Since Aquaman’s first appearance, fans have particularly looked forward to seeing him again on the big screen. Its first-ever installment gained unprecedented success for DCEU, with accompanying accolades to match. Aquaman has since managed to win the hearts of many viewers, and the release of a new teaser has further increased anticipation. After a 5-year long wait, full of controversies and setbacks, the second installment of the Aquaman franchise, titled Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom, is on pace to arrive soon.
Indeed, the film came much later than anticipated for everyone — the production team included. Nonetheless, this follow-up live-action movie has, against all odds, weathered the initial storm. Aquaman 2 will premiere on December 20th, 2023, and is the final film installment in the long-running DCEU.
As the DCEU enjoys a rebrand into the DCU, a lot of incredible characters, for example, Henry Cavill’s Superman, will finally be laid to rest. Now, more than ever, Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom face a lot of pressure to deliver a phenomenal bow out.
Development Of Aquaman 2
VANCOUVER, BC – MARCH 10: Actor and star of the movie Aquaman Jason Mamoa watches the action during day 2 of the 2019 Canada Sevens Rugby Tournament on March 10, 2019 at BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Before the release of the first Aquaman film, plans for a sequel had begun to blow in. The star act, Jason Momoa had already thrown in ideas for a sequel to the now returning director of the film, James Wan. Consequently, the development of the follow-up began in 2019, with filming ending in January 2022. Overall, the standards set by the first film were without a doubt, quite high. Momoa and his fellow cast members received significant praise for their respective performances. Furthermore, the film became the highest-grossing live-action movie in the DCEU. Originally, the sequel was scheduled for a late 2022 release. However, the team experienced a number of unexpected setbacks that inadvertently caused the date to be pushed back.
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What To Expect
A trailer for the sequel was released days ago, granting eager fans and viewers a sneak peek into the movie. The trailer opens with Momoa’s gruff voice, reminiscent of the character’s brash nature from the first film. Aquaman’s new role as a husband and father seem to be a fulfilling one, although his position as King of Atlantis does not seem as rewarding. However, the rise of new foes will set the rest of the movie in motion. Additionally, the film sees the return of an archenemy, Black Manta, with his black trident and dark magic spells. Obviously, this spells trouble for the half-man, half-Atlantean, as well as his loved ones. Judging from the succeeding sequence of thrilling, chaotic scenes, Black Manta is now more than determined to end Aquaman and his bloodline.
The Cast of Aquaman 2
HOLLYWOOD, CA – DECEMBER 12: Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Jason Momoa and Amber Heard arrive for the Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Aquaman” held at TCL Chinese Theatre on December 12, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
The trailer confirms the return of most of the cast from the first Aquaman installment. Jason Momoa stars once again as Arthur Curry, better known as the titular protagonist and hero. Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, and Temuera Morrison all rejoin the cast, also playing their previous roles. Willem Dafoe, who starred as Nuidis Vulko, Arthur Curry’s mentor, remains conspicuously absent however.
Director Wan confirmed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that Dafoe’s absence was due to a conflict in schedules. “Willem is not in this one, no,” he said. “Part of the reason was because his schedule did not work out for us. But what that allowed me to do was expand on Atlanna’s role.” Besides all the returning actors, an addition of new characters are expected to deepen and intensify the overall cinematic experience.
COVID-19 And The Amber Heard Trials
US actress Amber Heard waits before the jury said that they believe she defamed ex-husband Johnny Depp, while announcing split verdicts in favor of both her ex-husband Johnny Depp and Heard on their claim and counter-claim in the Depp v. Heard civil defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on June 1, 2022. – A US jury on Wednesday found Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamed each other, but sided far more strongly with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star following an intense libel trial involving bitterly contested allegations of sexual violence and domestic abuse. (Photo by EVELYN HOCKSTEIN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Half a decade has passed since the first installment’s release… a choice out of production’s control. Firstly, the film suffered a major delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the mandatory lockdowns of 2020. Secondly, and perhaps the most gargantuan setback, was the aftermath of the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard controversy, as well as the trial. Additionally, alleged internal tensions between cast members involving Momoa and Wan against Heard was yet another issue that slowed filming. Finally, the judgment on the Depp-Heard case brought on a significant amount of fan outrage.
The release of Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom has been shifted no less than three times. As it stands, the movie is set for a December 20 release. On one hand, the visionary direction by Wan, the possible deeper exploration of the story and ensemble cast are all ingredients of a potential box-office hit. On the other hand, however, the numerous setbacks have left many lukewarm in recent months. Nonetheless, only time can reveal how the final DCEU entry will fare.