Aquaman actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II reveals how his character David Hyde becomes the villain Black Manta in the upcoming DCEU standalone film. Fans recently got their first glimpse of Abdul-Mateen II as Hyde, gazing upon the Black Manta helmet he uses to dive beneath the sea and tangle with Aquaman. In the upcoming film, Jason Momoa's Aquaman will actually have multiple enemies to deal with, as Black Manta will be joined by King Orm (Patrick Wilson).
Following upon the disappointing box office performance of Justice League, the movie that first introduced the DCEU's version of Aquaman, Warner Bros. and company are hoping a standalone Aquaman appearance will be just the thing to boost the flagging superhero cinematic universe. Jason Momoa has the big task of embodying Arthur Curry aka Aquaman, a reluctant king who can command the creatures of the sea. Momoa is joined by Amber Heard as Mera, the warrior queen who can use her mind to control water.
Of course, no superhero saga would be complete without villains for the good guy to battle. David Hyde aka Black Manta will be one antagonist for Aquaman in the movie, and now Hyde actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has revealed what happens in the film to set off the animosity between his character and the hero. In a set visit report from JoBlo, Abdul-Mateen II discussed how Hyde and Aquaman come to be enemies after a life-altering event. Hyde is riding high at the time of his first confrontation with Aquaman, but is devastated when he loses someone close to him during the altercation. As Abdul-Mateen II explained:
"He's riding on high, and at the climax, he loses his father. So we meet him at a time when he's just, he's on top and then, bam, immediately, an event happens, and he's at the bottom. And he's lost the only person who he's ever loved, and cared for...and then, from then on, you know, 'It's Aquaman's fault!' He has very little else to live for, and so it becomes that revenge story. You have the relationship between fathers and sons, and the revenge that happens when a son loses his father, and then you have Aquaman, who is the heir to the throne, who doesn't want to be king, so it's an epic story."
Abdul-Mateen II's description sticks close to the origin story of Black Manta offered up in Geoff Johns' rebooted Aquaman comic series, in which Manta goes on a mission of revenge against Aquaman after the death of his father. In terms of look, the movie version of Black Manta will also stick close to the comic book conception of the character. Psychologically, Hyde/Manta will also share a lot in common with the comic book version, after Abdul-Mateen read the books and picked up on Hyde's brutality. The actor said:
"With Black Manta, I saw him, I was reading the comic, 'The Others,' and he...murdered someone, you know. And in my experience, in comics, they're blowing people up to smithereens, or they'll use their powers and they'll shoot you off to the moon and you'll explode. And he was like, 'You know, I don't have time for that. I'm going to take my knife, and I would drive it through you, while telling you that the next thing that I'm going to do is to go murder your family also.'"
It sounds as if, at least when it comes to Black Manta, Aquaman will go with the down-to-earth villain approach instead of making him the all-powerful supervillain fans have been treated to in movies like Justice League. While super-powered villains might make for greater visual spectacle, they arguably are often lacking in the kinds of believable motivations that make for good drama. In the case of Black Manta, the motivation is pretty clear: he just wants to get his hands on Aquaman and possibly drive a blade through him.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
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