The DCEU is about to take off in some fairly significant ways. With Justice League having hit theaters in late 2017, the stage is now officially set for an army of iconic DC heroes and villains to take center stage in their solo movies. One of the most intriguing characters of the bunch is Jason Momoa's Aquaman -- who will finally step into the light almost four years after Zack Snyder first revealed his character to the world. As Arthur Curry has not taken the spotlight in live-action too many times over the years, (at least compared to his DC contemporaries like Batman and Superman), Aquaman will represent his first real opportunity to make a legitimate and profound impression on audiences all around the world.
On that note, we have gone through all of the news and developments that have materialized over the course of the last couple of years to compile a list of everything that we currently know about James Wan's upcoming Aquaman movie. Take a look at our handy guide for this aquatic DC adventure and let us know how excited you are for the film in the comments section below. Now, without further ado, let's kick this guide off with one of the greatest revelations of all: the movie's most recent trailer.
While it seems like it took forever to get some footage from Aquaman, late July 2018 finally offered up a trailer, which, as you can see from the video above, featured a wondrous look at the action, underwater world, characters and costumes in the movie. It also gives fans a pretty good taste of the main storylines, proving that we should be in for quite a treat when the film hits theaters.
Like numerous other entries in the DCEU, Aquaman has experienced a number of shifts and changes to its release date since it was first announced. That said, the film has managed to remain far more stable than other DC projects currently on the horizon. The film was originally slated to hit theaters in summer 2018 but was subsequently pushed back to fall and then winter. Now the film will hit theaters on December 21, 2018, and (barring a major, unexpected setback) it doesn't look like that is going to change anytime soon. That said, this IS DC, so anything can happen at any time.
Although it was recently revealed to The Wrap that the folks at Warner Bros. are genuinely considering the possibility of an R-rated DC movie -- particularly after the success of Logan -- it doesn't seem likely that Aquaman will be that film. It seems far more likely that a villain-centric movie like Suicide Squad 2 or even Gotham City Sirens will receive that particular honor. An Aquaman movie is a globe-trotting, big budget VFX adventure, and that stylistic choice inherently lends itself to a more sanitized story. Arthur Curry is one of DC's more brutal and badass heroes (and Jason Momoa has already sold that idea), but you shouldn't expect Aquaman to go any further than a PG-13 rating when it finally hits theaters in winter 2018.
We still don't know all the particulars of the plot for Aquaman's solo film, but we do have an idea of some of the things the movie is planning to touch on. First and foremost, with the casting of his parents and two actors who will be playing younger versions of the character at different stages, we do know that the movie is going to dig into the character's history. Aquaman will detail how Arthur was left by his Atlantean mom on land to be raised by his father, how he discovered his special abilities and how he never quite felt at home on land or in the sea. As for the modern day portion of the story, at least some of it will focus on ocean pollution, a conflict between those who live in the sea and those who live on land, and the need for Arthur to bring the two worlds together peacefully. And, it's been confirmed that a whopping two-thirds of the action will take place underwater, which should make for a very different superhero adventure.
This is one particular area where the Aquaman solo movie has actually fared better than most DC films. Despite the fact that most other DCEU films have suffered through a wide variety of director losses over the course of the last few years (The Flash being a prime example of that phenomenon) Aquaman has managed to comfortably keep James Wan locked down in the director's chair to shoot a script written by Gangster Squad's Will Beall. Given Wan's knack for shooting practical monster effects in The Conjuring horror series, as well as his proven ability to shoot coherent action sequences in Furious 7, all eyes are on him to produce one of the most expertly crafted DC films to date.
Aquaman has quite a few iconic villains that he could potentially square off against in his first ever solo movie, and James Wan decided to go with two of his most legendary foes for his first film. The 2018 Aquaman solo film will see Arthur Curry go head to head against the one and only Black Manta -- arguably the most well-known member of the King of Atlantis' rogue's gallery. Known for his iconic black suit (and its easily identifiable manta-inspired helmet) Black Manta is a villain with a tragic backstory as an autistic child who can only find comfort in cold water, and he has a personal feud with Aquaman after murdering Arthur Curry's son. To put it simply: he's one of the most badass and imposing bad guys in the entirety of DC lore.
However, although Black Manta will be among the antagonists of the first Aquaman movie, he won't be the main bad guy. It appears that the upcoming film will also do quite a bit of world-building as well, and will use Aquaman's half-brother Orm (also known as the evil villain Ocean Master) as the film's Big Bad. According to Patrick Wilson, who plays Orm, the character will butt heads with Aquaman due to his desire to start war with the surface world over the pollution of the oceans, something that the half-human Arthur Curry, obviously, doesn't want to happen.
