Despite an entire story arc dedicated to the development of an Aquaman movie (from James Cameron) on Entourage, a large chunk of movie lovers still scoffed at the idea of seeing the aquatic Justice League member on film. While some fans remained optimistic at the possibilities, especially if DC intended to model their Aquaman movie after recent comic book iterations of the character, others simply could not get the scaly orange and green costume, golden locks, and codpiece out of their minds.
Then industry insiders began reporting that Game of Thrones and Stargate Atlantis actor Jason Momoa was DC's top pick for the role, indicating that Warner Bros. intended to position Aquaman as a powerful force in their upcoming slate of hero films; however, amidst debate over Momoa's mixed filmography (Conan the Barbarian), the actor remained cagey about his involvement in the Justice League universe - refusing to open up about whether he was onboard until after DC made an official announcement. That said, now that Momoa is confirmed for the role, the actor is beginning to embrace his new place in the public (comic book) spotlight - firing a playful shot in the ongoing debate between Marvel and DC die-hards.
First off, most superhero fans (young and old) will agree the Marvel vs. DC debate, while entertaining, gets unnecessarily ugly - since successes and failures (on both sides) drive filmmakers to raise the bar for blockbuster comic book action and storytelling. Still, we all have our favorites, and divisive personal preference is engrained in entertainment culture (DC vs. Marvel, PlayStation vs. Xbox, Star Trek vs. Star Wars, etc), so it's understandable that fans will engage in debate - but, sometimes that battle spills onto DC or Marvel movie (and TV) talent.
Now, after months of playing coy about his Aquaman role, has Momoa tossed himself headfirst into the DC vs. Marvel fanboy war - with a comment that, depending on your allegiances, could be considered inflammatory (though the actor is, almost certainly, just being cheeky).
While attending Indiana Comic-Con, Momoa was allegedly approached by a fan who asked: "Can you write down a reason why all these DC haters out there should join our DC universe?" According to reports, the actor wrote his answer on Aquaman's "Unite the Seven" poster, stating "F**ck Marvel" (above his autograph).
See an image of the poster below:
At this time, Momoa hasn't shared his side of the story - much less whether or not the autograph (and comment) is authentic.
After all, it wouldn't be entirely out of character for Momoa to take a playful jab at a competing film property. Specifically, before anyone considers Momoa's quip a mean-spirited attack on Marvel (and their fans), it's important to keep in mind the actor made similar comments toward Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin - ribbing the author for ever deciding to kill off Momoa's character, Khal Drogo (before ultimately complimenting Martin's writing).
At the time, the actor stated: "After George Martin killed me, I was like 'go f*ck yourself.' I'm joking. But after George killed me, I was really upset. I went to go get the book at Barnes and Noble and I was bummed that I was dead. But it's brilliant writing."
Similarly, it's worth noting that, even if Momoa's approach may have been crass, he was goaded into physically writing a comment on the Marvel and DC debate by a fan - a fan who directly called Marvel enthusiasts "DC Haters." In that context, it's safe to assume that Momoa was merely offering an off-the-cuff response to the person standing in front of him (and creating a valuable piece of collector's memorabilia) - not outright planting a flag in the ongoing fanboy war.
It's safe to assume, if Momoa was forced to take a stand, he'd side with the studio that is paying him but that doesn't mean the actor actually has malice or ill will toward the talent at Marvel Studios.
Detractors (or those looking to defend Marvel's honor) can point to a series of misfires in the actor's prior filmography but, to the point at hand, Momoa has been very passionate (and humble) about his role in the upcoming Justice League movie universe - celebrating the roster's diversity (a comment that transcends studio/fan rivalries). Even after the first of image of Momoa in costume hit the internet, the actor remained modest - simply describing the opportunity as "amazing" and expressing exciting to play a character that his kids will get to enjoy.
After all, Momoa wouldn't be the first actor, producer, writer, and/or director to weigh-in on the Marvel vs. DC fan debate - resulting in a wide range of opinions that fall between blatant brand touting, friendly competition, and surprisingly genuine compliments.
That said, given that failed negotiations between Momoa and Marvel Studios (for the role of Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy) became an industry-wide "he said/she said" spectacle, one that left many Marvel fans under the impression that Momoa is greedy, it'd be understandable if the future Aquaman is eager for a toe-to-toe box office battle with The Avengers movie universe. Maybe there is a tiny grain of truth within Momoa's recent comment after all?
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice reaches theaters May 6, 2016. Aquaman is scheduled for release on July 27, 2018.