With the release of Aquaman rapidly approaching, comic fans are buzzing: could this be the movie to turn the tide on DC's cinematic universe? Or will it just be a big dam mess? Regardless of the film's quality, one thing is certain: Aquaman stands to make boatloads of cash, and will most certainly receive the sequel treatment. But when Aquaman 2 inevitably wades into theaters, just who will Arthur Curry be squaring off against. With Ocean Master and Black Manta, arguably Aquaman's two biggest villains, taking center stage in the upcoming James Wan film, fans are left scratching their heads at just who could fill those big bad galoshes in the follow-up. Thankfully, CBR has some ideas on who to use (and who to stay far, far away from.)
It's a popular misconception that Aquaman is lacking in baddies, but the King Of Atlantis has plenty of frightening fish creatures, power-hungry usurpers, and full-blown gods to contend with. Sure, the Aquaman rogues gallery has its fair share of truly lame villains (we're looking at you, Fisherman), but we'd contend that Aquaman has plenty of baddies we're eager to see storm onto big screens. So loch in, don't flake, and join CBR as we take a look at 15 Aquaman villains we would krill to see on the big screen (and 5 we think are too crappie.)
19 FATHOM: KARAKU
Volcanoes are pretty scary. These giant formations have the potential to spew hot liquid death into the sky at any moment, and there is seemingly no way to predict when they're gonna blow. Now take this horrifying prospect, make it sentient, give it an army of lava men, and oh yeah, make it a god, and you've got Karaku.
This monstrous mass of magma isn't a fun "turn the other cheek" kind of god, either. No, Karaku thrives of death and destruction, and requires constant sacrifice, which almost lead Aquaman to being sacrificed to the fiery deity. We'd pay good money to see Aquaman square off against a power hungry volcano god on the big screen.
18 FATHOM: SIREN
Families can sure be wacky. Maybe your cousin gets sent to jail for stealing rotisserie chicken, or your grandpa waters the lawn without pants. Or maybe your wife's identical twin sister impersonates your wife and attempts to murder you, thus setting off a campaign of terror that sweeps the seven seas. You know, we've all been there.
Hila, twin sister of Queen Mera, was framed for a crime and sentenced for exile, where she fell in with a crowd of fellow exiles and plotted the downfall of Atlantis. With her newfound friends, Siren snatched Mera, replaced her sister, and promptly unleashed an army of bloodthirsty soldiers of Atlantis. Sure, Aquaman is doing the sibling-versus-sibling storyline already, but a more Mera-focused sequel would be a perfect way to introduce the insidious Siren.
17 FATHOM: AQUAMARINES
Sure, the Aquamarines might sound like a long-lost branch of G.I. Joe, but these soldiers are no joke. In fact, we'd love to see this team of genetically-altered, battle-hardened, mean sons-of-beaches gives Arthur a run for his money in the Aquaman sequel.
Created as a precautionary measure should Atlantis ever turn against the surface world, the Aquamarines are comprised of some of the USMC's best and brightest. Undergoing experimental gene-splicing, the marines are given new aquatic powers, better allowing the team to battle Atlanteans on their home turf. A movie in which Aquaman battles a machine gun-toting whale-man for the fate of Atlantis? Sign us up!
16 FATHOM: DEAD WATER
Three words for you: Spooky. Underwater. Zombie-things. Okay, technically that's four words, but stick with us. The Dead Water are by far one of Aquaman's most daunting threats, and there's nothing we would love more than to see these parasitic alien gill-men make it to the silver screen.
Hailing from a planetary system composed of water planets, the alien entity known as the Dead Water crash landed on Earth's ocean floor, where it transforms anyone who comes into contact with it bearing a negative mindset into a vicious sea creature. Mindless and violent, a far cry from the tactical and conniving Black Manta and Ocean Master, the Dead Water would make for a fitting foe in the Aquaman follow-up.
15 FATHOM: THE SHARK
Okay, zero points for originality on the name, but you can't blame The Shark. With characters like King Shark and Great White running around, it's slim pickin's on shark-based monikers. But what The Shark lacks in branding, he more than makes up for in sheer blood lust.