Despite the fact that not much is currently known about the main plot of the Aquaman solo movie, it does sound like it will take place after the events of Justice League -- which apparently is also the case for The Flash solo movie as well. However, DC producer Charles Roven also recently made it abundantly clear that future DC films may follow the example set by Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman and include a number of flashback sequences to flesh out the overall mythology of the live-action DC universe. On that note, while the main Aquaman story will take place after the central team of DC superheroes has assembled to take down Steppenwolf, the film will also include flashbacks to a time when the world didn't actually know about the undersea realm of Atlantis.
Of course, as many of you already know, Aquaman will put Arthur Curry front and center for the very first time, and Jason Momoa will step into the role to headline the film. Momoa's version of Arthur Curry already made his first appearance in the DCEU during the events of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice when Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) went through Lex Luthor's (Jesse Eisenberg) files about metahumans, and the character also took a more prominent role when he made his Justice League debut.
Casting an actor like Momoa currently seems like nothing less than a stroke of genius on the part of the folks at DC. The Game of Thrones alum has developed a reputation as one of the most ferocious and physically imposing actors in Hollywood, so bringing him in to portray a more badass version of Arthur Curry will go a long way towards making people forget about their preconceived notions towards Aquaman as a hero. That said, Justice League has already made quite a few jokes at the character's expense ("I hear you can talk to fish") so it seems that the DCEU will maintain a certain sense of humor to complement Aquaman's newfound ferocity.
Behind any respectable King is a Queen keeping him in line, and Aquaman's Queen will take the form of Amber Heard's Mera. An iconic DC hero, and badass warrior in her own right, Mera already made her proper debut in a Justice League cameo, and now she'll take on a much more substantial role when the Aquaman solo movie finally debuts.
Although we've only seen a little interaction between Arthur Curry and Mera (in Justice League), everything that we have heard about their dynamic in his titular film promises something that's equal parts hilarious, romantic, and downright cool. These two characters are incredibly hard-headed and self-reliant, and as such they will have to learn to work with one another over the course of their first scenes within the DCEU. Heard has gone on record saying that Mera and Arthur make quite the "unlikely duo," but their partnership will create a "nuanced relationship between them" that leads to a strong bond. James Wan has actually likened the overall tone of the solo Aquaman film to that of Romancing the Stone, which means we can reasonably expect a romantic adventure to play a central role in the aquatic DC movie.
When the announcement came out that Willem Dafoe would play a character in the DCEU, fans began wildly speculating as to which character he could potentially portray. As a guy known for some truly outlandish roles, it could've been anyone. That said, Vulko seems like a perfect choice. A major member of Aquaman's supporting cast, Nuidis Vulko is a scientific and political advisor to the King of Atlantis, and one of Arthur Curry's closest confidants as he rules the seven seas.
Like Amber Heard's Mera, Vulko was supposed to make his initial debut during the events of Justice League before making a full introduction in Aquaman -- in a move likely somewhat similar to the introduction of Marisa Tomei's Aunt May in Captain America: Civil War. Unfortunately, Dafoe's work on the film had to be cut when it was realized there just wasn't enough time to include the scenes he'd filmed. How he will explicitly factor into the overarching narrative of the Aquaman solo movie remains to be seen, but considering the fact that we absolutely love everything Willem Dafoe does, we have a feeling that Vulko will be one of the standout characters from the DCEU.
One of the most delightful revelations to come out of the DCEU in recent months is the reveal of Patrick Wilson as Aquaman's half-brother Orm. Also known as Ocean Master, Orm is a full Atlantean who grows resentful of Arthur Curry when his brother returns and rightfully dethrones him. Think Loki and Thor, only with more water. After being unclear exactly how much of a villain Orm will be in Aquaman for quite some time, we now know that he is the film's main antagonist. So, instead of the movie only planting the seeds for him to break bad in a future story, Orm will be an out and out antagonist during this first undersea adventure. And, the epic conflict between these half-brothers should be something to see.
Oddly enough, Patrick Wilson has technically already appeared in the DCEU -- albeit as little more than a voiceover cameo. He is credited as "POTUS" from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice on IMDB, which means that he is technically the one who ordered a nuclear strike on Superman. With his upcoming role as the villainous Orm, we can tell that his resume of dastardly deeds in this universe is only going to get longer and more diverse as time goes by.
