Few people could have predicted Aquaman would become the massive success that it has. A character who was the biggest question mark in the DCEU’s roster has somehow become the franchises highest-grossing film. Obviously, the studio is eager to move forward with the sequel.
Little is known about the follow-up film aside from Jason Mamoa returning in the titular role. As for who among the rest of the cast will return, that remains a mystery for now. There are certainly several standout characters we’d love to see make a return, as well as also some we could do without. Here are some of the characters we hope to see and hope not to see in Aquaman 2.
9 Want: Vulko
After bringing iconic Spider-Man villain Green Goblin to life in Sam Raimi’s films, Willem Dafoe returned to the comic book genre for this fun role. As Vulko, Dafoe plays King Orm’s right-hand man who is secretly working to secure the throne of Atlantis for Arthur.
We see through flashbacks that Vulko was a Mr. Miyagi type character who helped train Arthur from a young age. Dafoe looked to be having fun with the world and got to ride a hammerhead shark into battle. While he was saddled with a lot of exposition this time, hopefully the sequel could let him be a true badass.
8 Don’t Want: Young Arthur
One of the many clichés of comic book origin movies is seeing the heroes learning of their powers at a young age. Aquaman followed this very familiar ground and it unfortunately led to some of the dullest moments in the film.
Not only were the childhood flashback scenes uninteresting and seemingly lifted from other films, these sequences were weighed down by some poor performances by the younger actors. Now that we have a solid idea of Arthur’s background, hopefully the second film will avoid such scenes and focus on moving forward.
7 Want: King Nereus
Much to the surprise of everyone, we seem to be in a bit of a renaissance for Dolph Lundgren’s career. The '80s movie icon made a comeback with a stellar performance in Creed II, which he followed up by appearing in Aquaman as Mera’s father King Nereus.
It was an absolute joy to see Lundgren in this big-budget superhero movie, riding a seahorse. Though the role wasn’t too big, he was a welcome presence every time he appeared. Given his relationship with Mera, it’s entirely likely he could appear again.
6 Don’t Want: Dr. Shin
Randall Park is a wonderful and hilarious character actor who seems to pop up everywhere. In 2018 alone, he gave a memorable performance in the MCU’s Ant-Man and the Wasp before joining the DCEU in a tiny role.
Park’s character of Dr. Stephen Shin has a history in the comic books as a marine biologist obsessed with location Atlantis. The post-credit scene hints that Shin will team with Black Manta in the sequel, but hopefully that idea doesn’t pan out. As entertaining as Park is, Shin just doesn’t seem like a compelling character and the sequel would be better off going for a more interesting storyline.
5 Want: Atlanna
Comic book films have gotten so big that they can recruit just about any big-name star to join in on the fun. Case in point, Oscar winner Nicole Kidman playing Arthur’s mother and the queen of Atlantis, Atlanna.
Kidman is one of the greatest actors around, and here she manages to deliver another solid performance. While the role is pretty thin, Kidman brings some gravitas and also handles herself very well in an incredible fight scene. Here’s hoping the sequel finds an excuse to bring Kidman back for some more butt-kicking.
4 Don’t Want: King Orm
Like the early MCU movies, the DCEU has had a hard time creating a solid villain. King Orm, Aquaman’s main villain, was one of their better attempts but he still left much to be desired.
Despite Patrick Wilson’s committed performance and strong motivations, Orm defaulted to a typical conquer-the-world bad guy that just felt dull. The ending does hint at redemption for Orm and he could perhaps team with his brother in the sequel. Then again, that sounds a little too close to the Thor and Loki relationship.
3 Want: Mera
Mera was not exactly the most interesting character in Aquaman. Amber Heard was fine in the role, but she was given little to do beyond scolding Arthur and eventually falling in love with him. It’s unfortunate because the character has a lot of potential.
Mera has been a big part of the Aquaman story for many years. The character has been shown to be strong, powerful and much more than just a love interest. The character deserves another shot at getting the proper big screen treatment. Hopefully, more effort can be put on building her character.
2 Don’t Want: Karathen
Is it possible for a character to be too cool?
One of the highlights of Aquaman was Julie Andrews voicing an ancient and lonely sea monster. The Karathen is said to be the deadliest creatures in the ocean and when she joins in on the final battle it made for a truly epic moment.
However, as memorable as the character is, she is too powerful to return. To bring her back again would lessen the stakes of the story. What does Aquaman have to fear if he can just call his gigantic sea monster friend whenever he’s in trouble?
1 Want: Black Manta
While Orm might have been a letdown as a main villain, the secondary villain nearly stole the show. Black Manta is perhaps the most popular of Aquaman’s villains and the movie did a wonderful job bringing his over-the-top comic book look to life.
Another surprising aspect of the character was his motivation. While revenge is a driving force for many bad guys, Black Manta’s reasons for hating Aquaman are pretty valid. While Manta is certainly no hero himself, it was easy to understand his evil intentions. With the positive reception of the character, the sequel will likely be putting him front and center in the follow-up.