Simon Williams, actor. Simon Williams, superhero. Wonder Man is a personal favourite of mine – he’s especially a joy to read in House of M and Brian Reed’s Ms. Marvel follow-up – so you can imagine how offended I was when his perfectly cast cameos were axed from James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. (Oh, but DAIIIIRY QUEEN made the final cut).
For shame. For shame... But! The Gods of Posterville (read: James Gunn, on Facebook) have smiled upon us, and we’ve now been blessed with all six films playing at the Simon Williams Film Festival in the small Missouri town that almost got eaten by Ego’s flower-blob.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
Who doesn’t love some early era Simon Williams? The Arkon sequels may have been a total bust, but the original starring my main Wonder Man is an unrivaled cult classic. There are rumors of a reboot of sorts, but unless it’s a thirty-years-later sequel with Williams in the lead role, count me out!
I’m more of an original Toxic Janitor fan myself, but Toxic Janitor 2: Bad News Jackpot ain’t half bad. Plus, we wouldn’t have the superhero we know today if he hadn’t been exposed to radiation on set, nor all of Hollywood’s safety regulations when it comes to filming near S.H.I.E.L.D facilities. (Don't talk to me or my son about Toxic Janitor Part III: Ragnarok ever again).
“Duhhhh, Simon Williams can’t act!” Yeah, maybe if you’ve only seen him in Oh, Rebecca! and nothing else? Even then, it’s just your standard rom-com fare that gets hate because of its target audience, but you can’t say it didn’t propel Williams to the mainstream. "Oh, Rebecca! We were on a break!" Classic.
Dead Before Arrival is a legitimate action classic and you can Fite Me™ if you disagree. The first film to use actual superpowers on screen deserves a spot just for that, but Williams’ portrayal of a man out to avenge his own death is a career highlight. The true beginning of the Williamssance, and it also started the famous text-on-butt poster trend now used for every Matt Damon joint.
Look, Iron Man biopics are a dime a dozen (you'd think the guy was Steve Jobs, inventor of the Life Model Decoy), but Ian McFadyen casting a dude once considered “just a pretty face who can fly” in a film set in one room with Williams as Tony Stark, acting opposite hallucinations of his father Howard (also played by Williams) was something no one should’ve bet against.
Nobody asked for Haxan sequel. Why would they ruin Rob Zombie's original like this?
So, by now you would’ve picked up on the Conan The Barbarian, Toxic Avenger, General Rom-Com (I think?), Inception and Steve Jobs references (note: this last one was a little more obscure and had to be confirmed by Gunn over on Facebook). The poster design was inspired by Horns, but the actual film is a sequel to another fictional work that showed up in Gunn’s Super, specifically during this scene:
So, yeah. Gunn’s own internal reference-mythology runs deep. Rob Zombie remade the 1922 Swedish film Häxan, and Simon Williams stars in its sequel… Does this mean Simon Williams played The Holy Avenger in Super too?
I don’t know what does or doesn’t constitute canon since these posters never made the final film, but as far as I’m concerned, Nathan Fillion is Wonder Man as of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Hopefully he’ll have a chance to play him for real some day!
What's some other obscure trivia about Simon Williams' filmography you'd like to share? Sound off below!