The upcoming Aquaman movie will include a flashback scene where a young Arthur Curry discovers that he has the power to talk to fish. The latest installment in the unofficially titled DC Extended Universe is due to launch its highly anticipated first trailer later this week at San Diego Comic-Con 2018.
Considered by many to be one of the most useless superpowers possible, Aquaman's so-called "aqua-telepathy" has made him the butt of many a joke from professional comedians and casual comic book fans alike. This was largely due to the character's prominent position in the classic Superfriends cartoons, where his abilities were limited compared to the likes of Superman or Wonder Woman. Of course Aquaman has far more to offer the Justice League than communicating with sea life, possessing enhanced strength, speed, endurance and durability far beyond those of a normal human, due to the requirements a life form needs to survive in a high-pressure marine environment. Yet it is his ability to speak to and understand aquatic creatures that the popular culture has fixated on, in regards to Aquaman's many superpowers.
In their roundup from the set of Aquaman, JoBlo revealed some details of the story of the film and what aspects of Aquaman's origins will be revealed. Chief among these was a brief description of how a young Arthur Curry first discovered his power to talk to fish. According to JoBlo's set visit report:
"There’s a flashback scene where Arthur visits the Boston Aquarium on a field trip and is being bullied when he suddenly finds the fish in the aquarium rallying to him. This is where he begins to discover that he can 'talk to fish'."
Jason Momoa also spoke with JoBlo about Aquaman's powers and how his discovery of those powers is depicted in the movie. When asked about a specific scene in the recent comics (seen above) where Aquaman is confronted by a know-it-all who claims to have more knowledge of his powers than Arthur Curry does and whether there's a similar scene in the movie, Momoa replied in the affirmative.
"Yeah, I think James [Wan] has taken all those fish puns and, really, kind of let me do ‘em. I think he has an interesting look on what all those fish puns are. The more you look at it, I think it’s really-it’s not so much that he can talk to fish, but I think when you get to see what he can really do and how powerful the ocean is, I mean…I guess we’ll see who’s laughing then."
Technically speaking, Arthur Curry does not truly "talk" to fish, though he is capable of having conversations with larger, more intelligent sea mammals, such as whales and dolphins. The comics have established that his "aqua-telepathy" is not specifically geared toward sea creatures (he's also been shown to be capable of commanding seagulls) but that his particular telepathic gifts are focused on pushing the simpler parts of the brain focused on motor control and reflexes. Given that fish brains are largely incapable of managing more than that and they have poor memories (as anyone who has seen Finding Nemo will remember), this does make it seem like Aquaman talks to fish, when it's more accurate to say that he commands them.
Arthur Curry is capable of far more, however, as the alien speedster Züm discovered to his regret. When the villain mocked the sea king, saying that all he could do was talk to fish, he quickly found the part of his brain responsible for maintaining his sense of balance shut down. A painful lesson to be learned, particularly when you are running at super-speed - mock Aquaman and his powers at your peril.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020