So this is an article that I’ve wanted to write for a long time now. It shouldn’t come to a surprise to those who know me, but for those who don’t I’ll let you know. I’m a huge Aquaman fan. I mean HUGE. And no, I’m not one of those who profess to be an Aquaman fan post-Momoa reveal. While many fans clamor for news about Batman or Wonder Woman, I’m always looking forward to hearing more about Arthur Curry, whether it’s the comics or films. His world and his supporting cast are easily some of the most intriguing of any comic character. For me, his appeal came from the mystery and intrigue of Atlantis and his heritage. It’s essentially a good fantasy, and can almost feel like Game of Thrones at times. Even if you don’t know much about the character, I’m positive that most people know of his powers: his ability to communicate with sea life. Of course that’s not his only super power but it is one that he is most known for.
Aquaman is a long time Justice League member and one of the most iconic super heroes from DC Comics, so it’s no surprise to hear that he will be making his cinematic debut in the DCEU with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice played by Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Conan) and directed by James Wan. I still remember when I heard the news that Aquaman would make an appearance in the film and especially when Warner Bros. revealed their film slate with an Aquaman film there. I was jumping around my place screaming with joy. This was my dream. My favorite super hero was going to get a solo film. After all of the Aquaman jokes over the years, I was certain we would never see an Aquaman film but that all changes in 2018, and I couldn’t be more excited. So just as I did with my last two articles (Titans, Green Lantern Corps) I’d like to take this time to speculate on what we could see with the King of Atlantis on the big screen.
Aquaman is definitely going to be a fantasy, swashbuckling adventure and it should be. Like I said before, think more along the lines of Game of Thrones or Warlord of Mars. What’s really important about this film is that it’ll open up a completely new and unseen side of the DC Universe. So far, DC Comics fans and moviegoers have never seen Atlantis on the big screen but that will all change. In fact, there are rumors we might even get our first look of Atlantis and Mera as early as next year in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. By now most of us have had a good glimpse of Gotham through Christopher Nolan’s brilliant Dark Knight Trilogy as well as Zack Snyder’s Metropolis in Man of Steel. To me, I’m so excited to see new locations in the DC Universe such as Atlantis, Themyscira, and even Oa.
It’s been reported for a while now that the DCEU Aquaman film will be heavily influenced by the highly regarded New 52 Aquaman made popular by DC veteran Geoff Johns. Johns himself will serve in some capacity on the film, most likely a creative consultant as well as an executive producer. While Jason Momoa’s look is definitely more closely aligned to the look of Peter David’s Aquaman run from the 90’s, don’t be surprised if we see his film closely aligned to one of Johns’ story arcs from the New 52. As I had pointed out earlier, Aquaman has such an amazing cast of supporting characters who can really shine in the DCEU so I think it’s time we take a look at what we want in the 2018 Aquaman film.
The titular character is being played by Jason Momoa of Game of Thrones. His casting shocked many who were expecting a blond actor to portray the King of Atlantis. While even I was initially hesitant with the casting, I’ve become more accepting in the choice to cast him. Warner Bros. is really going all the way with Aquaman and are intent on shutting up all of those who consider him lame. My main concern with his casting was that I felt like it was a typecast. What I do not want to see is Jason Momoa playing Khal Drogo underwater. After meeting Momoa at a comic con in Boston, I found him to be an extremely charismatic individual. That is who I want to see on screen. Aquaman is not just a mindless brute, but he’s a charismatic leader. If the filmmakers allow Momoa to be himself on screen, we will get a fantastic version of Aquaman. While comic fans and those knowledgeable about the character know how powerful he really is, the general audience might still think of him as being “that guy who talks to fish.” Thanks to shows like Big Bang Theory and Family Guy, Aquaman’s been seen as a joke. Aside from his famous ability to communicate with sea life, Aquaman has incredible super strength, he’s nearly as powerful as Superman and Wonder Woman. In fact he has been able to go toe-to-toe with them. He has heightened senses, agility, is a weapon’s master and a natural leader. It’s not yet known whether he will be called “Orin” or “Arthur Curry” but considering that this Aquaman is more closely related to the New 52 Aquaman, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was named Arthur. Like mentioned earlier, Momoa’s Aquaman resembles that of the Arthur we saw in Peter David’s popular run. He looks a little meaner, adorned in golden armor that covers his right shoulder and gauntlets. Many were expecting him to look like his classic self in the orange scale armor and clean cut given the fact that that is his current look in the New 52 of which the Justice League is inspired from. However, this version of Aquaman may end up translating better on screen. The biggest and possibly the most divisive part of his look are the tattoos that cover his arms and torso. It certainly gives you a feeling like this Aquaman means all business and isn’t taking nonsense from anyone.
Quite possibly, one of the most popular DC Comics female characters of the last few years, this film is where we will get a good look at Mera, Aquaman’s wife and companion. While rumors suggest Mera will be appearing in some form in Snyder’s Justice League, she will play a much bigger part in the 2018 Aquaman film. Mera is from a dimension called Xebel, a penal colony made up by those exiled by Atlantis, located in the Bermuda Triangle. Her original mission was to breach the Triangle to find and kill Arthur but instead falls in love with him. Like Arthur, she possesses a unique power set of her own. She has the ability to manipulate water, giving her the ability to form water constructs. By the time we see her in the film, she should be well established as being a part of Aquaman’s world, maybe even already married to him or at the very least they’re together. My hope is that in Justice League we either see Aquaman and Mera getting married or at least meeting for the first time. Last we heard, Amber Heard was circling the role to appear not only in the Aquaman solo film, but Justice League Part One as well. DC and Warner Bros. have made it clear that female representation in their films is going to be a big goal and with Wonder Woman coming out next year as well as Harley Quinn, Enchantress, Katana, and Amanda Waller appearing in Suicide Squad later this year, expect Mera to be a fan favorite and another strong female character seen on screen.
