Marvel’s Wonder Man – Amazing Superhero, Terrible Actor
Marvel’s ionic-powered Wonder Man is getting his own series soon – but who is he, and how does he fit into the MCU?
If you’re not a comic book nerd, you may be asking: why is this rando superhero with an old-school name getting a show? While he’s not the most prominent name these days, Wonder Man is one of Marvel’s strongest Silver Age heroes and has links to some of the publisher’s biggest teams.
Who is Wonder Man?
First Appearance: The Avengers #9 (October 1964)
Created By: Stan Lee (writer), Jack Kirby (artist), Don Heck (artist)
Simon Williams took over his father’s industrial munitions plant after his death. Simon proved to be a competent scientist but a not-so-competent businessman. The company began to fail. His brother, Eric, suggested that he embezzle from the company and invest in Eric’s illegal racketeering business. After taking Eric’s advice, Simon landed in jail and blamed his fate on successful industrialist Tony Stark.
Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil broke Simon out of jail to use his hate of Stark to get him to do dastardly deeds. He gains superhuman powers thanks to an infusion of ionic energy. The Baron built a catch to ensure Simon’s loyalty–he had to get regular treatments or die.
With his powers in place and a new super identity created, Wonder Man was instructed to infiltrate and trap the Avengers. Simon’s better nature won out. He repented at the last minute and saved the Avengers from the Masters of Evil’s plan – at what appeared to be the cost of his own life. Instead, he fell into a coma.
While He Was Away
His body then went on its own adventures while he was out. His brother Eric, now the Grim Reaper, used it to bribe Vision unsuccessfully. Black Talon revived it as a zombie and used it to attack the Avengers. Living Laser restored Simon to consciousness during that fight, and he became an ally of the Avengers in battles against Ultron and others. He went on to found the West Coast Avengers.
Wonder Man has had a bunch of odd solo adventures, including becoming a (terrible) Hollywood actor, gaining Hulk powers, and dating Scarlet Witch and Carol Danvers (not at the same time). He was gender-swapped into Wonder Woman in a What If? issue. He also has one of the best friendships in the Marvel canon with Beast.
Powers and Abilities
Wonder Man suffers from a lingering fear of death or slipping into a coma again and some significant self-confidence issues. Despite that, and without his superpowers, he’s proven to be a great ally and fighter. He has a great intellect.
Baron Zemo’s ionic infusion makes him a near Superman. It gives him superhuman strength, speed, and durability. His ionized body can withstand substantial impacts, including breaching planetary atmospheres and repelling bullets. He can fly, teleport, and leap great bounds. In some versions, Simon can change size, shapeshift, and manipulate energy.
Like Superman, he does have a few significant weaknesses. Energy weapons and anionic devices can disrupt his ionic powers. Wonder Man has also gone through bouts of extreme pacifism that have prevented him from fighting.
Wonder Man in the MCU
Marvel announced Wonder Man in June of 2022 with an initial release window of 2023-2024. The series has Destin Daniel Cretton (Shang-Chi) attached as showrunner, with Andrew Guest (Hawkeye) as head writer. Abdul Yahya-Mateen II is playing Simon Williams. Ed Harris is playing Simon’s agent Neal Saroyan and Demetrius Grosse (Justified) is playing Simon’s brother Eric Williams/Grim Reaper.
There are no clues as to where Wonder Man will end up on the good/evil spectrum in the MCU. Given the current projects Marvel is working on, it could be either. It looks like he’s being tied into Shang-Chi and Iron Man via Ben Kingsley’s Trevor Slattery, who will also appear in the show.
Filming began in early April 2023 and is on pause until the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA can come to a deal. A new release date hasn’t been set.