While we’re still years away from James Gunn relaunching the DCU with Superman: Legacy, the potential seeds for the franchise’s new direction were planted with Blue Beetle. Though production started long before Gunn became the Co-CEO of the DCU, the latest superhero film has all the hallmarks of Gunn’s success with Guardians of the Galaxy. From using a C-list hero and a D-list villain to a very Marvel-style sequel tease, the film already has ties to an announced series.
Blue Beetle bridges the gap between Zack Snyder’s DCEU and James Gunn’s DCU, and it uses Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle, to do so.
Never forget that James Gunn turned a talking tree and a raccoon into a multi-million dollar cash cow for Disney. Blue Beetle mirrors that ethos, taking Jamie Reyes and turning his origin into DC’s most colorful, hopeful, and enthusiastic movie in years. But the Blue Beetle that’s likely to have a huge impact on the DCU moving forward isn’t Jamie, it’s Ted Kord.
Never shown during the movie, Ted Kord retained his classic Silver Age origin of being the student of Dan Garret, the original Blue Beetle. Kord took up the heroic mantle after his mentor was killed (in the comics, actual fate unknown in the DCU), using his genius-level intellect to become “Batman with ADHD.” When his daughter, Jenny (created for the movie), takes Jamie’s family to the secret Beetle lair, Ted’s inventions are all over the place, but best of all, so is his classic outfit.
Including the Silver Age outfit, which Ted Kord wore from 1966 through the mid-2000s, is a great easter egg, but it’s the mannequin next to it that is noticeably bare. The implication here, and confirmed by the mid-credit tease, is that Kord was wearing his latest Blue Beetle outfit on a mission when something happened, trapping him for decades. A garbled message sent for Jenny gives us little information about his current whereabouts, even if he’s still on Earth, but since that scene was included, it’ll be relevant to the DCU moving forward.
After the backlash Warner Bros Discovery faced over including Herny Cavill in Black Adam’s mid-credit scene, it makes sense that Gunn and Safran would take steps to ensure a new hero’s debut film was in line with their vision for the franchise. Gal Gadot’s cameo appearance in Shazam: Fury of the Gods can be assumed to have been completed before the new CEOs had a firm vision in place and a way to act on it. Rumors that Ben Affleck’s Batman cameo in Aquaman 2 getting cut is just further evidence that Blue Beetle will have a lasting impact on the DCU.
Booster Gold and Blue Beetle
Booster Gold caught the attention of fans when it was revealed as part of the first slate of the new DCU. The time-traveling hero is the perfect sort of C-list star that James Gunn can turn into a household name, but most importantly, he’s also Ted Kord’s best friend. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold were part of the Justice League together, notably the fan-favorite Justice League International, and spent decades working together in the comics.
The humor, hijinks, and potential for heartfelt moments between whoever plays Booster Gold and Ted Kord’s Blue Beetle is the type of potential interplay that could never have happened with the Snyderverse. Incredibly cinematic yet dark and gritty, Zack Snyder’s vision for DC left little room for off-beat characters like “The World’s Worst Superhero” and his technically powerless inventor friend.
Blue Beetle may be a standalone film with no DCEU cameos, but it plants the seeds for future heroes to make their live-action debut.
Blue and Gold are one of DC’s most iconic pairings, to the point that when one of the two shows up, fans start wondering when the other will appear. If the new DCU under James Gunn is going to be more close-knit, tieing in Blue Beetle with Booster Gold is the perfect way to do it, similar to how Nathan Fillion’s Guy Gardner in Superman: Legacy will be part of the Green Lantern series.
At no point in Blue Beetle does the audience get to see Ted Kord’s face or even hear his normal voice, which leaves the door open for future casting. And since he’s not part of Fantastic Four, we’d suggest John Krasinski as Ted Kord. Old enough to have a 20-something daughter, a comedy and action star, the current Jack Ryan star would be a perfect fit.
No matter how Blue Beetle performs at the box office, it’s refreshing to see signs of life for DC. If James Gunn can harness the success he had with Guardians of the Galaxy or even the underrated The Suicide Squad, then the future of the DCU looks bright.