While the general public remains fixated on the film franchises of Batman, Superman and now Batman vs. Superman, we here at Screen Rant have spent a considerable amount of time focusing on characters that have not yet enjoyed big-screen adaptation. We've explained why Wonder Woman or The Flash are great film franchise candidates - and one or both might be appearing in BvsS - but the character that kicked off our little series of articles was none other than DC's aquatic superman, Aquaman.
Aquaman has been a joke for a long while (see HERE), but comic book writer and Chief Creative Officer of the DC Entertainment brand, Geoff Johns, has led a singular campaign since the late '00s to re-introduce Aquaman to the world, and in his latest interview he drops more than a few hints that Aquaman has been purposefully positioned to be an integral part in DC's multimedia future - which would presumably include films.
Johns spoke with Variety and talked about where the character of Aquaman currently stands in the DC Entertainment brand:
“He’s a priority character for the company... He became a little bit of a joke... Suddenly, he was nobody’s favorite super hero... He’s a character that we talk quite a bit about... There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the most well-known characters among super-heroes, and in popular culture."
The rest of the article goes on to detail how Johns first resurrected the character from death, and then expanded his mythos for the modern age, carefully maneuvering Aquaman into a position of increased prominence within the DC superhero pantheon. When Johns and all-star artist Jim Lee relaunched the "New 52" Justice League comic book in 2011, Aquaman had the gall to contest Batman and Superman for leadership of the league. The character's solo adventures in the comics have seen a slow-burn rise in popularity, and Aquaman will also be featured in his own upcoming animated feature (which is why he won't be included in the upcoming Justice League: War animated feature).
So: Can a feature film be far behind?
Look, we've been longtime converts when it comes to the Aquaman issue. Personally speaking, having followed Johns's work on the character and his world, it's more been a question of why there's been such hesitation on DC/WB's part to put the character in a headlining movie. His world is unlike other superhero films (water), his story is archetypal enough for a grand, epic adventure (lost king of Atlantis), and the spectacle of his powers and story would offer a unique cinematic experience.
Johns is also correct when he states that Aquaman is one of the most well-known characters in the superhero lineup. That's not to say he's one of the most popular characters, but being well known - even as a punchline - automatically gives him a bit of a headstart when it comes to exposure and promotion. Sure, most people might see the initial announcement of an Aquaman film and think "Why/How in the hell would they do THAT?" but it will then be on the filmmakers to provide a film that thwarts the mountain of skepticism it will inevitably be faced with.
Gravity issued such a challenge (and subsequently met it) with some risky promo clips, which teased the movie's straightforward disaster scenario and dared fans to find out how the filmmakers would sustain such momentum. The material to craft a great Aquaman movie is there (almost all of it provided by Johns) - but it's up to the studio to treat the character with the reverence and respect that they have for Batman and Superman - instead of the cartoonish cheese and shallowness that plagued Green Lantern.
...And timing will be key. As stated in our Aquaman movie tips article, it wouldn't be prudent to dive into this movie (pun) just before director James Cameron potentially shocks the world with the new aquatic-based film technology of his Avatar sequels. Then again, if Batman vs. Superman is acting as a launchpad for the Justice League movie (which signs indicate that it will), then Aquaman could very well get a soft introduction to the movie-going world, with enough time left for technology to catch up to the challenge of making his solo film something revolutionary.
It's still all rumor and speculation now - but hopefully it doesn't stay that way for long...
We'll keep you updated on both the Aquaman animated feature and the possible feature-film to follow.