, they can go from an Earth-centric story to something involving the whole universe later. Now, with the confusion about what has and hasn't been canceled at Warner Bros., there is plenty of reason to worry about "Blue Beetle." For starters, this movie was written and presumably completed before Peter Safran and James Gunn joined DC Studios and announced their slate, which is set to reset the entire franchise. 

But canceling "Blue Beetle" after one movie would be a mistake. To introduce a new hero, particularly one that has never been in live-action before, only to can him after just one film — before we get a good sense of who they are — is a bad idea. Blue Beetle as a character has so much potential, with the alien technology aspect opening many doors to exciting stories.

DC has also not had the best track record when it comes to Latino representation. "Batgirl" was unceremoniously canceled. The fate of the new Supergirl is still very much up in the air. With all that in mind, there is reason to be worried about "Blue Beetle," and it is hugely disappointing that there is any doubt about this character's future.

Don't waste this opportunity

Of course, Jaime Reyes being Latino, particularly US-based Latino, adds something we haven't seen in DC: cultural specificity. The previous movies have been so preoccupied with the larger-than-life myths and introducing new worlds and characters that we haven't really had enough time to make the microcosm of the characters feel alive.

Having Jaime, a character whose cultural identity impacts his life and his story adds to the film and the franchise at large. For starters, Jaime's family is a big part of his story. As director Soto previously said, "Peter Parker gets bit by a spider and one of his first instincts is to hide it from his family. Well, if you're from a Mexican family, you're not hiding anything from anybody." This is a small thing that can have huge repercussions.

To end this groundbreaking franchise after one entry, especially if it is only in the name of rebooting and streamlining, would be a colossal mistake that would be a betrayal to DC's Latino audience. We have seen countless Batman stories where the character remains static and we barely get to know those around him, same with Superman. But someone like Blue Beetle, new to film audiences and with cultural specificity, would be a fresh new opportunity to reach new audiences.

James Gunn has said that Blue Beetle being disconnected from the main DC continuity means "he can totally be a part of the DCU," so perhaps there is hope. For now, a lot is riding on the success of "Blue Beetle." Let's hope it delivers when the film hits theaters on August 18, 2023.