The integrity of a comic book movie is almost always reliant on the strength of the source material. Aquaman is no different. CBR had a moment to talk with Aquaman director James Wan, who took a moment to discuss the comics that influenced his blockbuster film.
"The biggest influence was Geoff Johns' run during the New 52. That's one we made pretty clear." Considering he wrote the story for the movie, that shouldn't be surprising. Wan specifically liked that, "He did such a great job rebooting the character and the world, so that was a really strong leaping-off point."
Unlike Batman and Superman, though, Aquaman doesn't have the same definitive stories in the comics. Still, that didn't get in Wan's way. He explained that the character "Had never really been done before. I had 70 years worth of incredible source material to pull from."
Just how dedicated was Wan to pull from the source material? He detailed how he went all the way back to the Golden and Silver Age comics to find inspiration. Speaking of the old stories from the '60s, he admitted, "It's very retro, it's very silly. I wanted to take those elements that I found so endearing and find a way to make it really cool in this film."
This is what ultimately led him to include a classic Aquaman character like Topo in the film. The aquatic hero's octopus friend has a brief cameo in the middle of the movie, where he plays the drums during Arthur's fight with his brother Orm. Wan says his inclusion represents his "Love for the Silver Age comics."
It can be hard to include something so silly as Topo in a live-action blockbuster film in 2018, but the director says that Mad Max: Fury Road made him, "Not be afraid to go there." The 2016 movie features a guitar-wielding, flame-shooting character who hangs from a bungie cord on top of an oversized truck.
Wan remembered asking himself, "Why the f*ck is this guy in here playing this flaming guitar? This doesn't affect the story, but sh*t man, this is crazy cool." He concluded that, "If George Miller is doing that, I'm going to do that in mine and have an octopus drummer."
Directed by James Wan, Aquaman stars Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Amber Heard as Mera, Patrick Wilson as Ocean Master, Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, Temuera Morrison as Thomas Curry, Dolph Lundgren as Nereus and Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna. The film opens on December 21.