Bad Bunny (aka Benito Ocasio) will star as the Marvel character El Muerto – a wrestler with superhuman strength – in a new addition to Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (SSU), the company announced overnight.
Word of the film dropped during Sony’s panel at this year’s CinemaCon, with a tentative release date pencilled in for January 12, 2024. It’ll be the fifth film in the SSU – a shared universe of characters related to Marvel’s Spider-Man franchise, for which Sony owns the rights – following the two Venom films and Morbius, as well as Kraven The Hunter (due to hit screens on January 13, 2023) and Madame Web (July 7, 2023).
A similar situation led to Aaron Taylor-Johnson – who stars in Bullet Train as an assassin named Tangerine – being cast for the titular role in Kraven The Hunter. Bullet Train is due to hit cinemas on July 29 via Sony.
Ocasio appeared onstage for Sony’s announcement of El Muerto, though because of strict rules pertaining to leaks, details of his appearance are yet to emerge online.
The character itself first appeared in Issue Six of the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man comic, released in May 2006. Initially hesitant to take up the mantle of El Muerto, a wrestling persona passed down through generations of his family, Sanchez eventually donned the mask – which gives him heightened strength and endurance – and challenged Spider-Man to a charity match.
Spider-Man almost killed El Muerto by accidentally poisoning him, but the pair would soon team up to battle the villain El Dorado. It’s unclear whether Spider-Man will appear in the forthcoming El Muerto film, though Sony has long been vocal about its keenness to bring Tom Holland’s iteration of the web-slinging hero (who exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is only tangentially linked to the SSU) into its own burgeoning franchise.
As reported by Variety, Ocasio’s take on El Muerto will be more in line with the SSU’s other villain-centric stories, with the rapper due to play “an antihero on the verge of inheriting his father’s power”.
Also announced at this Sony’s CinemaCon panel was a third film in the Venom series, following up on last year’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Though the film was confirmed to be in the early stages of development, no title or release date was offered. Sony did, however, show attendees a short glimpse of Kraven The Hunter, as well as the first 15 minutes of Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (which is not a part of the SSU).
The animated film was initially due to hit cinemas on October 7, but has now been moved to its new release date of June 2, 2023. Prior to CinemaCon, the film was officially titled ‘Across The Spider-Verse (Part One)‘, with its planned follow-up titled Across The Spider-Verse (Part Two).
It was announced at the panel that the ‘Part One’ and ‘Part Two’ branding has been removed from both, with the follow-up to Across The Spider-Verse now titled Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse and dated for March 29, 2024.
Morbius is the most recent SSU film to be released, having hit cinemas earlier this month. It received overwhelmingly negative reviews, including one star from NME. In his review, Lou Thomas wrote: “None of the characters have meaningful motives – and they’re so thinly drawn that they’re almost transparent. Astoundingly, for a film about a mad doctor who turns into a vampire, it’s also very boring.”
Meanwhile, last week saw Ocasio announce his sixth album as Bad Bunny, ‘Un Verano Sin Ti’, by way of an advert for a supercar.