Why the Blue Beetle Movie Changes Jaime Reyes’ Hometown

Blue Beetle star Xolo Maridueña has explained why the DC film takes place in the fictional Palmera City, rather than Jaime Reyes’ original hometown of El Paso, Texas.

“It was definitely a big decision to change the story from El Paso, where all of the Jaime Reyes comics take place, to Palmera City,” Maridueña sad in an interview with Entertainment Weekly (which took place before the SAG-AFTRA strike). “But the reason we did that is because in a lot of the Jaime comics, a lot of the stories that are being told have themes of what I would deem border-town stories, where we explore what life is like when two cultures mix, and the issues and triumphs that arise. We wanted to bring that experience to a worldwide scale.”

The actor continued, “We thought it might hit hard for people in America and Mexico who understand that Texas kind of narrative, but we wanted the story to really transcend both the Mexican market and the American market. We felt creating Palmera City was the perfect way to do it because it’s a metropolis of Latinos. It has the sound of a Miami and the look of a Los Angeles and the style of Barcelona. It really felt like an all-encompassing city because at the end of the day, being Latino isn’t a monolith. So, it was exciting to create a new city and really have a place where Jaime feels like he can call home.”

In the comics, Jaime Reyes’ hails from the Sun City

In the DC comic books, Jaime Reyes is the third character to carry the mantle of Blue Beetle (following Dan Garrett and Ted Kord). Created by Keith Giffen, John Rogers, and Cully Hamner, Jaime first appeared in December 2005’s Infinite Crisis #3 before officially becoming the new Blue Beetle in February 2006’s Infinite Crisis #5. Many of Jaime’s earliest stories take place in his hometown of El Paso. Palmera City is a far more recent addition to the DC canon, first appearing in the 2022-2023 limited series Blue Beetle: Graduation Day.

While Jaime’s first big-screen outing eschews El Paso in favor of Palmera City, the production and marketing teams clearly didn’t forget the character’s roots. In fact, certain parts of the movie were actually filmed in El Paso. Additionally, the film’s live-action Blue Beetle suit will be on display at El Paso’s Cinemark Tinseltown Las Palmas XD theater from Monday, August 14 to Monday, August 28.

What is the Blue Beetle movie about?

Blue Beetle is directed by Ángel Manuel Soto from a screenplay by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer. The DC (Extended) Universe film’s official synopsis reads as follows: “Recent college grad Jaime Reyes returns home full of aspirations for his future, only to find that home is not quite as he left it. As he searches to find his purpose in the world, fate intervenes when Jaime unexpectedly finds himself in possession of an ancient relic of alien biotechnology: the Scarab. When the Scarab suddenly chooses Jaime to be its symbiotic host, he is bestowed with an incredible suit of armor capable of extraordinary and unpredictable powers, forever changing his destiny as he becomes the Super Hero BLUE BEETLE.”

Blue Beetle opens in theaters on Friday, August 18.