After everything the DC Extended Universe has been through in the last few years, it’s fair to say that great expectations for Aquaman were not exactly coming up to the surface. With the release of the latest trailer, a tsunami of enthusiasm has bubbled up. Not only do the undersea effects look absolutely awesome, but getting to see old Arthur Curry in action, facing off against classic villains while allying himself with familiar faces, has turned fan hopes from a minnow to a whale.
It’s a refreshing splash after being offered sub-par fare like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Justice League. On the other hand, Wonder Woman definitely upped the game for DC’s efforts, so maybe we shouldn’t be that surprised. The tide of details has been trickling out into the media, and there are a whole lot of awesome reveals that have breached above water. Drip by drip, story elements, casting choices, and even wardrobe debuts have shimmered from wild guesses into sharp focus.
There are still plenty of unproven rumors about what the final film will look like, and some of them are uglier than a hogfish! We are hoping that the DCEU has learned some hard lessons as the MCU keeps getting it right with films like Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and the super-anticipated Captain Marvel. Here it is – what we know and what we are afraid to know!
These are 12 Aquaman Theories Confirmed To Be True (And 8 We Hope Aren’t)!
20 Confirmed: Topo the Octopus
Superhero comics throughout the ages have often featured animal mascots complementing the heroes they hand around with. Superman had Krypto, the dog from his home planet who could fly, was super smart and yes, had a cool cape. Batman had Ace, the Bat-Hound (really) who wore a bat-cowl and helped the detective solve mysteries (really).
Aquaman had a super-smart octopus named Topo.
If that sounds too goofy, then prepare yourself: Topo will be rocking his tentacles in the movie. More than likely, it’ll be nothing more than an Easter egg, but who knows? Maybe it's high time we let the mascots take over these cinematic universes!
19 Confirmed: Movie Aquaman = Comics Aquaman
This one should not be too much of a surprise. As has been the case with MCU superheroes, where storylines and costume designs have transported from screen to comics page, so will it be with the film version of Aquaman in the pages of DC.
The Jason Momoa model of Arthur Curry is already appearing on variant covers of upcoming Aquaman comics.
Fans can pretty safely bet that if the movie even does halfway decently, the cinematic mythology will find its way into mainstream comics continuity. Let us not forget, of course, that DC has already been down this road, most famously with Harley Quinn, who was created for Batman: The Animated Series, only to become a huge comics star in her own right!
18 Confirmed: Black Manta is a Villain
While Arthur Curry has many villains to contend with, there can be no question that the single most iconic foe to be found in his watery rogue’s gallery is the arch-villain known as Black Manta. This dude’s classic character design is the perfect mashup of futuristic scuba diver and undersea devil! There can be no question: this is one scary looking bad guy. His steel clam-shaped helmet with giant saucer eyes frightens on dry land as easily as in the unfathomable depths. And he is in the Aquaman film.
Judging by the extended trailer, he is a totally dangerous, too! We still need to wait to see if he shares the creepy voice that his animated counterparts have always spoken with, but we could not be more excited to see this amphibious assassin in action.
17 Confirmed: No Justice League Cameos
Before anybody gets bummed out, let us begin by asserting that this is not bad news in the slightest – it is probably very good news. Anybody hoping to see Superman, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman or Cyborg make a cameo in Aquaman, sorry, but it’s not happening. And that’s okay.
This isn’t their movie, it’s Arthur Curry’s movie.
Shoehorning in an appearance by another hero could break the film’s flow, waste precious screen time, and just muck everything up. There’s enough going on in this movie already. Undersea armies will be facing off, tons of aquatic animals will be in the fray, and supporting characters will be bountiful. If anything, this choice by the DCEU shows that maybe a little economy is being employed in this film.
16 Hope Not: Aqualad
Back when DC's comic book heroes debuted, sensibilities dictated that most major superheroes were to have sidekicks. The best known of those, of course, is Robin, who, along with other junior members of the metahuman community known as the Teen Titans. In the modern era, having underage tag-alongs for crimefighting is pretty much thought of as child abuse!
All that aside, Aqualad may be among the lamest of that crowd. It took a serious full scale makeover to make the character more interesting in Young Justice. Could all that happen inside the confines of an already-crowded debut feature? Not likely.
15 Confirmed: Ocean Master is a Villain
While Black Manta is unquestionably the most frightening and recognizable of the Aquaman villains, Ocean Master is probably the single most existential threat Arthur Curry has ever faced. He is an insidious foe, striking Aquaman from within – which he can easily do since the two are brothers!
