When Xolo Maridueña first stepped into the Blue Beetle suit, there were “a lot of nerves and exhilaration” that came with embodying the DC superhero.
“Excited is not the first word that comes to my brain,” Maridueña told Variety at the Season 5 red carpet premiere of “Cobra Kai” on Wednesday night. “It is nervous excitement, it’s antsiness. It’s the anticipation of knowing that you’re on the brink of something potentially big, but it still feels really intimate because you’re just with the cast and the crew.”
The 21-year-old actor will be portraying the lead role of Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle in DC’s first adaptation of a comic led by a Latino superhero. “I can’t wait for people to see one of the — if not the first — Latino-led superhero movies ever,” he continued.
Last month, it was revealed that Warner Bros. had scrapped plans entirely to release “Batgirl.” The nearly completed DC Comics adaptation, which had a $90 million production budget, starred Afro-Latina actress Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl.
Asked about his reaction to “Batgirl” being shelved, Maridueña said, “I don’t know if I’m at liberty to speak about it. Leslie [Grace] said everything that needed to be said on the topic. I think she’s really the one — yeah, that’s what I’m gonna say.”
Meanwhile, Maridueña returns as Miguel Diaz in Season 5 of “Cobra Kai,” the “Karate Kid” spinoff series starring Ralph Macchio and William Zabka. On the carpet, the actor explained the most intense stunt he had to perform this season.
“There was a fight with Tanner Buchanan, and we did the whole fight in one day,” he said. “I think we learned [the fight sequence] probably two or three days before, and that was the most exhilarating [fight]. Probably one of the harder fights, but definitely the most rewarding.”
Buchanan, who plays Robby Keene, also recalled how “big and crazy” the fight with Maridueña was in Episode 5 of the upcoming season. “It’s just way bigger than what we’ve ever done before,” Buchanan added.
As in seasons past of “Cobra Kai,” the fifth season introduces more characters from “The Karate Kid” franchise, including Sean Kanan as Mike Barnes from the third installment. Yuji Okumoto, who played Chozen in “The Karate Kid Part II” and briefly appeared in “Cobra Kai’s” fourth season, will also play a bigger role as he teams up with former enemy Daniel LaRusso (Macchio).
When asked which star from “The Karate Kid” films he wants to work with next, Buchanan chose Jackie Chan without hesitation.
“I pick Jackie Chan, all day,” he said about Chan, who starred in the 2010 reboot with Jaden Smith. “I’d love to just have a fight with him and learn so much. That would be so cool.”
Several cast members answered Hilary Swank — who played Julie Pierce in 1994’s “The Next Karate Kid” — while others paid tribute to Pat Morita.
“From my heart, I think that the piece that is so prevalent for Sam and then so prevalent to [Daniel] LaRusso and to Miyagi-Do — all these different aspects of Sam’s life — would obviously be having Mr. Miyagi,” Mary Mouser, who plays Daniel’s daughter Sam, said about Morita. “I think having Pat Morita would have just been something that, I realize, would be such a huge opportunity that I’m super sad that I missed out on.”
“Cobra Kai” Season 5 can be streamed on Netflix on Friday. “Blue Beetle” is set to premiere Aug. 18, 2023.