When Warner Bros announced their upcoming slate, the inclusion of Aquaman was pegged as a movie that could potentially present some problems. The questions were not directly towards the decision to adapt the character, but rather how he would be included. As a character, Aquaman could come out as overly cartoonish thanks to his costume and the ability to communicate with underwater creatures. Even though we have yet to see much of the character so far, Jason Momoa's look is intimidating and makes it difficult to want to make fun of him.
With Aquaman set to appear next as a member of the team in Justice League, he will follow that up with his own movie down the line. DC has tapped James Wan as the director for the film, and he too knows that Momoa will bring something different to the character that will not make him the laughing stock of the DCEU.
Wan was recently interviewed by IGN about what having an actor like Momoa can do for the role. Although he is a member of the DC family, Wan likens Aquaman to a fellow superhero over at Fox due to his physique alone. On a character level however, it is the complexity that he brings to a team dynamic, as well as on his own, that makes him interesting:
"Yeah, I actually think it's a brilliant move on Zack and co. to cast someone like Jason. Immediately, the whole joke aspect of Aquaman goes out the window. You have such a muscular, superhero-y character and one that is almost, to me, in some ways... I look at him, he's kind of the Wolverine in some respect. He's the outsider who gets pulled into this world and he kind of doesn't want to belong and he was doing his own thing. And he prided freedom above everything else. That kind of plays nicely into who his character is. He's like a reluctant superhero, right? He's the reluctant king, basically, or would-be king."
Although we have so far only seen a glimpse of Momoa as Aquaman in the brief footage from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and the first trailer for Justice League, he has already made it clear that he is not someone to take lightly. Whether it is attacking a military operation, standing up to Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), or simply having one last drink before potentially saving the world, Aquaman is definitely not eager to play the role of the hero.
The big question that remains is how well Momoa's portrayal will translate to the big screen. The brief pieces we've seen have done little to prove his stake as an actor, outside of the physical presence. Unlike how the Justice League trailer provided Ezra Miller his first chance to play off of Affleck, Momoa has not been allowed to be more than the tough loner. With the film still over a year away, hopefully they are just saving this for future trailers and the eventual release.
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.