Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is making big money in its first weekend, but not without facing some criticism. Critics have assailed the film, particularly for its grim, overly dark take on the traditionally more upbeat DC Comics heroes. And since the film is intended to launch a connected DC Extended Universe at the movies, even some of the film’s supporters have been left to wonder whether the same tone and feel established by director Zack Snyder will work if carried over into the other movies and characters.
Now, director James Wan has spoken up about his in-development Aquaman project, promising fans that he won’t be following in lockstep with the Batman V Superman aesthetic.
Wan, speaking at WonderCon to promote his two upcoming horror films, The Conjuring 2 and Lights Out, was asked about his approach to the aquatic superhero in the wake of critical and fan concerns about the burgeoning DCEU in Dawn of Justice. In response, the Furious 7 director explained:
“The kind of filmmaker that I am, even my darker horror films are still very fun. And I think that’s important for me and the kinds of films I make. The film I’m here to present, ‘Lights Out,’ is a fun horror film. And I think Aquaman is a character who has… y’know, been made fun of a lot over the years, and I think it’s kind of fun to show a really different, cool, badass side to this character – but at the same time, let’s not forget to have fun with it.”
Created in 1941 as one of DC’s more out-there superhero characters, Aquaman (traditionally Arthur Curry, the half-human son of a scientist and a woman from an underwater lost civilization) has long been one of the publisher’s most divisive heroes. While his unusual mythos and large supporting cast has earned him a fiercely loyal fanbase over several generations, his unusual power-set (he swims fast, breaths underwater, has super-strength from surviving at oceanic depths and can telepathically communicate with fish) and a supporting cast that has frequently included mermaids and sentient sea-creatures has often left him out of step with comics’ increasing focus of realism and “gritty” characterizations.
The film’s version of the character, played by Jason Momoa, makes his (brief) debut in Batman V Superman look closer to the 1990s interpretations of the character as a grizzled barbarian, wielding a trident and looking none too pleased to see humans peeking in on his undersea world. Little is known about the Aquaman film itself, including which villains (or allies) might appear and what the DCEU version of Atlantis and other iconic locations will be imagined as.
Wan is scheduled to begin directing the film in the near future, having recently completed directorial duties on The Conjuring 2 and producing Lights Out. He has also been mentioned as a potential helmer for a remake of The Rocketeer at Disney, but the project has not been much heard about since 2012.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in U.S. theaters. Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 23, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps. on June 19, 2020.