Blue Beetle Video Shows the Moment Xolo Maridueña Was Cast as Jaime Reyes

Blue Beetle director Ángel Manuel Soto has shared a behind-the-scenes video featuring the moment Xolo Maridueña learned he would be the DC (Extended) Universe’s Jaime Reyes.

Posted to Soto’s Instagram, the emotional video shows the director embracing Maridueña upon informing the actor that he had been chosen to star in Blue Beetle. The two then make a video call to Maridueña’s mother, letting her know that her son would be taking center stage in the first major Latino-led superhero movie.

Prior to landing the role as Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle, Maridueña was perhaps best known for starring as Miguel Diaz in the Karate Kid sequel series Cobra Kai. Cobra Kai has been renewed for a sixth and final season on Netflix, though production has been paused due to the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike.

Jaime Reyes’ journey to the silver screen

In DC‘s comic book universe, Jaime Reyes is the third hero to assume the identity of Blue Beetle. Keith Giffen, John Rogers, and Cully Hamner created Jaime, with the character first appearing in 2005’s Infinite Crisis #3. Jaren Brandt Bartlett was the first actor to play Jaime in live-action, appearing in a 2011 episode of The CW’s Smallville.

The Maridueña-led Blue Beetle film was originally conceived as an HBO Max exclusive before being upgraded to a theatrical release. While the film is technically part of the soon-to-be-defunct DCEU, DC Studios co-head James Gunn has stated that Maridueña’s Jaime Reyes would have a place in the rebooted DCU.

Blue Beetle is already a hit with critics

At any rate, early reviews for Blue Beetle have been largely positive. “[Blue Beetle] is an electric and thrilling ride, Xolo Maridueña was born to play Jaime Reyes! It’s a spellbinding origin story, made and steered by the excellent Angel Manuel Soto. Loved the film and what it teases about the future of DC,” said DiscussingFilm’s Ben Rolph. “Angel Manuel Soto is so authentic in his directing, being what makes the film unique. It’s a fun, contained story and the family drives it. I enjoyed the movie,” added Phase Zero’s Brandon Davis.

The official synopsis for Blue Beetle 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.