The shared universe of DC Comics films may be kicking off with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it wasn't either of the two title leads who stole the show most recently. That honor falls to Jason Momoa's Aquaman, as Justice League director Zack Snyder deciding to unveil the new design and costume for the aquatic hero far, far ahead of expected.
With both Justice League and the planned Aquaman film still years off, the startling image (and promise to 'Unite The Seven') came without much warning. Now Momoa has opened up about the design and announcement, while offering comments about a Dawn of Justice cameo, and the plan that Snyder has set in place to launch DC's shared universe.
In hindsight, the design and influences seen in the Aquaman design shouldn't have been totally unexpected. Momoa had spoken at length about representing island culture, with sources claiming the new Aquaman would be both "tattooed" and "Hawaiian" - and that's exactly what we got.
Apparently, as Momoa explains in an interview with EW, the sudden reveal of the costume took the actor by surprise as well:
"That was a shocker for sure. It was supposed to be a surprise in 2016... I’ve been holding that secret for a long time. Zack Snyder called me up and said, “I’m posting this picture now.” He’s just a genius and I love him to death. He sent it over and we’re in the middle of the editing suite for the thing I’m doing right now, and we all freaked out, man. It was so amazing to see it come out.
"The whole mythology of Aquaman is pretty amazing. There’s so many things to tell, and there’s a whole backstory that’s just amazing. There’s a lot of surprises coming."
The enthusiastic reaction from Momoa himself is easy to understand, since the reveal silenced many who felt a big screen Aquaman would be more joke than juggernaut.
The admission that both Snyder and Momoa had known of the design (and potentially the tagline as well) is also worthy of note. In the blockbuster cycle of comic book superheroes, the personal investment of Momoa can't be overlooked; as a half-Native American, half-Native Hawaiian, playing the first tribal comic book hero brings unique pressure. With Momoa's own tattoos worked into the design, it's no surprise he's convinced Snyder should handle the Aquaman solo movie.
But before that becomes a concern, there's the matter of actually introducing Momoa's hero on the big screen - a debut that has yet to be officially confirmed. Common sense implied that 'The Seven' (presumably Justice League heroes) would be held off until their team-up film, rumors of a Dawn of Justice cameo have persisted. Momoa certainly doesn't confirm those suspicions, instead letting Batman and Superman hold the spotlight for now:
"Well, it’s Batman and Superman, it’s not my movie. It’s the first time in history to have them both on the screen together, and I’m just excited to see those two up there... We haven’t done too much on the action yet. You know, Justice League is still quite a ways away. But I’m looking forward to it. Henry’s a sweetheart, Ben is a badass, so I’m really looking forward to when we all shoot Justice League.
"What’s great about this is Zack, man. We don’t want to just reinvent it, but he’s a got a whole idea of what Aquaman should be and I’m really honored to be playing it. I’m excited for the world to see it... There’s definitely a plan in this whole universe that he's designing, and it’s amazing to be a part of it. I think everything that you see that is building, there’s a purpose behind the whole plan. So I wouldn’t want to take anything away from Zack, because he loves revealing all those things."
Momoa also stopped short of the previous rumors that the whales seen in Man of Steel were "sent" by his character; potentially one of the "surprises" he doesn't want to spoil. But even as he stands on the brink of becoming a household name thank to DC Comics' shared universe, Momoa isn't taking any of his sudden success for granted. Especially since he began his adult life studying marine biology - in Iowa:
"Isn’t that a trip?... then I transferred to Hawaii—being a native, I could get in-state tuition... Then Baywatch [Hawaii] came, and I went down there to meet chicks. Nineteen years old, and not a care in the world, and I ended up getting a TV show. The next thing I know, I’m an actor. It’s weird how it found me. Life’s a trip, man. A Hawaiian raised in Iowa and the next thing you know, I’m Aquaman. It’s the last damn thing I thought I’d be doing."
We had speculated when Jason Momoa was officially cast as Aquaman that after being less-than-excited to join Guardians of the Galaxy, his decision to join the superhero game with Snyder signalled a more meaningful role and character. That seems to be the case, which could mean very good things for fans hoping to see a new type of superhero (in more ways than one).
How have your thoughts on Jason Momoa as Aquaman changed, if at all? Does his confidence in Zack Snyder convince you that big surprises lie in store? Sound off in the comments.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters on March 25, 2016, followed by Justice League – Part 1 on November 17th, 2017, Aquaman on July 27th, 2018, and Justice League – Part 2 on June 14th, 2019.