The shared universe launched by Batman V Superman may still be in the planning stages, but Warner Bros. has made some impressive strides, handing their DC Comics properties to a promising range of directors. With David Ayer leading Suicide Squad, Michelle MacLaren overseeing Wonder Woman, and comedic duo Lord & Miller developing The Flash, an eclectic mix has been gathered, to say the least.
Fans may soon be able to attach a name to the Aquaman film as well, with new reports claiming that Furious 7 director James Wan – hot off a box office monster – has emerged as the studio’s top choice to bring DC’s King of Atlantis to the big screen.
After casting Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) in the title role, few needed convincing that WB was looking to turn the oft-mocked aquatic hero into a certified action star. THR now reports that Warner Bros. is apparently looking to add a proven action director to the mix, with James Wan (The Conjuring) not only being considered for the director’s chair, but firmly established as the studio’s top choice.
This update arrives not long after the Furious 7 director explained that he was looking to another Conjuring film as a “holiday” after the blockbuster action film – but that he remained open to directing a potential DC Comics film, as had been rumored since establishing a firmer relationship with WB and New Line. Apparently, his horror holiday may be put to even better use knowing there is another action-packed epic waiting on the other side (and set for a 2018 release date).
Wan is only the latest in a line of lesser-known, but lauded directors rumored to be up for Aquaman: the first tip came in the wake of the Sony hacking scandal, revealing that Jeff Nichols (Mud) was all but a lock. Nichols’ name attached to the film came as a genuine shock, with his only major credits being the slow-burn coming-of-age story Mud, and Midnight Special, still yet to be released by Warner Bros..
Presumably, it was Nichols’ knack for small-scale drama that had made him a candidate – not exactly expected for a superhero adventure. Particularly one expected to hinge on a battle for the throne of a mythical underwater kingdom.
More recently, word arrived that stuntmasters-turned-John Wick directors David Leith and Chad Stahelski had been scooped up for a DC film, with Aquaman the possible choice. Given their hard-hitting action… an exceptionally far cry from Nichols they seem (for the moment).
With Wan, the studio may have found an answer somewhere between the two. The director has already cemented his name in horror movie history, with his work on Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring – films that relied not on mindless killers for their tension, but the relatable families at their core. Perhaps after proving he could pull off blockbuster action on the largest scale imaginable (although dropping some of the smaller character drama and heart), Warner Bros. was finally convinced he deserved a shot with a certified Justice League-er?
If director Zack Snyder is going to be showing his 300 influence anywhere in his Justice League universe, Aquaman is, himself, fast emerging as the frontrunner. Warner Bros. has entrusted Kurt Johnstad to develop one possible script for the film, following his collaboration with Snyder in adapting Frank Miller’s “300”, as well as 300: Rise of an Empire.
With that film’s director also recently rumored for Aquaman, it appears Warner Bros. may be looking to add a classical combat franchise to its varied universe (no doubt part of the reason Momoa wishes Zack Snyder could direct the film himself). If that kind of material is to be expected, Wan may be challenged to tackle two completely different brands of blockbuster in just a few short years.
We’ll keep you updated on Wan’s involvement in Aquaman, but for now, what do you make of this news? Did James Wan prove himself capable of directing a truly blockbuster level of action, or did Furious 7 leave out some elements you would hope to see in an Aquaman film? On the other hand, is it Wan’s experience in the horror genre that seems most intriguing? Sound off in the comments.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman – June 23rd, 2017; Justice League – November 17th, 2017; The Flash – March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman – July 27th, 2018; Shazam – April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 – June 14th, 2019; Cyborg – April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern – June 19th, 2020.