His devious schemes go beyond common sibling rivalry. Orm Marius (his real name) is determined to take everything away from our watery hero: his wife, his life, and even his entire kingdom. His presence in the film sets the stage for an epic confrontation of Shakespearean magnitude. It’s a classic Macbeth-style setup, maybe with a little King Lear thrown in.
14 Hope Not: Black Manta Will Be like Vader
While we are still not at the point where Mickey Mouse is taking on Ultron in a movie franchise, there have been worries that Star Wars and Marvel would seep into one another. But the DCEU? That we didn’t see coming! It seems that Black Manta has been reported to be somewhat modeled on Star Wars’ own uber-villain, Darth Vader.
He is supposedly going to have many of his mannerisms and his character designed is being tweaked to even look a little more like Obi-Wan’s old pupil.
To be fair: Black Manta did have the artificially altered voice thing going on all the way back in Superfriends!
13 Confirmed: DCEU connections
After the disappointing box office returns from a string of DC movies – Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Justice League – there had been some speculation that the DCEU was going to be rebooted, abandoned, or that individual hero films would be standalones living in another universe. With the arrival of Aquaman, we have learned that is simply not the case.
The film is firmly rooted in the DCEU, which itself is rolling full steam ahead for the foreseeable future, along with Wonder Woman 1984. While we still don’t know what’s next for the JL, Bats, or Supes, Arthur Curry is still cutting those Extended Universe checks for the time being. Indeed, should the film go on to be more successful than expected, it may well revitalize the whole DCEU!
12 Confirmed: Undersea Animals Will Be Weaponized
Let’s get this out of the way – Aquaman has long been unfairly dissed as a character with goofy powers. The old “You swim fast and talk to fish?” sarcasm has been played out in many a parody. True comic book fans know that Arthur Curry is no slouch. He’s tough as nails, and his whole telepathic control of undersea animals thing is no joke.
Think about what it would be like to have ten Jaws-size sharks being directed to attack you from all sides.
Not so funny now, is it? From what we have seen in early footage, sharks, whales, and giant sea dragons are all going to be tools of war, harnessed for battle, not unlike many of the trained beasts in the Lord of the Rings movies. Prepare for lots and lots of teeth.
11 Hope Not: Romancing the Stone
There are still a lot of unanswered questions about what the whole tone and plot of Aquaman is going to be. From the footage already released, we know it’s big on action and doesn’t shy away from humor. At least one leaked quote claims that there is going to be a Romancing the Stone vibe.
For those who don’t know, that '80s film was a light adventure featuring treasure-hunters and corrupt military bad guys. There’s nothing wrong with the movie; it’s fun. But a modern superhero movie needs to have more gravitas than a swashbuckling romantic comedy. We need high stakes!
10 Confirmed: King Nereus is Mera’s father
For people who are not deeply steeped in the comic book mythology, this character detail will not likely make much difference. For the Aquaman fans who have been initiated into his undersea mysteries, the change in King Nereus’ identity may cause some measure of confusion.
In the comics, Nereus is the king of the extradimensional Atlantean realm of Xebel – and the jilted lover of Mera.
Yes, they were to be married until Mera realized he was evil. In the movie he isn’t Mera’s ex-fiancé. Instead, he is her dad! That is a whole other dynamic. It’s a weird character change, but maybe it will pay off onscreen.
9 Hope Not: Underwater game of Thrones
Winter is coming-- underwater? Yes, fans, it seems like there may be some truth to that unlikely statement. Rumors have appeared that say Aquaman will be a sort of Game of Thrones beneath the ocean waves. We cannot blame DC if this turns out to be true. Obviously, if you’re going to be “borrowing” from another epic storyline, may as well “borrow” the best.
The beloved HBO franchise only works as a lengthy serial TV show that follows character development with a slow burn. If DC tries to go this route with a single feature film, it risks becoming a messy plot that will grow so convoluted that nobody is going to care just what is going on. Our fingers are crossed they didn’t go this way.
8 Confirmed: Aquaman Talks in Undersea Vomit
What’s that? You’ve never once thought to ask yourself, “Just how in world can Aquaman and his fellow water breathers talk through a liquid ocean?” Well, you should have. Sorry to break it to you, but no, there’s no talking as we know it underwater. But worry not!
The film has worked around the science of bubbly speak in an ingenious way.
See, all the aquatic humanoids communicate out their mouths by puking. Yes, real puking. Water rushes inside their bodies and issue out as words, sentences and paragraphs. We were much happier when we weren’t even thinking about how such communication was possible. In this case, ignorance is vomit-free bliss!
