It’s time to give the DCEU a chance again with Blue Beetle. The latest superhero film from the MCU’s biggest competition is set to be released on August 18, 2023. The Blue Beetle release date, however, might be subject to slight variations depending on the region.
Blue Beetler marks a rather significant milestone for the DCEU or DC Extended Universe (film mythos) since it’s the first movie under a new creative head, James Gunn.
James Gunn is more prominently known for directing the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy. With Peter Safran, he now heads the new DC Studios, which has since rebranded DCEU to DCU with Blue Beetler acting as a soft reboot for the canon.
Meanwhile, Blue Beetle was directed by Angel Manuel Soto and it’s the third feature film he has directed.
Blue Beetler has been in development for nearly five years, starting in November 2018 and wrapping up filming in 2022 with a budget of $120 million.
Who is Blue Beetle?
Blue Beetle is not exactly one of the most popular DC characters, and outside of comic books and a few shows featuring Batman, he hasn’t had much spotlight in the mainstream media.
He’s a superhero who’s most comparable to someone like Spider-Man (and his many variations) from Marvel. Blue Beetle is a normal and optimistic teenage boy from Earth named Jaime Reyes who happened to cross paths with the Scarab. It’s an ancient biotechnological weapon that functions like Iron Man’s armor, practically an exoskeleton superweapon.
In the DC comic books, Blue Beetle’s Scarab is one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. They’re made by a civilization of alien conquerors called The Reach, who fought the Green Lantern Corps and actually forced the intergalactic peacekeepers to a stalemate. Just for the record, the Lantern Ring wielded by the Green Lanterns was considered the most powerful weapon in DC.
So this puts into perspective how powerful the Scarab is, putting it nearly on the same level as a Lantern Ring.
It’s also worth noting that Scarabs were living weapons made by The Reach to take over the hosts with whom they fused. The Scarabs were a deniable and covert way of dominating and conquering planets after The Reach’s prohibitive stalemate treaty with the Green Lantern Corps compelled them to stop invading planets.
Blue Beetle was a Special Case
Jaime Reyes, a.k.a. Blue Beetle, however, was an anomaly and managed to regain control of his mind and body despite fusing with the Scarab, which was a good thing for Earth; otherwise, he would have conquered it for The Reach.
That’s part of what makes Jaime such a special character. He’s literally carrying around a superweapon but instead chose to be an altruistic and benevolent part-time savior (full-time teenager like certain other superheroes).
As for his Blue Beetle powers, here’s the full suit (pun intended, perchance):
- Super strength
- Rapid healing
- Energy absorption
- Armor configuration/regeneration (technomorphy)
- Energy shields
- Energy cannon
- Weapon morphing
Of course, there are traits from the host, Jaime, that keep the Scarab in check from being too destructive. Jaime’s upbeat and responsible personality makes him the ideal countermeasure against the disastrous and hostile Scarab.
The Story So Far
All that expansive and elaborate lore should build up to something promising in the movie adaptation, which is Blue Beetle‘s first major spotlight.
For the most part, Blue Beetle is an origin story, and it will play out like a lot of introductory superhero movies (likely similar to the first Spider-Man movie in a trilogy).
That means the villain in Blue Beetle isn’t really anything high-stakes, like a galactic threat or an apocalyptic entity. Instead, it’s just a CEO named Victoria Kord who will stop at nothing to acquire the Scarab, even if it means peeling it off Jaime Reyes’ corpse.
What’s interesting about the choice of villain is that Victoria Kord in the comic books wasn’t even evil in the comic books. She’s actually the sister of Ted Kord, who was the second Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes is the third and youngest Blue Beetle in canon lore).
We could be seeing an old vs. new premise here since she might be trying to restore her old Blue Beetle brother back to his former glory or is just envious of the power. Along with Victoria Kord, Conrad Carapax will also be joining her in the hunt for Blue Beetle.
In the comic books, he’s an archeologist who’s a major rival to Daniel Garrett, the first Blue Beetle in DC.
Where Does Blue Beetle Fit in the DCU?
The more important question for the near future is how or where Blue Beetle will usher in the whole franchise.
James Gunn has laid out his roadmap for the DCU, starting with Blue Beetle, hence a lot rests on this DCU debut film. According to James Gunn, Blue Beetle is also isolated enough in its own lore vacuum that the filmmakers or creative heads could reactionarily decide what to do with it and its place in the DCU.
After all, they are taking a substantial risk here since Blue Beetle doesn’t have the same mass appeal as the original or mainstay members of the Justice League, like Superman, Batman, The Flash, or even Green Lantern.
Still, it’s a fresh new story and a clean slate for the whole DCU. Whether the aforementioned Justice Leagues heavyweights will join the fray this early on in the franchise’s second wind remains to be seen.
As for cameos and future superhero setups, that remains to be seen. Placing some superhero Easter eggs or hints of involvement from other DC names is expected. But with James Gunn’s presumably reactive approach to Blue Beetle, it’s also fair not to expect too much and just enjoy the film for what it is instead of its contributions to the franchise as a whole.
Again, you can catch a glimpse of Blue Beetle once it drops in theaters worldwide starting August 18, 2023.