ORM MARIUS/ OCEAN MASTER
The big question remaining for the Aquaman film is, who will be the main antagonist? While many are quick to point out Black Manta, reports are starting to sneak out suggesting that the one that will oppose the King of the Seas will be Arthur’s own brother, Orm, or “Ocean Master.” Personally, I feel like this would be the strongest choice for a villain. Not only is he a more personal antagonist, he would make more sense to the plot that James Wan and Warner Bros. are putting together. The synopsis for the Aquaman film right now is brief but I’ll include it here:
Aquaman is the King of the Seven Seas. Leader of Atlantis, he is caught between the surface world constantly ravaging the seas and Atlanteans looking to lash out in revolt. Aquaman is committed to protecting the entire world. This film is part of WB’s shared DC cinematic universe.
Judging by this short synopsis, it almost sounds like this film could be loosely adapting Geoff Johns’ Throne of Atlantis storyline, which saw the Atlanteans storming the surface world after an unprovoked attack upon the underwater kingdom. Ocean Master played a crucial part in that story arc, leading the Atlanteans against the surface world. I know many people would compare this to the Thor and Loki relationship seen in the Marvel films but it’s much deeper than that. It’s not a slight against Marvel, they’re just different characters. They’re brothers and they love each other, but their conflicting ideologies force them against one another. While Aquaman wants to protect the entire world, Orm seeks only to protect Atlantis from the surface. It could present some very tense and dramatic sequences between the two of them.
Now let’s talk about one of Aquaman’s most notorious villains: Black Manta. Easily one of the most dangerous and malicious characters in the DC Universe, Black Manta is often described as Aquaman’s “Joker.” He and Arthur have been engaged in a brutal circle of vengeance after both inadvertently kill the other’s fathers. While I don’t feel like he should be the main villain of this film, that shouldn’t rule him out completely. Even a small cameo or name drop would be enough and save him for a potential sequel. His inclusion could even be a flashback perhaps, showing a fight between himself and Arthur. Armed to the teeth and adorned in a militarized dive-suit, Manta’s suit allows him to survive the pressures of the deep and his encounters with Aquaman. The most iconic accessory to the suit is Manta’s helmet, from which he’s able to project lethal, energy blasts. To see Black Manta brought to life on the big screen would be a dream come true, but with everything that this film needs to include, bringing in Aquaman’s most famous villain could potentially make this film too crowded. His best options would be to save him for another film or sequel, or place him in a reduced role.
Other characters that should be at least shown in the film would be Aquaman’s father, Tom Curry and mother, Atlanna. Tom Curry was a lighthouse keeper in Amnesty Bay, Maine. He found himself drowning after he tried to save a crew who was stuck in a terrible storm. Tom was saved by Atlanna, the Queen of Atlantis, and brought to shore. The two of them fell in love and their union yielded Arthur. Unfortunately, she could not stay with him and returned to her duties in Atlantis, leaving Arthur in Tom’s care, frightened that the Atlanteans would never accept him. This scene would actually make a great beginning scene to the film, showing a brief origin story for Arthur without dwelling on it too long.
With Geoff Johns onboard to produce and possibly provide help with the script, there’s a good chance the Aquaman we see will be pretty New 52 inspired. With Ocean Master being reported as the villain of the film, you can bet that the focus will be on the tension between the surface world and Atlantis and a potential war between both. It was reported about a year ago that the film would be inspired by Johns first story arc “The Trench” which featured Aquaman protecting his hometown from a horde of carnivorous sea creatures. While this arc was phenomenal, judging by the film synopsis, I’d expect to see Throne of Atlantis before The Trench. Perhaps this is my biased peeking through, but visually, I believe this film could be the most beautiful looking film of the DCEU. Imagine the beautiful, visual imagery of the underwater shots, of the CGI-produced Atlantis, and the various sea creatures under Arthur’s command. This film should take us away on an adventure. It should be a film filled with action, drama, romance, and beautiful character moments. I won’t go too into what I want Atlantis to look like or the Atlanteans, I’ll simply say, look at the comics and that should be a good idea. They should be seen as more technologically advanced than humans. The big question some ask me is whether or not I want to see Atlantis encased inside a large dome or not. It’s a good question and honestly, it doesn’t really make a difference to me. Either way works for me, I trust the filmmakers to make it work on film. My only hope for the DCEU Aquaman is that they allow this character to truly shine and don’t sacrifice any of his character to fit within the “realism” mold. You can probably guess which film is my most anticipated of all the DCEU films coming out from now until 2020. Aquaman and Mera are two of my favorite comic book characters ever and the fact that we’ll be seeing these two on the big screen in such a short amount of time makes me so excited. Let me know what you want to see for the DCEU Aquaman film and the character.