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Who Is Wonder Man In The MCU?

With a canon stretching back over a decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has covered a fair amount of ground in adapting Marvel Comics creations. Storylines, locations, McGuffins, and more have jumped from page to screen, but the real highlight of Marvel Studios' shared universe is its massive roster of characters. From fan favorites like Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) to once-obscure creations like Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander), the MCU's list of famous names just keeps getting longer with no end in sight.

For the vast majority of folks brought into the MCU fold, time to grow and bask in the spotlight isn't that hard to secure. However, even long after their debuts, a handful of individuals haven't exactly lived up to their fullest potential on the big screen. Prominent examples that come to mind are the Leader (Tim Blake Nelson) from "The Incredible Hulk" and Goliath (Laurence Fishburne) from "Ant-Man and the Wasp," both of which were introduced but have yet to do justice to their comic book counterparts. Arguably the most famous example of the bunch is Simon Williams, better known as Wonder Man.

If you're unaware of who Wonder Man is and don't know why you haven't taken note of him in the MCU, you're not alone. Here's what you need to know about the character and his odd relationship with the cinema at this point.

Wonder Man boasts a storied comic book career

Created by Marvel Comics icons Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Wonder Man made his first appearance in October 1964's "Avengers" #9. The son of Sanford Williams and brother of Eric Williams — better known as the supervillain, Grim Reaper — Simon wound up in jail after attempting to save his late father's munitions company via illegal means. Blaming Tony Stark for his misfortune, he aligns with the Enchantress, the Masters of Evil, and Baron Zemo, who specifically helped him attain metahuman abilities. He was then used to infiltrate the Avengers, but he had a change of heart and joined with Earth's Mightiest Heroes shortly thereafter.

From this point on, Wonder Man would become a key figure in the Marvel universe. He famously joined the West Coast Avengers, took part in the "Civil War" story arc, fell in love with the Scarlet Witch, and even became something of a "brother" to Vision. All the while, he etched out a successful career as a stuntman and actor worthy of recognition through a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Additionally, he has developed such powers as flight, super speed, a healing factor, and is laced with ionic energy as a byproduct of Zemo's experimentation on him.

Wonder Man's MCU debut nearly happened years ago

One would imagine that with an extensive backstory, ties to other heroes, and an interesting power set, Wonder Man would be a shoo-in for the MCU. Regardless of that fact, he still has yet to appear in the franchise proper, but that doesn't mean that attempts haven't been made. He nearly made a cameo in director James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" under his Simon Williams identity, played by actor Nathan Fillion — the voice actor behind the "M.O.D.O.K." version of the character. His face would have appeared on a handful of movie posters at a theater on Earth, including one that advertised an in-universe Tony Stark biopic.

Considering how much of the second "Guardians" flick takes place in the cosmos, Williams' subtle arrival was likely planned for sometime during the final act. Viewers are taken to Earth a handful of times as Ego (Kurt Russell) enacts his plan to take over the universe, but it wasn't for more than a few seconds at most. According to Gunn in a 2017 Facebook post, we don't see any shots of the "Simon Williams Film Festival" in the final product because they were cut on account of breaking the flow of the story. Nevertheless, he states that we should all consider Wonder Man's presence in the MCU canon all the same.

Several opportunities to unveil Wonder Man, such as "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" and the Disney+ hit "WandaVision" have come and gone. But, it stands to reason that more chances will come along down the line, and hopefully, Simon Williams and Nathan Fillion will have their shining moment sooner rather than later.