7 Hope Not: Cliché Love/Hate Story with Mera
How many times have we seen this same old tired trope in everything from TV and movies to comics and book series? A man and woman meet. They may be attracted to each other, but they act like jerks to each other. At the same time that they “respect” each other, they trade insults and express deep contempt. Of course, in the end, the ice is broken and they end up getting married, or at least seriously dating.
According to one rumor, this is how the relationship between Arthur Curry and Mera will be playing out on screen. Hopefully this will not be the case, because this isn’t even just old in feature films-- every other sitcom is based on this hackneyed premise. Please, Poseidon, don’t let this cheap device wash away goodness from this film.
6 Confirmed: Jango Fett's role
Here’s a lovely little bit of cinematic geek love crossing over between franchises. Temuera Morrison holds a special place in the Star Wars universe with his portrayal of Jango Fett, the father of galactic bounty hunter Boba Fett, in Star Wars Episode Two: Attack of the Clones. He also happens to be a longtime idol for Aquaman himself.
Jason Momoa has been a huge fan of Morrison’s since he was a kid.
How cool is it that he will be playing Thomas Curry – aka, Arthur Curry’s father – in Aquaman? Come on! Jango Fett is the King of the Sea’s dad! It’s just one of those little pieces of casting that makes all the greater fandoms feel that much more glued together.
5 Confirmed: Aquaman Will Wear Comics-Accurate Suit
If you ever want to get a couple of comic book geeks pontificating about very important things, start up a conversation about how superhero costumes look a lot different in the movies than they do in the comics. The debate usually takes two sides.
On the one hand, there’s the argument which says that the bold color schemes would look garish on screen and might not translate well. On the other is the belief that studios and networks simply don’t “get” superheroes and are making a mistake tinkering with perfection. In Aquaman, both sides will be satisfied. Images reveal he will at one point be wearing his comics-accurate costume on top of his cinematic togs. So it’s win-win.
4 Hope Not: Lovecraftian Story
Don’t blink or you will miss a very interesting detail in the Aquaman trailer. There, resting on a table in the lighthouse, next to Arthur Curry’s mother, is a copy of The Dunwich Horror, a seminal work by classic horror author H.P. Lovecraft. For those who know his mythos, he wrote about a race of “old gods” that come from the sea to destroy humanity.
Come to think of it, some of the submarine monsters in the trailer look kind of like some of those creatures Lovecraft described.
Are we to expect an aping of another universe? It happened in the Justice League animated series for the “The Terror Beyond” storyline. Can’t we just have a comic book supervillain battle without all the extra stuff?
3 Confirmed: Aquaman Will Ride a Giant Seahorse
We are very sorry to break it to you, but contrary to what Aquaman has taught us all in both the comics and in the cartoons, there are no such things as giant seahorses big enough for humans to ride like any land-based equestrian. Not that your bubble is burst, we have good news. In the Aquaman movie, we have seen that he is indeed riding some kind of Sea Dragon like it was a quadrupedal stallion.
Naturally, it’s all CGI’d to look really cool, rather than goofy like in the olden days. It’s pure homage as we’ve already seen that Arthur Curry can swim faster than a torpedo under his own power, but it’s still pretty awesome!
2 Confirmed: The Trench
Comic book fans will be terrified to learn that one of the most creepy of all inhuman races from the pages of Aquaman will be making it into the movie.
The Trench are a long-lost tribe of Atlantis, that evolved into super strong monsters with really, really sharp teeth.
It’s like a whole underwater species of the Aliens xenomorph, but way smarter. And yes, they will eat Atlanteans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The fact that they are in this movie has us wondering if there won’t be some very bloody battles beneath the cold blue waves. If they’re facing off against Aquaman, then our hero had better suit up lest he become a fish sandwich!
1 Hope Not: Leftover New 52 Storyline Is Being Used
One of the biggest divisions in comic book fandom is the debate over whether or not all the reboots of the various superhero universes are a good thing or a bad thing. Back in the '80s, DC pretty much rocked the world with the first publisher-wide makeover with the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline. Marvel had its own forays, with the Ultimate universe being an example which went on to influence the cinematic Avengers-- down to Nick Fury’s uncanny resemblance to Samuel L. Jackson).
When DC rolled out its so-called New 52 universe, however, a lot of fans were not into it. Many have since believed the whole affair forgotten. And yet, rumor has it that the Aquaman movie will be going with a New 52 storyline. If true, we hope that choice doesn’t sink the franchise.
What other rumors are you hoping Aquaman confirms? Let us know in the comments!