A tiger shark given new, monstrous form thanks to exposure to nuclear waste, The Shark uses his newfound power and intelligence to generally eat anyone who crosses his path. For a time, The Shark was even able to depose Aquaman as ruler of Atlantis, crowning himself the new king of the sunken city. The Shark may not always be the sharpest tooth on the, well, shark, but he's a true threat to be reckoned with, and seeing Arthur square off against this fearsome foe in the Aquaman sequel would make for intense viewing.
14 FATHOM: ANNUNAKE
What exactly caused the sinking of Atlantis? The answer is obvious: Aliens! No, you're not watching Ancient Aliens, but before the New 52 shook things up, the insidious extraterrestrials known as the Annunake were responsible for the fate of Atlantis. Sure, it's a strange, silly story, but we'd be lying if we said we wouldn't want to see this story play out in the Aquaman sequel.
Strong proponents of the adage "break someone down to build them up," the reptilian alien race known as the Annunake roam the galaxy, destroying civilizations and helping the survivors to rebuild, propelling the new society into a golden age of scientific advancement and peace. The Annunake attempted to work their "magic" on Atlantis, but ultimately caused the city to sink to the bottom of the sea. Introducing the Annunake in the DCU would provide an explanation on Atlantis' origins, and it would give us sweet Aquaman/Reptile-alien fights. That sounds like a win/win to us.
13 FATHOM: CREATURE KING
No, that isn't the fishman from The Shape Of Water you're seeing there. This is Creature King, one of Arthur Curry's most fearsome foes. Sure, he might just look like just another fish-based baddie, but Creature King has got a power set that would make him perfect for the big screen.
Originally a diver named Coombs, this unlucky soul perished in a shark attack, only to be shipped off to Triton labs to have his DNA futzed with. The resulting creature, fittingly dubbed Creature King, is a cocktail of aquatic animal DNA, with elements of stone fish, octopus, and scorpion fish mixed into Coomb's DNA. Able to shape-shift and develop new powers on the fly, Creature King lives only to feed and destroy, and he is quite good at doing both. Pitting Aquaman against such a powerful, mindless foe could certainly make for an interesting sequel.
12 FATHOM: THE TRENCH
While Ocean Master and Black Manta may be taking bad guy center stage in Aquaman, director James Wan couldn't resist incorporating elements of the horror genre that made him famous by including the freaky creatures known as The Trench. It seems as though these weirdos might be playing a large-ish role in Aquaman, but we'd love to see these dudes get the spotlight in the sequel.
Survivors of a sister city of Atlantis that sunk to the bottom of the Marianas Trench that subsequently evolved into horrifying, blood-thirsty monstrosities dubbed The Trench, these creatures are violent, unpredictable, and scary, making them far from your standard Aquaman baddies. An Aqua-sequel with these monsters of the deep as the primary villains would allow Wan to really lean into the horror elements, potentially making Aquaman 2 as exciting as it is frightening.
11 FATHOM: NULIAJUK
Over the years, Aquaman has battled men, women, and his fair share of fish-creatures. But an actual, factual, bonafide god? Well, that's a bit outside of his wheelhouse. But that didn't stop Nuliajuk, an all-powerful Inuit goddess, from gunning for the King of Atlantis.
Known as the Mother of Monster, Nuliajuk is a vengeful goddess, using her control over the creatures of the sea to deny fishermen their hauls and to strike vengeance upon those she deems as having wronged the oceans. Seeing Aquaman and Atlantis as interlopers in her oceans, Nuliajuk has tried to use her army of sea creatures to destroy the underwater city on numerous occasions. Having Aquaman battle an angry sea-god would make for high stakes in a sequel. DC, make it happen!
10 FATHOM: THE DEAD KING
The sea holds many secrets. The cruel, uncaring waves have washed plenty of ... less-than-likable folks into the depths, never to be seen again. Well, most are never seen again. Allow us to introduce you to the truly scary Dead King.
The Dead King, or Atlan as he was known when he still lived, was the first ruler of Atlantis, back before the city sank beneath the waves. Driven to madness by the grief of having his family murdered by his jealous brother, Atlan forged six legendary weapons that he used to send Atlantis into the sea. Centuries later, The Dead King would return a shambling, barnacle-riddled shadow of his former self, consumed with hate and a desire to finally destroy Atlantis and its new ruler, Aquaman. An epic, sweeping story with a freaky villain that looks like Davy Jones and the Night King had a baby? Yeah, sign us up for that movie.
