Fans are excited and nervous to see how Aquaman performs both critically and at the box office when it premieres next month. If the film succeeds, it could revitalize DC’s attempt(s) at building a connected line of movies. If it tanks, DC might be forced to pull the plug on its hopes of mirroring the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about the film. Jason Momoa reprises his role as Arthur Curry, and the actor’s performance was one of the bright spots of Justice League. Acclaimed director James Wan is the brains behind the operation and it’s reasonable to have high hopes for his vision of, and delivery for, the film.
On the other hand, the Worlds of DC's track record has fans rightfully worried. Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice was panned by critics, Justice League didn’t live up to the hype and, otherwise, Wonder Woman has been the only genuine success from DC’s last several ventures into live-action movies. Everyone will have to wait and see how this film turned out. In this age of social media, plenty of leaks, spoilers and rumors have muddied the waters in regards to what fans know about Aquaman. Few aspects of the film have been confirmed; otherwise, speculation has run rampant, fueling the uncertainty surrounding this movie. As a result, we’ve decided to take a look at what we do know about this movie. Additionally, we’ve listed five things rumored about Aquaman and five things that probably won’t happen.
20 CONFIRMED: BLACK MANTA
We know Black Manta, or David Hyde, will be in the film, as Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will bring the classic Aquaman villain to the big screen. But Manta likely won’t be the main antagonist; that honor is Orm’s. Still, fans are excited to see the big screen debut of David Hyde after 51 years in the comics.
Of all the Aquaman villains, Hyde is certainly one of the most deserving of this spotlight. Manta has a bitter rivalry with Arthur Curry and he has practically always been a thorn in the hero’s side. It’s only a matter of time before we see this conflict in all its glory in a future movie.
19 CONFIRMED: AWARD-WINNING CAST
When assembling the cast for Aquaman, DC pulled out all the stops. Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Patrick Wilson will play Orm and Nicole Kidman, the recipient of multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Awards as well as an Academy Award, will play Atlanna. Willem Dafoe, the recipient of three Academy Awards, will reprise his role as Vulko after his first turn with the character was cut from Justice League.
Additionally, Momoa has become a star as a result of his prominent roles in Game of Thrones and Frontier. Amber Heard brings her own star power, as she won a Scream Award (Best Ensemble) for her role in Zombieland.
18 RUMORED: ROMANCE WITH MERA
In the comics, Aquaman and Mera are like an underwater version of Superman and Lois or the Flash and Iris West. The two are linked together and their love is often a constant fixture in Aquaman comics. Mera debuted in 1963, and her relationship with Arthur has increasingly grown throughout the years. Failing to include this romance in Arthur’s first solo movie would definitely be a misstep for DC.
While we don’t want to see a forced connection between the two characters, Aquaman would feel incomplete without the establishment of this legendary love story. Hopefully, the film will manage to include the relationship in an organic way.
17 WON'T HAPPEN: BATMAN/SUPERMAN CAMEO
It’s safe to be that we won’t be seeing Batman or Superman in DC’s newest venture to the big screen. This past September, various news outlets confirmed that Henry Cavill won’t return as the Man of Steel. So, it’s pretty likely we’ve seen the last of the Worlds of DC’s version of the character.
Ben Affleck isn’t officially out as Batman but, for years now, rumors have suggested he could be leaving the role. A cameo from the Dark Knight, though possible, seems like a long shot. If Aquaman does include a surprise appearance from a Justice League member, the Flash and Cyborg seem more probable than Batman and Superman.
16 CONFIRMED: ORM
Orm, as previously mentioned, will be the main villain to oppose Momoa’s Arthur Curry. Patrick Wilson, who previously worked with James Wan as a lead in both The Conjuring and Insidious franchises, will play the Ocean Master, who is Aquaman’s brother. The film will likely explore this sibling rivalry as the two brothers fight for the throne of Atlantis.
Orm is a legitimate villain in the general DCU, so hopefully Wilson and the movie are able to give fans a strong portrayal of the character. If they do, it’s easy to imagine Orm becoming the Loki to Momoa’s Thor in future DC movies.
15 CONFIRMED: WILL EXPAND ON JUSTICE LEAGUE BACKSTORY
Justice League briefly introduced Aquaman's backstory. Viewers met Mera, saw some of Atlantis and, of course, became familiar with Arthur Curry. But the film couldn’t spend too much time on one character so viewers only received a small preview of Aquaman’s world. Of course, the character’s solo film will take what Justice League established and heavily expand on it.
