5 Things You Should Know About ‘Blue Beetle’ Star Xolo Maridueña

Lead Photo: XOLO MARIDUEÑA as Jaime Reyes in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action adventure “BLUE BEETLE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/™ & © DC Comics.
XOLO MARIDUEÑA as Jaime Reyes in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action adventure “BLUE BEETLE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/™ & © DC Comics.
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Xolo Maridueña will soon show off his high-flying superhero abilities in Blue Beetle, the first time a Latino superhero leads their own movie. And in many ways, it was always meant to be.

For those not familiar, Blue Beetle follows Jaime Reyes (Maridueña), a recent college graduate who stumbles across an ancient relic of alien biotechnology that chooses him as a symbiotic host and transforms him into the title superhero character with unpredictable powers.

“There’s an understanding that there’s a responsibility that comes with [playing Blue Beetle],” Maridueña told The Big Thing podcast before the SAG-AFTRA strike began. “Although they do have Latinos and Latinas in these [superhero] movies, [Warner Bros.] put their money where their mouth is and actually made this guy the lead. I’m really appreciative of [that].”

Until this point in his career, Maridueña has been best known for playing karate student Miguel Diaz in five seasons of the martial arts dramedy series, Cobra Kai, a spin-off to the original 1984 movie, The Karate Kid.

To get to know Xolo Maridueña a little better before you watch Blue Beetle, here are five quick facts about the newest superhero to hit the big screen.


First Major Role

Maridueña’s first major role of his career was in 2012 when he joined the cast of the TV series Parenthood as a guest star in the third season. He played Victor Graham, the adopted son of two of the main characters. Maridueña would go on to become a main cast member for seasons 4-6. The series was loosely based on the 1989 film of the same name, which starred Steve Martin.


The Name Game

The Blue Beetle star’s full name is Ramario Xolo Maridueña. Ramario is a combination of his grandfather’s name, Ramon, and his uncle, Mario. Xolo, comes from the name of a celestial body called Xolotl. In Aztec mythology, Xolotl is also the god of fire and lightning. Also, Maridueña’s nickname is Crunch, although he’s not sure how he got it.


Karate Kid

Before landing what was then the biggest role of his career in Cobra Kai, Maridueña had some experience in martial arts. When he was in the first grade, he took karate classes. Maridueña had to relearn the sport when he started training for season 1. His training included watching the original The Karate Kid, which he had not seen before being cast in the spin-off series.


Lone Lobos Podcast

Maridueña hosts the podcast Lone Lobos with his friend and fellow Cobra Kai actor Jacob Bertrand. The duo has been producing the show since September 2021. During the podcast, the guys talk about everything from pop culture to relationships to Pokémon. They’ve also invited guests on the show like Belissa Escobedo (Blue Beetle) and Cooper Roth (Cooties).


Blue Beetle at Bedtime

After Blue Beetle director Angel Manuel Soto told Maridueña that he landed the title role, the two got on a video call with Maridueña’s mother to tell her the good news. During the call, Maridueña’s mother told Soto that when her son was a little boy, they would read Blue Beetle comics to him. Sounds like Maridueña’s been preparing for the role his entire life.

Blue Beetle premieres at theaters nationwide on August 18, 2023.

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, Blue Beetle being covered here wouldn’t exist.