9 FATHOM: CHARYBDIS
You may not know the name Charybdis, but you certainly know his handy work. Emphasis on the "handy." You see, this deranged villain once made use of a swarm of particularly ill-tempered piranha to rid Aquaman of that pesky left hand of his, leading Arthur to adopt his iconic hook hand. Yes, Charybdis is as cruel as he is vindictive, and it's this commitment to ruining Aquaman's life that would make this baddie perfect for the next Aquaman movie.
Starting his criminal career as a freelance assassin, Charybdis would be driven insane after the death of his wife, leading the gun-for-hire to set his unhinged sights on Aquaman and Atlantis. Possessing razor-sharp teeth, enhanced strength, and the ability to communicate with fish, compounded with general insanity and a desire to see Aquaman suffer, Charybdis is incredibly dangerous. We'd take no fishue seeing this loony piranha-man make the jump to the big screen.
Change is inevitable when a comic book character makes the jump to the silver screen. But while Aquaman is sure to feature plenty of differences from its source material, the biggest changes of all seem to have been reserved for Nereus. Going from Mera's former fiance to her father is strange enough, but casting famed mountain of muscle Dolph Lundgren as Nereus might be the most surprising. While we'll reserve judgement on the success of these changes for when Aquaman releases, this new King Nereus has us thinking about a sequel in which the ruler of Xebel takes the reigns as the main bad guy.
Cunning, tactical, and an outspoken critic of Atlantis, all signs seem to point towards the prideful King Nereus dragging the kingdom of Xebel into war. Give us a sequel in which Nereus graduates from side character into a full-blown main baddie, with Nereus waging war on the kingdoms of the Seven Seas, and you've got an Aquaman 2 we'd love to see.
8 FATHOM: TRITON
Take the nearly unlimited power of the Greek Gods, add a heaping helping of anger management issues, a dash of insecurity, and give it flowing blue locks, and voila! You've got Triton, petulant son of Poseidon. While not quite as famous as his pappy, this hasn't stopped Triton from carving a name out for himself by being one of the most vocal members of the "I hate Aquaman" club.
While Triton is traditionally happiest brooding in the halls of Mt. Olympus, Aquaman drew the ire of the God when Triton learned that the denizens of Atlantis were more terrified of Aquaman than they were of him. Seeing this as a grave affront, Triton challenged Aquaman to one-on-one combat, which only ended when Aquaman impaled Triton on a rock. Sure, Triton's run as an Aqua-baddy was short and ended violently, but we'd love to see this story play out on the big screen.
7 FATHOM: THE THIRST
No, this isn't the personification of a woman's DMs after she posts pictures of her new bikini. The Thirst represents the much more literal thirst of water deprivation, and this unseemly villain won't rest until the Earth is devoid of the blue stuff, making this water vampire (waterpire?) the perfect villain for the new Aquaman movie.
Formed from dry river mud, the being known as The Thirst lives only to consume, having preyed on the denizens of the realm known as the Secret Sea for millennia. Eventually making his way to Earth, The Thirst set his sights on draining the planet of its water, putting the relentless villain in direct opposition of Aquaman. Simply strange, we'd love to see The Thirst make the jump to the silver screen.
6 FATHOM: SLIZZATH
Slizzath is as lethal as his name is silly. Yes, Slizzath may have gotten the proverbial short straw in the "scary bad guy name" department, but don't be fooled: you'd be hard pressed to find a more frightening Aquaman villain that this ultra-powerful necromancer.
Hailing from a city of pacifists ruled by his noble brother King Thar, Slizzath thirsted for power, eventually learning the secrets of black magic and using his army of the undead to raze the city to the ground. Trapped in an other-dimensional prison by King Thar with his dying breath, Slizzath stewed in his hate and rage for decades before eventually escaping and turning his quest for power on Atlantis. An immensely powerful sorcerer with an army of the undead at his beck and call? Yeah, Slizzath would be the perfect big bad for the Aquaman sequel.
