Late last year, James Wan’s Aquaman continued the DCEU’s unexpected winning streak. After getting off to a slow start with films like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, the franchise started setting itself apart with Wonder Woman, and later with Jason Momoa’s solo outing as the King of Atlantis.
When Aquaman became the highest grossing movie ever adapted from DC Comics characters with a worldwide box office gross of more than $1 billion, it didn’t take too long for Warner Bros. to greenlight a sequel. So, in anticipation of Aquaman 2, here are 5 Things That Have Been Confirmed (And 5 Fan Theories).
10 Confirmed: James Wan Is Back In The Director’s Chair
Having made his name directing horror movies like Insidious and The Conjuring and proving he could handle a big-budget action blockbuster with Furious 7, James Wan was an interesting choice to tackle the DCEU’s Aquaman movie. All in all, he nailed it, expertly weaving world-building into an exciting plot. The studio was quick to get Wan signed back on to direct the sequel to Aquaman. Wan is helming another horror movie – a smaller, low-budget piece starring Annabelle Wallis that’s set to go into production this fall – before diving back into Atlantis, but he is signed on to direct the sequel.
9 Fan Theory: Aquaman Will Team Up With Another Member Of The Justice League
Warner Bros. has said that less connected DC Comics movies are the way forward, having tried to force too much interconnectivity too soon in Batman v Superman and Justice League. However, now that Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Shazam! have gotten the DCEU back on track, the studio could be looking to reintroduce some elements of connective tissue in the Aquaman sequel.
Obviously, none of the other members of the Justice League can breathe underwater, but Jason Momoa has said that Aquaman 2 will be set in both land and sea environments, so there’s room to fit in Wonder Woman or the Flash to give him a helping hand along the way.
8 Confirmed: Jason Momoa Is Working On The Story With The Original’s Co-Writer
David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, one of the writers who worked on the first Aquaman movie, has been hired to write the sequel. Jason Momoa has said that he’s been working closely with Johnson-McGoldrick on the story. Momoa explained, “I was excited to get back in there, and so I’ve been working with our previous writer [Johnson-McGoldrick], and getting in there, and we’ve got a locked story, and we’re getting into it.” The actor also has said that the sequel will be “way bigger” than the original (which was already pretty big) and he’s pitched some of his own ideas to James Wan and the studio, who “loved them.”
7 Fan Theory: There Will Be Less World-Building
A lot of 2018’s Aquaman was centered around establishing the story’s world. It introduced us to Atlantis, the Trench, the Seven Kingdoms; we got lectures in Atlantean politics; we saw how Atlantean ceremonies and combat go down. The stage is set for the Aquaman sequel to re-immerse us in a world that we’re already familiar with and focus on the story. For this reason, some fans have suggested that Aquaman 2 will feature little to no world-building at all, instead using the pre-built world from the first one. It could be The Dark Knight of the DCEU’s Aquaman solo franchise.
6 Confirmed: It’ll Be Released On December 16, 2022
Warner Bros. has slated Aquaman 2 for a theatrical release on December 16, 2022. There aren’t many dated movies for that year yet, since it’s a while away, but there are plenty of sequels planning to hit theaters in 2022: The Matrix 4, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2, Mission: Impossible 8 (which is shooting back-to-back with Mission: Impossible 7), The LEGO Batman Movie 2. Disney has slated the most releases of any studio for 2022, including a Star Wars movie, a couple of live-action remakes, a couple of Marvel movies, and a couple of Pixar movies. A film adaptation of Minecraft and the fourth of five planned installments in the Fantastic Beasts franchise will also be arriving in 2022.
5 Fan Theory: Vulko Falsified Parts Of The Story Of Atlan
Posited by a since-deleted Reddit account, this fan theory goes that the story of Atlan, as told by Vulko to Aquaman and Mera, has been partially falsified to paint Atlan in a more positive light than he deserves. In the true version of events, supposedly, Atlan was more of a tyrant. The Karathen is introduced as one of the oldest and most powerful beings on Earth, a sea creature with traits of all sea creatures. The theory suggests that Atlantis didn’t thrive due to its superior technology or spiritual energy, but because it genetically engineered the perfect sea-dwelling species by combining human DNA with the Karathen’s.
4 Confirmed: Black Manta Will Return
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has confirmed that he will be returning as Black Manta as the Aquaman sequel. This is hardly surprising, since the first one’s post-credits scene set him up for a larger role in the future. He’ll continue his crusade to avenge his father’s death. The scene appeared to set up Randall Park’s character Dr. Stephen Shin for a bigger role going forward, too. He’s the one who fished Black Manta out of the ocean, and he’d spent the movie alienating newscasters with his conspiracy theories about the existence of Atlantis. That’ll be fun to explore in the next movie.
3 Fan Theory: Black Manta Is Part-Atlantean
Suggested by Reddit user u/Whatapunk, there’s some merit to this theory that Black Manta has some Atlantean blood coursing through his veins. The theory is mostly predicated on the fact that Black Manta was able to wound Aquaman – who, it’s established, can only be harmed by Atlantean steel – using his grandfather’s knife that his father passed down to him.
His grandfather is said to have returned to the sea and lived a solitary life, so mating with an Atlantean would explain how he still had a family. There’s a chance that his grandfather was from an ocean-dwelling species that wasn’t necessarily Atlantean, but it’s still interesting to think about.
2 Confirmed: It’ll Carry An Environmentalist Message
When Jason Momoa appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show to discuss his recent environmentalist activism, he was asked about the Aquaman sequel, and he mentioned that his plan is to give the second movie a powerful message about the impact that humanity is having on the environment: “I was really, really, really passionate to do the second one, because it’s the first time where it’s all on Earth. It’s combining land and sea, kind of like what I’m doing with this [environmental cause]. There’s no outside aliens destroying Earth – it’s us.” The original carried an environmentalist message, but it didn’t explore it in depth, so it’ll be interesting to see the sequel go deeper with these themes.
1 Fan Theory: Arthur Curry Will Rule Atlantis As A Tyrant
In the final battle of Aquaman, Arthur Curry marches into the combat arena on the back of a mythical creature to usurp the throne of Atlantis from his half-brother, Orm. As pointed out by u/Symiir, there’s a problem with this. For most of the movie, Arthur is following a standard hero’s journey, learning from his mistakes in order to become a fit king. However, once he retrieves the Trident, he uses bloodshed to seize his kingdom. He doesn’t just use his new mythical friend to stop Orm’s forces – all of the brine soldiers are wiped out, too. So, the theory is that in the sequel, Arthur Curry will rule Atlantis as a tyrant.