Stepping into the role of a character that has never been depicted on the silver screen is a major responsibility -- particularly for an up and comer like Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. However, considering the young actor's work on Baz Luhrmann's The Get Down on Netflix, all eyes are on him to pull of Black Manta in exemplary fashion. Not much is currently known about how Black Manta will explicitly factor into Aquaman's overarching narrative, but Yahya Abdul-Mateen II certainly has a look and the physicality to portray Manta in a way that should make fans of the DC lore very happy.
Of all the confirmed members of Aquaman's supporting cast, he is the one we know the least about. While we will have to wait and see how James Wan handles him as more information becomes available to us, we do know that this iteration of the character plays an important part in the story, and is also "part mercenary but full-time pirate," according to Abdul-Mateen. If that description doesn't get you eager to watch him on the big screen, it's possible nothing will. But, from the look of the character in full, comic book costume that we got in the trailer (along with the glimpse of his laser beam-eyed helmet) it seems like just getting to see Black Manta in live action will be worth the wait.
Late January 2017 brought some casting information related to Aquaman which raised the distinct possibility that the film wanted Nicole Kidman for the role of Atlanna. Luckily, by early April of the same year, Kidman had agreed to take part in the film. Not much is currently known about how Atlanna could potentially fit into the Aquaman story (because not much is known about the plot itself yet). That said, the presence of Aquaman's mother in the film's narrative will go a long way towards reinforcing the thematic idea that Arthur Curry is a man stuck between two worlds. Kidman has said that her friendship with James Wan, along with the opportunity to play "a mermaid warrior" are what led her to accept the role. Oddly enough, this isn't Nicole Kidman's first go-around in the DC universe, as she previously portrayed Dr. Chase Meridian in Joel Schumacher's (underrated) Batman Forever back in 1995.
April 2018 brought Aquaman reshoots and the confirmation that an addition to the cast had been present all along in the form of Fresh Off the Boat and Veep actor Randall Park. According to James Wan's tweet, Park is taking on the role of Dr. Shin in the new film, and while we don't know just yet exactly what his character will be like on the big screen, because this is a character who was important to Geoff Johns' work on the comic during the New 52 era, we do have some idea of what he could be doing. In the comics, Arthur's father took him to Dr. Shin, the world's foremost expert on Atlantis, and he helped the youngster develop his special skills. But, later, when Arthur refused to tell Shin where Atlantis was, the doctor tried to kill him. Eventually, though, Shin did become an actually ally to Arthur again, so, it'll be interesting to see how Aquaman uses him.
After months of speculation that actor Michael Beach, of The CW's The 100, might be involved in Aquaman in some way, it was finally confirmed that he'll be playing Jesse Kane in the film. Kane will be part of a group of "high seas hijackers" in the movie, and his membership in that group will somehow lead him to have whats being called a "fateful interaction" with the underseas hero. These details have lead many fans to speculate that he will actually be the father to Black Manta, since that character was a treasure hunter in the comics, but neither Beach nor anyone else associated with the film have confirmed that at this point.
In an effort to flesh out the underwater world of Atlantis, Aquaman will be bringing in another character from the comics, and that will be Dolph Lundgren's King Nereus. In comic lore, Nereus is the ruler of another aquatic kingdom, Xebel, which is where Mera is actually from. While Mera and Nereus were former lovers in the comics, for the purpose of this movie, their relationship will, instead, be as father and daughter. The character is quite villainous historically, but James Wan has gone on record noting that this version of Nereus will be "not quite a villain," so we'll see how the character works within the narrative of the film when it hits theaters.
Well, after talking a lot about all the villains or potential villains that Aquaman will introduce, we've come back around to the side of the good guys. Actor Ludi Lin, who is best known in the United States for his role as the Black Ranger in the most recent Power Rangers film, will be playing Murk in the movie. The comic version of Murk is the leader of the Men-Of-War, the main army of Atlantis, and also serves as a close ally to Aquaman. The character was just introduced in the comics a few years ago, though, so the film will have a lot of leeway with how Murk is characterized.
Djimon Honsou's appearance in Aquaman was a bit of a surprise, as we only heard of his role in the movie during the summer of 2018. It turns out that his character is going to be somewhat important, though, as Orm will go to him to seek support in declaring war on the surface world. Apparently, his kingdom is one of the ones that evolved after Atlantis fell, and the community is now mostly comprised of poets, philosophers and other cerebral, artistic types. Would these guys really be willing to help out with a major war effort? We'll just have to wait and see.