Ed Harris Joins Billion-Dollar Franchise, Is He A Secret Villain?

An unconfirmed report says that Ed Harris has joined the cast of Disney+'s Wonder Man.

By Sean Thiessen | Published

ed harris

Actor Ed Harris has reportedly joined the cast of the upcoming Marvel series Wonder Man. The news comes from industry insider Jeff Sneider, co-host of The Hot Mic podcast. Harris is expected to join the Disney+ series as Neal Saroyan, the Hollywood agent to Wonder Man’s alter ego, Simon Williams.

The series, created by Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton, is expected to begin production any day now. The show stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, the actor who made a big splash in 2018 as the villainous Manta in Aquaman, as the title character. Ed Harris joins a supporting cast of Ben Kingsley and Laura Grazier in the Marvel show.

Simon Williams has a long, complicated comic book history, having fought against and beside the Avengers in several switch ups since his 1964 debut. His origin pitted his family’s company as a failing competitor of Stark Industries. After landing in jail, Williams is approached by Baron Zemo, who imbues Williams with ion-power that gives him superhuman strength and toughness.

Zemo dubs Williams “Wonder Man” and uses him as a pawn to infiltrate the Avengers.

As his history evolved, Simon Williams became an actor. Neal Saroyan, the rumored character for Ed Harris, joined Marvel Comics in the early 90s as Williams’ agent, satirizing the entertainment industry. Saroyan has had villainous turns throughout his comic years, intentionally pitting Wonder Man against powerful villains for publicity’s sake.

mandarin prequel

Wonder Man is expected to play off the Hollywood angle, bringing back Ben Kingsley’s thespian character, Trevor Slattery. Slattery first appeared in 2013’s Iron Man 3, then again in Cretton’s Shang-Chi movie. Fear the Walking Dead star Demetrius Grosse has been rumored to play Simon Williams’ brother, Eric, who becomes the villainous Grim Reaper.

Ed Harris may act as a secondary villain for the Marvel series, or appear as a smarmy thorn in Wonder Man’s side. Either way, Ed Harris is an accomplished actor whose gravitas would be a welcome addition to the MCU. Harris is best known for classics like Apollo 13 and The Truman Show, as well as modern hits Westworld and Top Gun: Maverick.

Ed Harris will make his supposed Marvel debut under the watchful eye of Destin Daniel Cretton. The success of Shang-Chi landed Cretton the task of directing the next Avengers films as the superhero team takes on Jonathan Majors in 2025’s The Kang Dynasty. Cretton’s involvement in Wonder Man suggests that the new Marvel hero may join the Avengers in that climactic event.

Fans may be waiting a while before they see Wonder Man and Ed Harris make their first Marvel appearances. Disney and Marvel are shuffling the MCU release schedule to combat fans’ superhero fatigue, among other factors. Fans are feeling the consequences following the floating release dates of Secret Invasion and the second seasons of Loki and What If…?
Echo and Ironheart are also ahead of Wonder Man in the release line, so when the show will finally hit Disney+ is still up in the air.

Ed Harris joining the project makes Wonder Man an even more enticing offering from Marvel. Its release may be affected by what is going on in Hollywood, but that should make its satire of the business that much sweeter.

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