Warning: Minor SPOILERS for Aquaman
By now most comic book movie enthusiasts will have heard about just how much Aquaman's story changed in Justice League, once Snyder stepped aside, and Joss Whedon's extensive reshoots began. Aquaman may have seen much of his Atlantean story erased to leave it for a solo movie, including how Justice League's ending set up Aquaman. But the plan to make this new solo movie completely separate is denied by one tiny detail. A literal memento of the Justice League movie's story - or, perhaps, Snyder's version of it.
Even if Warner Bros. (and the fans) would prefer that the Mother Boxes, Apokolips, and Steppenwolf were left to the past, Mera does make mention of the Justice League villain when appealing to Arthur at the outset of his solo film. He protests, claiming that (perhaps in a 'meta' fashion) his fight against Steppenwolf had nothing to do with Atlantis, or his main storyline. But if fans want to get technical, it was actually Aquaman's mother who referenced the ancient alliance of Mankind, Amazons, and Atlanteans against Steppenwolf first. Decades earlier, in fact.
The Easter Egg can be found in the opening prologue of Aquaman, in which Arthur's mother and father meet, fall in love, and raise him until the party is crashed by Atlantean soldiers. It's unclear how much of Atlantis Queen Atlanna chose to share with Tom Curry, but she has apparently created a substitute version of the city's most important artifact: what looks to be a jewelry box, adorned with sea shells to create a rough replica of the Mother Box of Atlantis.
The famous (infamous?) cube was one of three wielded by Steppenwolf in his quest to consume Earth, and which were divided upon his defeat. Entrusted to each of the three empires, Atlantis placed theirs in a guarded temple, the Amazons locked theirs away in a similar stronghold on Themyscira, and Mankind saw it buried in an unknown location, never to tempt anyone ever again. The images of King Atlan placing the Atlantean Mother Box in its place of honor confirms that once it left his hands, it never moved again.
Until Steppenwolf stole it back, of course. Although that was still years away from happening when Queen Atlanna decided to recreate an artifact of her underwater home inside of her new one. Arthur's mother's Mother Box can be seen on the table beside their couch, as one of the few remaining links between Zack Snyder and James Wan's vision for Aquaman's two-film journey. But more importantly, it raises an important question. If Atlanna regales both Arthur and Tom with the legend of King Atlan's trident, could she have done the same for the legend of Earth's war against Steppenwolf?
In hindsight, Bruce Wayne should have spent his time seeking out Tom Curry's knowledge of the coming war in Justice League, instead of Arthur's.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018