Aquaman actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II says that his villain, Black Manta, is being set up for future appearances in other DC Extended Universe movies. Directed by James Wan (The Conjuring), Aquaman will be the first DCEU movie since last summer's Justice League, in which Jason Momoa's Aquaman saved the planet (with a little help from his friends).
A classic supervillain from the comics, Black Manta (whose real name is David Hyde) uses a specially designed underwater suit to do battle with Aquaman on his own turf - the highlight of which is a helmet capable of blasting rays from its eyes. Black Manta will play a secondary villain role in Aquaman, with Ocean Master (Patrick Wilson) serving as the movie's main villain, but you can expect to see Black Manta return in the DCEU.
Speaking to JoBlo on the set of Aquaman last year, Abdul-Mateen explained that his role in Aquaman is more about establishing Black Manta as a threat within the universe, rather than featuring him as the villain of the movie:
"We get an introduction to him, and it's not an extremely heavy dose, but it is one that's going to crack the door open... he's definitely not a guy who's just here for a short time, and just going to disappear. I think we try to talk about him as a guy who has the potential to be a pretty big force within the world.
So, does that mean that Black Manta will be the main villain of Aquaman 2? Well, not necessarily. Abdul-Mateen isn't simply talking about the character's future within Aquaman's storyline, but his role in the rest of the DCEU as well. When asked if he could pop up in other DC movies, the actor suggested that Black Manta could make a comeback in Justice League team-ups as well:
"If you see Aquaman in Justice League, then you know, it'll make sense for Black Manta to say, 'Hey! What you doing?' Pop his head in, wherever he is, he can justify making it his business. I'm looking forward to living long within the DC world, and creating a little bit of chaos."
It wouldn't be the first time that a DCEU movie took the approach of setting up a major upcoming villain in a smaller way; Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice heavily foreshadowed the arrival of Steppenwolf before he crashed into the scene in Justice League. As Abdul-Mateen pointed out, Black Manta may be best known as an Aquaman, but he can also be found all over DC canon - including, at one point, joining the Suicide Squad. Aquaman 2 might offer the best opportunity to showcase him as a main villain who has serious beef with Arthur Curry, but Black Manta has a great deal of potential beyond that.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020