Add to that the fact that Aquaman is dealing with the normal amount of pre-release secrecym and there's a lot of open questions about the film, its place in the DCEU and what comes next, which is dependent on what happens here. Here are the things we're still wondering about Aquaman.
This may seem like a basic and simple question, and perhpas it is, but the fact is that we don't necessarily know the answer. The trailers have shown us what appears to be a pretty simple throughline of a plot. Aquaman's brother is declaring war on the surface world, leading Mera to seek out Arthur Curry to battle his brother. We see them going head to head in battle. We can probably guess who will win.
The trailer seems to lay out the entire movie for us, but James Wan has specifically stated that this isn't the case, that there's a lot more to the film that we're not seeing, so what exactly is that? Is there just a lot of material in the middle of these events that we haven't seen or are we being misdirected regarding the actual plot? The possibility that there's a lot more going on seems much more likely when you realize how much we don't know about some of these other details.
Our first look at both Aquaman (beyond a brief glimpse from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) and Atlantis came in Justice League. We learned about how the Atlanteans were involved in the first fight with Steppenwolf and we saw the Mother Box get taken from them and, except for Aquaman himself, they didn't help to get it back.
With the apparent war on the surface world that Aquaman will deal with, one wonders why it's starting now. Was the attack on Atlantis a catalyst for something? Alternatively, were the events of the film, which took place on the "surface world," the reason that this war is happening now? If nothing else, one expects that the events of Justice League have changed Arthur Curry, potentially making him more willing to be the hero Atlantis needs.
One of the reasons that we might begin to wonder if we're missing a lot of details is that there are a lot of characters whose place in the narrative isn't clear. One of those is Dolph Lundgren's character of King Nereus. Traditionally in the comics, the character is a straightforward villain, but James Wan has stated quite unequivocally that he's not playing a bad guy here.
If he's not a villain, then does that mean King Nereus will be an ally to Aquaman? Is he being set up as a friend now in order to turn him into a foe later? Or will this version of the character simply be somebody very different from the comics version of the character? It's possible that he'll be just some sort of lesser antagonist, a bad guy without being the bad guy, but it seems like a waste of both the character and the actor to do something like that.
While James Wan has been clear that this movie doesn't have three big bad guys, he hasn't said the movie doesn't have two. Black Manta is probably Aquaman's best-known villain, and we know he's in the movie, complete with oversized helmet and everything.
What's not clear is exactly what role he'll play in the film. Since Black Manta isn't an Antlantean or other sea dweller, it seems unlikely he's fighting alongside Arthur Curry's brother, as the two would be on opposite sides. Which means Aquaman may be dealing with foes both on the land and in the sea. But as for why Black Manta has a beef with Aquaman that needs to be dealt with now would seem to be unknown. Perhaps it's the part of the story that James Wan is teasing that we haven't seen.
While we may not know exactly how various characters will fit into the plot, we know who the vast majority of them are, which makes the role being played by Graham McTavish that much more intriguing. Because we have no idea who he's playing.
While the actor has personally confirmed that he's in the movie, he did so while also making it clear that the character he's playing is being kept secret. Since Aquaman isn't hiding Black Manta or Nicole Kidman, or even that Julie Andrews is in the movie, the fact that they're keeping this one quiet seems strange and therefore it might be important. Is somebody pulling the strings behind the Atlantean throne? Is there a post-credits sequence that will introduce the villain for the sequel? It could be either of these things. It could also be that he's just a minor player there for easter egg reasons. Who knows?
Aquaman is the first proper DCEU movie since Justice League more than a year ago. That means that it's our first look at the world following the return of Superman. While this movie is clearly a solo adventure for the Atlantean, we'd expect at least a few casual references to the larger world.
Beyond that, where the DC Universe goes from here is anybody's guess. Shazam! Isn't likely to focus a great deal with the Justice League heroes because the main character is a teenager, and Wonder Woman 1984 is another prequel, so Aquaman may actually be not only our next entry into the main timeline, but our last one for a while. It's possible that the events that take place in it could end up being quite important, if only as a way to keep people taking until the next installment.