The DC Extended Universe has director James Wan (Fast & Furious 7) onboard to helm Aquaman, a solo movie for the ocean-dwelling superhero that’s come under a degree of ridicule over the years – and could be in for a big screen treatment that affirms him as one of the studio’s staple characters. Recent DC Comics stories have successfully made Aquaman a more fearsome character (and less a pop culture punchline), so now it’s the movies turn to follow suit.
Wan joining the project was a massive coup for the DCEU, but previous ties with Warner Bros. Pictures on films like The Conjuring (and the upcoming sequel) meant the groundwork was already in place for the studio to link up with the filmmaker for Aquaman – a film that has former Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa as its lead and Amber Heard as Mera. In an attempt to widen the scope of the DCEU, there were, and still are, many sceptics surrounding the all-powerful ruler of the sea’s big screen debut. But with Wan declaring the film will have a fun edge and refrain from being a totally serious affair – the very thing many people criticised Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice for – there’s every chance that we could get a surprisingly accessible movie, much like Fox’s Deadpool shocked everyone with its huge box office takings and positive reception.
During his press tour for The Conjuring 2, Wan revealed to Cinemablend what we can expect from the Aquaman epic:
“I gotta say, one thing I love about the Aquaman world is all the really different, really interesting characters. They are interesting characters, including the villains – I’m not going to tell you which villains I’m going to play with! [laughs] But they’re super cool. They’re very larger than life, but they’re unique.”
And while no one really expected the filmmaker to tell us who the villain of the film is just yet, his attitude to the project seems relaxed and fun, with a willingness to play around with the (mis)conceptions of the brutish hero. Hopefully, this will give rise to a pleasant outcome for anyone still doubting it.
More significantly though, Wan states his reasons for jumping on board with the project, citing the “uniqueness” of both the world Aquaman inhabits and the central villain as reasons to back it:
“That’s what I’ll speak to – the uniqueness of the Aquaman world. There are so many superhero movies now; I don’t want to make a superhero movie now for the sake of doing it, but there’s something unique to the world of Aquaman. There’s a reason why they’ve never made a movie about this until now, because technology has never allowed us to tackle something this complicated. And so because of that it feels like something different, and that uniqueness is what I’m excited about.”
His refreshing outlook is nothing other than a positive spin on what many ‘superhero fatigue’ complainers believe is becoming a problem in Hollywood. He’s fully aware that a fresh angle could see the film do better than simply playing by the rules and sticking to conventions. Granted, we do tend to get a new superhero movie every few months – already this year we’ve seen Deadpool, Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, and X-Men: Apocalypse, with Suicide Squad and Doctor Strange still to come. That will be six for the year, with literally dozens planned over the next five years and beyond.
With rumours that Wan himself was about to leave the project in the wake of former The Flash helmer Seth Graheme-Smith departing, those worries have been refuted by the man himself. Going by the way that Wan has been enthusiastically discussing Aquaman, there’s reason to have faith in a director that’s certainly got a proven track record in every genre that he’s dabbled in to date.
Suicide Squad will hit theaters on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020.