Exclusive: LeVar Burton In Talks For Marvel’s Wonder Man, Character Revealed

We've learned LeVar Burton is in talks to play Sanford Williams - the father of the titular hero - of Marvel's upcoming Wonder Man series.

By Michileen Martin | Published

Soon Patrick Stewart may not be the only Star Trek: The Next Generation alum to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Our trusted and proven sources have alerted us that LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow fame is in negotiations to appear in the upcoming Disney+ Wonder Man series, which will be led by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman). They tell us that as long as the talks go smoothly and Burton signs on the dotted line, he’ll be playing Sanford Williams — the father of Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man.

This is an inspiring casting choice for Star Trek‘s LeVar Burton for a number of reasons. Assuming that the basics of the character remain the same from the source material, in Wonder Man Burton will be playing hard against type. Unlike the usual relatable heroes the Roots star is known to play, in the comics Sanford Williams is a physically and emotionally abusive father utterly incapable of giving his children any praise or of showing them any affection.

levar burton wonder man
Sanford Williams and a young Simon Williams in Avengers #23 (Marvel Comics 1999
levar burton wonder man
Sanford Williams about to beat his children in West Coast Avengers #2 (Marvel Comics

The other reason this is a perfect role for LeVar Burton to take up in Wonder Man is that Sanford Williams is pretty much a blank slate. Besides being the abusive father of Simon and Eric Williams (aka The Grim Reaper) and the founder of the munitions factory Williams Innovations, we don’t know a lot about him. The usually comprehensive fan-run Marvel Database lists only 3 canonical appearances for Sanford Williams, and they’re all in brief flashbacks.

That gives LeVar Burton and the Wonder Man writers the freedom to go wherever they want with the character. Of course, it isn’t as if established comic book canon has stopped the MCU from making changes in the past. But at the very least it gives the series a chance to potentially lend some depth to a character who thus far has mainly been used as a device to explain the inner conflicts of Simon Williams, and his much more physical conflicts with his brother.

The news not only that LeVar Burton could appear in Wonder Man, but of who he may be playing, is also intriguing because–while this is admittedly a bit of a reach–it opens up possibilities regarding connections to the upcoming Vision series, which Giant Freakin Robot was the first to report on, as well as to the story of Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). It seemingly confirms that at the very least the series will explore Simon Williams’ past, which could lead to more.

In the comics Simon Williams, Vision, and Wanda Maximoff share a rather dense and intertwined history; the meat of it is that in the comics Vision’s mind was built using Wonder Man’s brainwaves as a foundation, and as a result the two share a sometimes contentious connection including making up a love triangle with Wanda. Then of course there’s Simon’s brother the Grim Reaper, who repeatedly attempts to kill them all. Whether or not LeVar Burton’s potential casting in Wonder Man has anything to do with addressing this remains to be seen.