Now, fans will see Atlantis in all its glory and meet a number of Arthur’s supporting characters. Plus, for the first time in live-action, viewers will see Arthur’s childhood and his general background. Many fans can’t wait for this extended look at the character’s world.
14 RUMORED: COMICS-ACCURATE SUIT
As early as his debut in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, fans knew Jason Momoa’s Aquaman would be different from the classic version of the character. For a long time, Arthur Curry was the laughingstock of the Justice League. Casual fans always pictured the Super Friends version of Curry, so it was hard to take the character seriously. Momoa has flipped that narrative on its head because he has brought legitimacy to the King of Atlantis.
DC may choose to strike a balance between the classic version of the character and the modern version. To do so, a logical first step would be to have Curry wear a comics-accurate costume. Momoa seems all but guaranteed to wear one, at some point, when Aquaman premieres.
13 WON'T HAPPEN: DARKSEID APPEARANCE
Justice League set the stage for Darkseid’s debut on the big screen. For a while, rumors suggested the ruler of Apokolips would make an appearance in the movie. Instead, fans had to settle for Steppenwolf and an army of parademons. Some fan theories predict that Aquaman will somehow include Darkseid but the New God seems like an improbable component of the film; including him would detract from the titular character’s individual story.
DC’s cinematic future seems uncertain and it’s possible the company will ultimately decide to move on from the seeds Justice League planted. With so much uncertainty, Aquaman will probably act as a mostly self-contained installment in DC’s line of movies.
12 CONFIRMED: ARTHUR'S BACKSTORY
After a brief cameo in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League allowed fans to see a glimpse of Aquaman’s backstory. But, given that movie’s need to similarly feature several other characters, fans have still not seen a live-action look at Arthur Curry’s background. Thankfully, the upcoming film is destined to change that.
By using flashbacks, James Wan will finally provide fans an extensive look at Arthur Curry’s origins and the character’s road to becoming a hero. Additionally, the movie’s general story will take a deep dive into the politics of Atlantis. Fans can expect to see a game of chess involving these various players to unfold throughout the film.
11 CONFIRMED: MAN OF TWO WORLDS
The modern version of Aquaman is best known as someone who is stuck between two worlds. He’s not fully welcome in Atlantis and he’s an outsider in the surface world, too. In recent years, many of the character’s stories have explored Arthur’s attempts to navigate this problematic lifestyle. The film will likely do the same thing, as he’ll have to juggle his responsibilities to the underwater kingdom with his desire to achieve peace with the surface world.
The ratio of these two worlds will likely play a significant part in the film’s general success; spending too much time on one of them will hamstring the movie’s ability to accurately capture Arthur’s character.
10 RUMORED: EMPHASIS ON HUMOR
The first several years of the Worlds of DC earned the company a reputation for dark, gritty films. Marvel has been incredibly successful with the MCU, and the implementation of humor has played an important role in that prosperity. DC has already displayed an attempt to shift away from its former reputation; Justice League had a few (arguably forced) jokes for this very reason.
As a result, Aquaman will probably include even more humor. The trailers have practically confirmed this idea; in them, Arthur Curry drops a few one-liners, so the movie will likely have more jokes in order to establish a lighter tone.
9 WON'T HAPPEN: EXTENSIVE RIVALRY WITH MANTA
Black Manta will definitely be in this film, but the extent of his involvement remains unclear. Some theories suggest the villain will receive a sizeable share of the spotlight. Others predict that Aquaman’s nemesis will confined to the background. With Arthur’s brother, Orm, confirmed as the movie’s main villain, Black Manta will likely serve as a supporting antagonist.
Unfortunately, this limited role would deprive viewers of the chance to see his bitter rivalry with the titular character. In the New 52, Manta hated Aquaman as a result of the hero’s accidental role in the demise of Hyde’s father. Hopefully, fans will get to see this conflict in a potential sequel.
8 CONFIRMED: NO AIR BUBBLES UNDERWATER
For the most part, many fans enjoyed Momoa’s first turn in the spotlight in Justice League. The character’s simultaneous humor and “it” factor made the Worlds of DC version of Arthur Curry a relative hit. However, just as many, if not more, fans took issue with the way the film captured the underwater dialogue between Mera and Arthur. Mera constructs an air pocket around them in order to facilitate the conversation.
