WARNING: This article contains potential spoilers for director James Wan’s “Aquaman.”
With more than a year and a half until "Aquaman" arrives in theaters, little is known about how large of a role classic DC Comics villain Black Manta will play, considering the film also features Patrick Wilson as Orm, better known as Ocean Master. However, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is already getting his feet wet in preparation for his role as the sea king's archenemy by turning to the source material.
Best known for his role on Netflix's "The Get Down," the actor posted a photo of himself holding a handful of DC comic books, ranging from "Aquaman" to "New Suicide Squad," and dating from pre-"Flashpoint" to "Rebirth." In the caption, Abdul-Mateen thanked fans for their suggestions, and noted, "Looks like I've got some reading to do!"
Introduced by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy in 1967’s “Aquaman” #35, Black Manta is a notorious pirate and assassin who, in classic DC continuity, killed Aquaman's son. In the New 52, it was established that Aquaman killed Manta’s father when he was a boy. The villain was eventually imprisoned at Belle Reve, and approached by Amanda Waller to join the Suicide Squad, but ultimately declined the offer.
Whether Black Manta serves as the primary antagonist in "Aquaman" remains to be seen. However, if the potential plot detail recently revealed by Jason Momoa is to be believed, the film's focal point could be a battle between Aquaman and Ocean Master for the throne of Atlantis. If that's the case, we could see Black Manta's role diminished from that of earlier reports, which suggested he would be the film's main villain.
Directed by James Wan, “Aquaman” stars Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Amber Heard as Mera, Patrick Wilson as Orm/Ocean Master, Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko, Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna, Dolph Lundgren as Nereus, and and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta.. The film surfs into theaters Dec. 21, 2018. Momoa will next be seen as Aquaman in director Zack Snyder’s “Justice League,” alongside Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller as The Flash and Ray Fisher as Cybog. That film opens Nov. 17.