The critical reactions to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad has done little to dampen the plans for the future of the DC Extended Universe. Many fans are hopeful about the future of the franchise, especially now that Geoff Johns is (by most accounts) serving as the main architect for the upcoming DCEU installments. The trailers for Wonder Woman and Justice League were well received at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, and now people are already looking beyond those 2017 tentpoles.
Aquaman is one such DCEU film on the horizon and has garnered much speculation and interest since it was announced. After Jason Mamoa’s brief introduction in Dawn of Justice, fan interest has only grown. The character will make his proper debut in Justice League, but the James Wan-directed Aquaman solo film is already one of the most talked about future entries in the franchise. Though DC and Warner Brothers have kept the lid firmly on the details of the project, it’s possible that we may now know who Aquaman will be facing off against in his first solo cinematic outing.
The Wrap is reporting that Aquaman will feature one of the series most acclaimed villains, Black Manta. While Warner Brothers has yet to comment on the news, Black Manta’s status as Aquaman’s arch enemy makes his inclusion in the film a likely bet. Without studio confirmation though, there’s no word yet on potential casting for the villain.
Black Manta has been a fixture within the comics for almost 50 years now. First introduced in 1967, the villain has faced off against Aquaman numerous times, becoming his greatest enemy in the process. The character has had multiple origin stories over the years, with various explanations for his powers and his problems with Aquaman. In the New 52, Black Manta was the son of a man killed by Aquaman after an attempt on his father’s life, setting up their adversarial relationship. He’s also alternately been portrayed as the leader of a black separatist movement with designs on establishing a new, underwater nation for his people after so many years of oppression on land and as a human/manta hybrid.
Given the influence of the New 52 on the direction of the DCEU, it seems likely that the character will be a direct adaptation of his appearance there. It is, after all, the easiest and most direct way to portray the character. It’s also possible that the character will be an amalgam of his various appearances. It would be interesting to see the black separatist version of the character on the big screen, and it would give WB and DC a chance to explore some of the more political sides to his persona.
Either way, Black Manta is a great way to introduce Aquaman to cinematic audiences. DC seems set on dispelling the notion that Arthur Curry is just a guy who can talk to fish—a joke that was wryly addressed in the trailer for Justice League—and make him a character worthy of placement next to Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Having him face-off against a villain with the standing of Black Manta is a great way to show audiences just what Aquaman is capable of.
Suicide Squad is in theaters now. Wonder Woman opens on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 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. The Flash, the Batman solo movie and Man of Steel 2 are currently without release dates.
Source: The Wrap