Naturally, fans worried Aquaman would be forced to repeat this tactic for every conversation under the sea. James Wan assuaged these concerns when he tweeted his film would not include the air bubbles.
7 CONFIRMED: SPECIAL EFFECTS GALORE
James Wan has become one of the most successful directors of the 21st century, as he directed Saw and Fast Seven, spearheaded The Conjuring and Insidious franchises and left his mark on a number of other horror movies. One of Wan’s calling cards is his proclivity for practical special effects.
This skill, along with his ability to capture breathtaking action scenes, makes Wan a smart choice for the director of Aquaman. Fans can fully expect to see some incredible special effects and action sequences throughout the film. We can’t wait to see how Wan captures Arthur’s fight scenes and what Atlantis will look like on the big screen.
6 RUMORED: UNDERSEA MONSTERS
When you stop and think about it, the ocean is a scary place. Massive sharks and countless other beasts lurk in the depths. Through the years, Aquaman stories have often featured underwater monsters. With James Wan’s background in horror movies, fans can expect the director to include some frightening aquatic life in DC’s newest live action movie.
Maybe we’ll see the kraken. Or, perhaps, Wan will have Arthur Curry fight a gigantic, fearsome octopus. The possibilities are endless and we’d be surprised if Wan didn’t capitalize. These monsters wouldn’t be the focus of the film but they could definitely help establish Curry as a force to be reckoned with.
5 WON'T HAPPEN: SETS UP FUTURE OF WORLDS OF DC
James Wan may choose to include flashbacks to connect his film to Justice League and acknowledge the DCU. However, it’s doubtful that Aquaman will set the stage for DC’s future movies. Shazam!, Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman 1984 are next on the docket. Beyond that duo, two Joker movies, Suicide Squad 2 and The Flash are also in development.
Arthur Curry doesn’t naturally fit into any of these projects (to be fair, he has a connection to the Flash and Wonder Woman due to Justice League). Still, it seems more likely that with Aquaman, DC will just focus on making a good movie and it won’t force along the process of building a cinematic universe.
4 CONFIRMED: PRESENCE OF XEBEL
For a long time, Xebel has been a rival of Atlantis. The penal colony is part of the latter’s kingdom and, in recent years, it’s become even more intimately linked with Atlantis. A recent retcon revealed that Mera, a native of Xebel, had initially been sent to the kingdom as Arthur’s assassin. Of course, she didn’t complete her mission, which was a driving factor in the escalated tension between Atlantis and Xebel.
Aquaman will include the colony in some capacity, and Dolph Lundgren is expected to play its king, Nereus. Adding another player to the political conflicts already guaranteed to be in the film may be overwhelming but it could also make the whole situation even more compelling.
3 CONFIRMED: RELATIONSHIP WITH MERA
Mera is definitely in the movie; she’s all over the trailers and promotional material. She’ll definitely have a significantly expanded role after a small part in Justice League. From the trailers, it’s clear she’ll have some sort of relationship with Arthur. The trailers make it seem like the connection will initially be tense and fragile.
Based on these snippets, it looks like the characters won't like each other at first. But, as with other love stories, they’ll likely bond over the course of the movie. The inclusion of their romance isn’t a guarantee but they will have some kind of relationship.
2 RUMORED: ADAPTATION OF THRONE OF ATLANTIS
Based on what we do know about Aquaman, it’s possible the film will be a loose adaptation of Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. This story, which was turned into an animated movie, includes a war between the surface world and Atlantis. Black Manta, who’s in cahoots with Orm, orchestrates the conflict by attacking the underwater kingdom and the two villains nearly succeed in the execution of their evil plot. But, in the nick of time, Aquaman and the Justice League stop the devious duo.
James Wan’s movie could certainly draw from this story. Other than the presence of the Justice League, it seems like the two stories already have several similarities.
1 WON'T HAPPEN: OTHER SUPPORTING CHARACTERS
Whenever a superhero gets their first solo movie, it’s natural for fans to hope for appearances from the character’s supporting cast. Writers often try to meet this request by featuring these fan favorites or by giving them cameo appearances. Some films effectively achieve this goal while others go over the top. Hopefully, Aquaman will strike a balance by including some of these characters without overwhelming casual viewers.
We know Mera, Orm and Black Manta will be in the film. Other important characters, like Aqualad and Tempest, will probably have to wait for their turn. Otherwise, they’ll get thrown into a crowded film, which would be an injustice to these heroes.