Part of what makes Aquaman such a unique property within the superhero genre is the duality of its setting, with stories being set on land, undersea, or both. It’s reflective of Aquaman himself, actually, a character born of an Alantean mother and a human father. As King of Atlantis, his dual heritage takes on an even more significant role, often needing to serve as a goodwill ambassador between the humans of the surface and the Atlanteans (as well as vice-versa).
The opportunity to explore the underwater world of Atlantis is a real draw for the Aquaman installment in the DC Extended Universe, offering something entirely new than the land-locked adventures we’ve experienced so far. It’s expected we’ll see at least a little of how Aquaman moves underwater in next year’s Justice League, before director James Wan gets to really dive into it the underwater action with Aquaman. But just because Aquaman is King of the Seven Seas, he isn’t totally useless on land. On the contrary, Aquaman’s Atlantean heritage makes him almost as strong as Superman, and therefor, an extremely capable force on land and sea.
Aquaman co-screenwriter, Will Beall, recently spoke with /Film about the film’s setting, explaining that audiences shouldn’t expect Aquaman to be set entirely underwater:
“I can tell you that not all of the action takes place underwater. Some of the most fun action in the movie actually takes place on dry land.”
We still don’t know much about what happens in Aquaman, though there are strong implications his nemesis, Black Manta, will be the main villain. But even without any details about the plot or story, having portions of Aquaman take place on land only follows with what has been the precedent in most Aquaman comics. Being that he’s almost as impervious as Superman, Aquaman can take damage just as well as dishing it out. And director James Wan has already teased how he hopes Aquaman becomes something of the Wolverine of the DCEU, implying Arthur Curry may have some real berseker rage to unleash.
Beall also revealed he isn’t yet finished with the Aquaman script – which he’s co-writing with Wan and Geoff Johns – but when asked if there’s anything in flux due to Justice League still being in production, he said:
“No, no, they know what’s happening. Everybody knows what’s happening so it’s not that. It’s working out what’s going to make the best movie.”
Warner Bros. is really all about presenting a unified front at this moment given the rough response the DCEU has received thus far, but when it comes to Aquaman, of course Justice League is serving as a testing ground. Wan even shared the same sentiment earlier, saying Justice League “will be an experiment for me to see what works and what may not work as well.” And what more could fans want, really, than a creative team determined to get things right.
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.