Amid Double Strike, Latino Advocacy Groups Issue Open Letter: Our “Stories Need to Be Told”

‘Blue Beetle’ Director Wants Viewers to “Feel Welcome” Watching DC’s Diverse Superhero Movie: “Don’t Fear Latino Heritage”

Blue Beetle director Angel Manuel Soto had a powerful message to share ahead of a screening of DC’s first Latino-led superhero movie.

“We put our hearts and souls into it because we wanted you guys to feel welcome to our stories,” the filmmaker said at a fan event at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood Tuesday. “There’s no fear. Don’t fear Spanish, don’t fear Mexican heritage, don’t fear Latino heritage. We want you guys to join the party with us.”

The new film sees Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes, a college student who gains a superpowered suit of armor following an interaction with an alien scarab, forever changing his future as he becomes the Blue Beetle.

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The movie also makes history as the first live-action studio superhero film to center on a Latino superhero, made by a Latino director.

Soto added that the film’s cast and writer, Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, couldn’t be there due to the ongoing actors and writers strikes. “They’re fighting the good fight,” he said. “It’s very important that we understand that they are heroes right now.”

Last year, Maridueña spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about what it was like landing the lead role and why the movie is important for the film industry.

Blue Beetle isn’t to make me the next heartthrob or biggest star,” he said at the time. “It’s just to show people, ‘Hey, these stories about Latinos don’t have to just be about narcos or crossing the border or being a gang member. You can be portrayed in a positive light.’ A superhero seems like the most positive light you can get in this industry.”

Though Blue Beetle was made as part of the previous regime’s plans, before James Gunn and Peter Safran took over, Gunn has said that this version of the character will continue on in the DC Universe.

Blue Beetle hits theaters on Aug. 18.