The Sony Leak of 2014 has not only shed light on the studio’s plan-making behind closed doors, but also that of its rival studios. For example, one leaked email confirms the all-but-official news that Simon Kinberg – screenwriter on X-Men: Days of Future Past and next year’s Fantastic Four reboot – is laying the foundation for a Fantastic Four/X-Men movie crossover down the line. That is cited in the leaked email as being a prospective model for Sony’s planned Spider-Man Movie Shared Universe (plans that are very much in flux right now).
A separate email, as reported by The Daily Beast, suggests that Warner Bros. and DC have recruited the indie filmmaker Jeff Nichols to direct the Aquaman solo movie starring Jason Momoa as the eponymous, nautical, superhero. Momoa has recently expressed his desire to see Zack Snyder helm that specific DC project, though the odds are that was more wishful thinking on his part than anything else (seeing as Snyder is already officially lined up to direct two Justice League movies next).
Nichols, however, would be a choice in keeping with the talent that WB/DC have already recruited to put together a DC Movie Shared Universe. That roster includes a handful of people who, similar to Nichols, have earned their fair share of critical acclaim, including Suicide Squad director David Ayer (Fury) and Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad), who’s both directing and overseeing script development on Wonder Woman.
Aquaman will take be the first superhero feature to take place in no small amount underwater (naturally), which makes Nichols all the more intriguing a choice to direct. The filmmaker already demonstrated a knack for creating not only visually-poetic films, but those that create worlds that are grounded in everyday reality, yet somehow feel fantastical and far-removed all at once – be it the Arkansas cotton fields of Shotgun Stories or the river banks in Mud (or even the visions of an apocalyptic storm striking Ohio in Take Shelter).
Momoa has spoken before about his own personal spiritual connection to the Aquaman character and his world; those sorts of mythological overtones are something that Nichols would no doubt play up, should he in fact wind up directing. Nichols doesn’t have big-budget moviemaking experience at the moment, though that hasn’t stopped other directors from stepping in and finding a way to leave their mark on the superhero genre in the past. (Batman Begins, lest you forget, was Christopher Nolan’s first big tentpole, for example.)
We’ve seen more and more studios begin to recruit promising indie cinema storytellers to oversee their upcoming tentpoles of late, and Warner Bros./DC will continue to keep that practice going, should the Nichols story pan out. Before that happens, though, Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will kick the DC film universe into a higher gear – and if Momoa’s Aquaman ends up making a stylish debut in the movie as expected, that will only heighten expectations for his own solo vehicle.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens March 25th, 2016, followed by Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016, Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017, Justice League, Part 1 on November 17th, 2017, The Flash on March 23rd, 2018, Aquaman on July 27th, 2018, Shazam on April 5th, 2019, Justice League, Part 2 on June 14th, 2019, Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020, and Green Lantern on June 19th, 2020.
Source: The Daily Beast