Aquaman director James Wan says that the film's story will shape Arthur Curry into the hero fans know from the comic books and cartoons. As the next movie set in the DC movie universe, Aquaman will focus on the origins of the classic superhero, who first appeared theatrically in a brief cameo in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
First appearing in More Fun Comics #73 in November 1941, Aquaman became an important character historically. He has the distinction of being one of only five superheroes (the others being Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Arrow) who saw continuous, unbroken publication of their solo adventures through the end of World War II and into the 1950s. Though he acquired a greater level of fame than most of DC Comics' superheroes due to his prominent role in various cartoons, he was also heavily mocked because of the apparently limited nature of his powers. While the public at large still view Aquaman as the guy who talks to fish, he's been largely redeemed in the eyes of regular comic readers, thanks to the efforts of writers like Geoff Johns and Dan Abnett. Indeed, the current Aquaman comic book series has drawn comparison to Game of Thrones, due to its complex plot involving warring political factions and supernatural forces.
Wan spoke about the story of the upcoming Aquaman movie during the film's set visit last summer (via JoBlo). Wan explained that, even though Arthur's personality and powers were established in Justice League, the story of his film will transform Aquaman into the hero from the comic books. Wan said: "He goes on his journey, he goes on his own story in the stand-alone movie. And he goes on this journey and he ultimately becomes the Aquaman as we know him."
Wan's repetition of the idea of a transformative journey evokes the Hero's Journey monomyth, first proposed by Joseph Campbell in his 1949 book The Hero With A Thousand Faces. Campbell noted that most heroic myths and legends, regardless of their culture of origin, share common points of reference, with young heroes having to go on a quest for some magical object to defeat the villain. Many of these tropes have appeared in Arthur Curry's story - heir to a lost kingdom, raised as a commoner, with strange powers that mark him as a figure of destiny. In fact, parallels have been drawn between Aquaman and another legendary Arthur: King Arthur of Camelot.
While it is unknown to what degree Wan may be directly using Campbell's work or Arthurian legend as a blueprint for the story of Aquaman, it is known that he has been drawing heavily upon the original comics for inspiration. Jason Momoa confirmed that at least one scene from Geoff Johns' run on the comics, in which Aquaman is confronted about his ability to talk to fish by a know-it-all fanboy, will be replicated in the movie. The Aquaman costumes have also been praised for their accuracy to the original comics. Given all that, it seems a safe bet that fans of the characters from the comics will be well pleased by Arthur Curry's journey towards becoming Aquaman in the new film.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020