5 OUT OF THEIR DEPTH: SEAQUAKE
Don't be fooled, dear reader; despite having a name that prominently features the word "Quake," SeaQuake does not possess the ability to cause quakes. No, this would make too much sense. Rather, SeaQuake possesses a sonic disruptor gun. Maybe "SeaMakesYouDizzy" was taken?
Yes, this goofily named baddie menaced Aquaman back in the late '70s, using his patented Definitely-Not-A-Quake Gun to disorient Aquaman while attacking the Sea King's friends with his legion of robots. Of course, Aquaman handily defeated SeaQuake, and this lame villain promptly disappeared, never to be seen again. We'd like to think he left to rethink his silly moniker, but whatever he's doing, he should stay far away from the Aquaman sequel.
4 OUT OF THEIR DEPTH: THE EEL
When you dub yourself "The Eel," your chances of being a big shot villain are pretty slim. There aren't many heroes that are going to give a guy named "The Eel" the time of day, not when there are far more fearsome villains to contend with. But The Eel managed to overcome his lame monikers, gaining formidable new powers that could allow this Z-grade baddie to become an actual, honest-to-goodness threat. But then he got his butt kicked, earning his place on our list.
Starting life as a low-level criminal possessing an electricity-generating underwater suit, The Eel eventually acquired a new suit that granted the villain fearsome water-controlling abilities. The Eel quickly used his new powers to cement himself as the kingpin of crime under the waves, but when Aquaman caught wind of The Eel's new standing, a battle ensued, and the King of Atlantis put The Eel down with authority. The Eel quickly lost his fancy new suit, and went back to his electric suit ways. The Eel could have been a bonafide threat, but this perennial nobody just couldn't shake it. Don't expect to see The Eel pop up on the silver screen any time soon.
3 OUT OF THEIR DEPTH: DEMON GATE
You know you're in for a lame bad guy when his primary motivator is "I killed your dolphin mom." Yes, the confusingly named Demon Gate may have caused Aquaman great grief with his act of dolphin matricide, but it's hard to take someone who murders dolphins seriously. But that's not even the lamest thing about Demon Gate, which is really saying something.
This dolphin poacher turned aquatic cyborg has your standard array of cyborg powers, including energy blasts and super strength, but Demon Gate's primary weapon is his dual wrist-mounted flame-throwers. Which, while fearsome, aren't exactly super useful when used against an opponent that lives underwater. Silly AND stupid, Demon Gate is likely to stay far, far away from the Aquaman sequel.
2 OUT OF THEIR DEPTH: FISHERMAN
Bad villains can be redeemed. Even the most ridiculous, campy, totally-out-there baddies can be given a fresh coat of paint and turned into legitimate threats. But this isn't the case with every villain. Some villains are so dumb, so truly lame, that no amount of retooling can save them. Which brings us to Fisherman.
The original Fisherman was a career criminal who utilized fishing gear to pull off daring heists, but because there aren't many banks you can break into with a fishing rod and a tackle box, the villain wasn't particularly successful. Years later, Fisherman was retooled into an otherworldly, Lovercraftian mind-parasite that was shown to control its victims through fear, and was presented as a behemoth of a threat. Problem is, it's tough to take a way wearing waist high galoshes seriously, and so this grim-and-gritty retooling of Fisherman flopped. No matter how you paint him, Fisherman is just too ridiculous to ever work on the big screen.
1 OUT OF THEIR DEPTH: HUMAN FLYING FISH
The '60s were a different time. Aquaman was still squarely in his "riding seahorses, learning moral lessons, and occasionally getting turned into an octopus or whatever" phase of his career, and he needed super villains to match his goofy adventures. Enter Flying Fish Man, the man who can fly both in and out of water. A useful power, to be sure, but maybe not worthy of a career in super villainy, but we don't judge. But then Flying Fish Man came back years later, long after Aquaman stopped getting turned into an octopus or whatever, and went from "campy and lame" to just plain "lame."
Reemerging in 2007, the new Flying Fish Man was a gun-for-hire, lending his not-very-impressive abilities to the highest bidder. While working for Vandal Savage, Flying Fish Man managed to get the drop on Aquaman, incapacitating the Sea King, but not before Arthur rallied back and beat FFM to a pulp. With his teeny wings and silly costume, this is a character too ridiculous to even laugh at. We definitely couldn't fathom Flying Fish Man ever making his way to movie screens.