Now that the first trailer for Aquaman has arrived, it's clear just how much the next DC movie will draw from the comics. That's a big plus for comic fans who were hoping to see Jason Momoa in the classic Aquaman suit, or fans of Geoff Johns' origin story told in the New 52.
But the extra time and details revealed have raised one question, with implications far beyond one Aquaman movie. Now that the other undersea kingdoms of Xebel, the Fisherman King, and the Brine have all been revealed, the biggest question surrounding Aquaman marketing can be answered. One asked ever since Momoa's costume was revealed by Zack Snyer with cryptic words plastered over it: "Unite The Seven."
The "Unite The Seven" tagline is a reference to Aquaman's mission to unite the seven seas, alright. Just... not the ones people might think. And one of them may threaten to impact the entire DC movie universe.
The Seven Seas = The Kingdoms of Atlantis
The truth of this saying came as a surprise to Aquaman of the comics, too. Specifically, the one written personally by Geoff Johns as part of DC's New 52 reboot. Broadly speaking, the comic showed why Aquaman should be a major player among the Justice League. And wouldn't you know it, the Aquaman movie is based on the New 52 origin story in more than a few discernible ways. The most obvious being the explanation that the Seven Seas are actually Seven Kingdoms from Atlantis that was. And the movie has already revealed a few.
There are the standard Atlanteans who reside in Atlantis, the Xebellians (where Aquaman's love Mera and enemy King Nereus hail from), and those people led by the recently revealed Fisherman King (beings evolved closer to sea creatures). Then there are the Trench, misunderstood beings who emerge like a nightmare, necessitating Arthur's ascension in the comics. That's already more of the tribes than the comics ever revealed, with Arthur believing along with the rest of Atlantis that only they, their enemies the Xebel, and apparently the Trench survived.
Until the final issue in Geoff Johns' shortened run, when the truth of the Seven Seas was revealed in a twist most fans still can't believe was never revisited.
The Seven Tribes Of Atlantis Are Alive... Somewhere
The Aquaman movie is shaping up as a largely faithful adaptation of his New 52 debut: Aquaman facing off against his brother, Orm, who wants to wage war on the mainland (and make questionable alliances to pull it off). Aquaman came out on top in the comics eventually, but only after stopping the Dead King Atlan (reanimated) in his own quest to take over the world, and rule the Seven Seas once again. When the dust settled, even his brother had taken to exile on land.
It's there that he is approached by Nereus, King of Xebel, with an offer. According to Nereus, he has found the lost tribes/kingdoms of Atlantis, and wishes to claim his throne alongside Orm and these rival peoples who could stand against Aquaman. But their names, places, numbers, and even species are never shown. Aside from a larger collection of seven statues, weapons joined, showing a range of humanoid and aquatic physiology. An image adapted in detail by one of the very first pieces of Aquaman concept art.
So, safe to assume James Wan is embracing that same premise and mystery. We know more about the tribes of Atlantis from the movie than the abandoned comic storyline now, but hey, a mystery solved is always entertaining, no matter the medium. Right?
If done right, then the rise of the Trench, Ocean Master, Black Manta, and the Dead King are all just a warm-up for a new force from Atlantis' past. The makings of a blockbuster trilogy felt across the DCEU if we ever heard it.