In this interview, Blue Beetle director Angel Manuel Soto discusses potential Ted Kord future, the importance of representation, his incredible cast, and more.
DC’s Blue Beetle was originally slated to be a direct to streaming release, on Max, however it made it’s theatrical debut earlier this year. Viewers loved it, with it’s current audience score sitting at 92%. This film tells the origin story of Jaime Reyes, who after suddenly coming into possession of alien technology becomes Blue Beetle.
Blue Beetle is directed by Angel Manuel Soto, and it is the first Latino Superhero film. Starring incredible talents like Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes, George Lopez as Rudy Reyes, and Belissa Escobedo as Milagro Reyes, it is packed with humor, action, and a whole lot of heart.
We caught up with Angel Manuel Soto to talk all about Blue Beetle ahead of its DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K release. He raves about his incredible cast, talks about the importance of representation, and even discusses the possible future of Ted Kord, the original Blue Beetle, in the DC Universe.
Blue Beetle Director Angel Manuel Soto On Ted Kord, Representation, & More
Mama’s Geeky: I love this movie. How did it feel when they told you it was going to be a theatrical release instead of a streaming release?
Angel Manuel Soto: You know, even though we got the HBO Max mandate at the time, we knew that we wanted to do something for theatrical and so we treated it as such. We didn’t think about it small. We didn’t slack on the world building, on the action. We wanted to show them that it’s worth putting a film like this, with Latino characters in the lead, in theaters. Because why not? Right. It’s all good.
It’s unfortunate that there was a strike and that there were a lot of other things happening. But still, people love it. Kids love it. We wanted to do this for us. We wanted to do this for the younger generation. And we wanted to do something that felt representative and a glimpse of what we can offer. So hopefully, this is the first of many.
Mama’s Geeky: I hope so. Especially with that tease at the end. Do you have thoughts on where Ted Kord could continue in the future?
Angel Manuel Soto: We always did. We still do. Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, our writer, and I, we’ve always flirted with the idea that this is the first act of a saga. One of the best lists for us within the Jaime story is his relationship with Ted and Booster Gold. It is one of the most exciting ones. So, let’s see what happens. But I think there’s a lot of fun to be had.
Mama’s Geeky: We’ve got to talk about this cast. Not only Xolo, who is the perfect choice, but Susan Sarandon as a villain, and George Lopez had me cracking up the whole time. Did this feel like a dream cast for you?
Angel Manuel Soto: It did. It did. I think one of the greatest thing was being able to work with actors, who are now friends, that really took took it seriously. They take their fun seriously, and they knew that what they were doing is going to impact our lives. And hopefully it’s going to change the way we do things. So being able to channel those characters, embody them, knowing that to a lot of them, they’re actually performing a version of themselves or an uncle that they knew.
There’s so much that comes into honoring our ancestors and the people that came before us, or the people that we can become, that I think everybody that dove into it, understood the aesthetic influences, including Susan. She right off the bat, as the ally that she is, she understood what her character represented and she understood that it’s not so black and white, the way sometimes villains come across. The way she she handled it was awesome. She’s very much aware of the issues that affect the Latino community, so she was perfect for it.
And Xolo, of course, Xolo is not only a copy-paste of Jaime in the comics, physically, but his heart, his personality, is very much in line with Jaime’s and the way he interacts with his family. That’s the first thing I remember of Xolo, was how much of a great person he is, how much of a caring and vulnerable human he is. And for us, it was about time to see a hero that doesn’t leave individuality and embraces the collective and embraces vulnerability and finds strength through that unity. That doesn’t see family as weakness. For me, that was very important.
Mama’s Geeky: That video of you guys when he got the part made me cry. Then the movie made me cry, laugh, cheer. I am excited to own it on 4K now.
Angel Manuel Soto: I hope everybody enjoys it at home. There’s a lot of Easter eggs, a lot of fun to be had. I think the more you see it, the more you pick up on things. It’s very layered. It’s very purposefully layered. And once you have the fun that you see it’s like, oh, wait, there’s more to the fun, and there’s something deeper in it. So it’s definitely a good watch to have at home.
Mama’s Geeky: Absolutely. Thank you so much for your time.
NEXT: Blue Beetle Movie Review
About Blue Beetle
Jaime Reyes suddenly finds himself in possession of an ancient relic of alien biotechnology called the Scarab. When the Scarab chooses Jaime to be its symbiotic host, he’s bestowed with an incredible suit of armor that’s capable of extraordinary and unpredictable powers, forever changing his destiny as he becomes the superhero Blue Beetle.
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.