With Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad both growing distant in the rearview, the only thing left for fans of the DCEU is to look forward. While neither of the two releases this year were well received, the coming year does bring some hope for bigger and better things. Wonder Woman, for instance, is finally getting her own solo movie after her introduction in Dawn of Justice. And while that’s certainly at the forefront of everyone’s mind, it’s difficult not to be excited about the potential for Justice League.
On the heels of his financially sort-of-successful but critically poorly received Batman v Superman, director Zack Snyder (Man of Steel) hopes to help right the course of the DCEU’s cinematic universe with Justice League. Anticipation is certainly high, and the reception to the special trailer released at SDCC this summer reinvigorated hopes that the franchise is still worth sticking with. The film finds Ben Affleck’s (The Accountant) Batman and Gal Gadot’s (Keeping Up with the Joneses) Wonder Woman embarking on a worldwide quest to find meta-humans to help fight against a powerful enemy. Joining them are Ezra Miller (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) as The Flash, Ray Fisher (The Astronaut Wives Club) as Cyborg, and Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) as Aquaman. New set images give us a better look at one of these heroes.
ComicBookMovie revealed several new images which show Momoa on set in Iceland as the King of Atlantis. The images offer a bit of a sneak peak at Aquaman rising from the depths to reveal himself to land dwellers. These images come as Justice League begins the final stages of filming while Momoa preps to begin work on Aquaman with director James Wan (The Conjuring 2) in Australia.
While revealing little about the plot in the upcoming Justice League movie or Aquaman’s ultimate role in the narrative, these photos do give us an idea of the general look Snyder and Momoa are going for in bringing the character to life. Momoa is a stark departure from his comic book counterpart, generally portrayed as a blond-haired, fresh-faced man. Momoa, by contrast, is full of dark brooding, with a demeanor perhaps more befit of the king of the sea.
Purists might scoff in the change of the character’s look, but it perfectly meshes with the world Snyder has largely helped guide since Man of Steel back in 2013. For better or for worse, Snyder’s take on the DC universe is darker and more serious than the comics often portray. This has led to many upset fans, though recently WB has indicated a change of course in terms of the tone for the series.
As the SDCC first look showed us, Snyder and WB seem to be taking those claims seriously, with the first trailer showing a slightly more lighthearted tone than its forebears. Momoa and Affleck facing off as Aquaman and Batman meet for the first time certainly had a levity to it, an element sorely missing in the DCEU output thus far.
Even with Momoa’s super-serious glower seen in these photos, there are elements of playfulness seen on set, which tend to translate onto the screen in some form or another. Even still, Aquaman has been largely marginalized as a hero who can only talk to fish — a fact which was played upon in the SDCC trailer — so the actor should be taking steps to solidify the hero’s status as a force to be reckoned with. Indeed, seeing Momoa rising from the icy arctic waters of Iceland certainly adds to the idea that Aquaman is no minor hero.
How that will eventually translate to the screen, however, is anyone’s guess. Snyder certainly has his work cut out for him, especially after fans have largely blamed him for the overall tone and missteps of the franchise thus far. But, it’s never too late to course correct, and the prospect of seeing all of these characters, Aquaman included, take the screen together for the first time might just be enough to win back a few detractors. And if WB is serious about correcting the tone then by this time next year we might just be having an entirely different conversation about the DCEU.