Unlike most debut solo movies, James Wan's upcoming Aquaman movie doesn't feature the big screen debut of Jason Momoa's Arthur Curry. As fans know, the character actually first appeared three years ago, briefly cameoing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and then he came back for a supporting role in 2017's Justice League. This by itself put the single-hero adventure on a strange footing, but there is one thing that the production did demand, and that was being able to reveal the DC Extended Universe's vision of Atlantis. Producer Peter Safran told us,
Going into Justice League, before they shot it, there were a lot of conversations about the things that were important for James [Wan] to be the one to reveal - storylines that were important to him, elements that were important to him. We wanted to make sure that Atlantis was never seen before we show it. And so, there were those conversations with Zack [Snyder] and DC and both DC and Zack and the studio were all incredibly magnanimous about respecting those things that were important to James.
Last July -- months before the release of Justice League - I had the incredible opportunity to hop on a plane and join a small group of other film journalists on a trip to the Melbourne, Australia set of Aquaman, and through interviews and observation learned a great deal about the movie. During a roundtable interview with Peter Safran, the filmmaker was asked about coordinating the story with the rest of the DC Extended Universe, and it was revealed that the undersea world of Atlantis was specifically held out of the franchise's big team-up blockbuster and reserved for the aquatic hero's solo project.
Of course, as fans know, this didn't stop Justice League from having at least some underwater action. After all, there is a sequence where Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) battles for the Motherbox held by the Atlanteans, and winds up beating Aquaman in a fight. That being said, it's not exactly like the movie explores the world at all, and the only other significant character to be introduced was Amber Heard's Mera.
The discussion about Atlantis and its introduction in the DC Extended Universe was clearly a big one behind the scenes of Justice League and Aquaman, but it was far from the only one held. After all, the concept behind cinematic universes is maintained continuity, and that requires a lot of communication. Fortunately, Peter Safran seemed to fully recognize that during our interview, saying,
Throughout the whole process we've always made sure the storyline that we're telling and the storyline that they told meld together in an organic fashion. There were conversations as recently as the additional shooting [on Justice League], just about, 'We want to do this, well, what about this, how does it impact us?' and everybody's played very well together.
We still have a while to wait until Aquaman arrives in theaters, with the film not set for release until December 21st -- but be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend, as this is only the start of my set visit coverage.