Director James Wan Compares Aquaman to Wolverine

DC Comics' Aquaman has been the butt of jokes for decades -- even in "Justice League's" Comic-Con footage -- but director James Wan makes it clear he doesn't view the Sea King as a humorous figure.

Appearing at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, the filmmaker explained that DC's Chief Creative Officer, and former "Aquaman" comic writer, Geoff Johns inspired his approach to the character, played by Jason Momoa.

"Listen, I'll be honest, I really love what Geoff Johns did with [Aquaman]," Wan told IGN. "I really think he took this character that had become the joke of the superhero world and made him frickin' cool again. And I really admire it, and that is my leaping-off point."

Wan and Johns collaborated on a detailed story treatment for the film, which will be written by Will Beall.

Wan also praised the casting of "Game of Thrones" alum Momoa, saying, "I actually think it's a brilliant move on Zack [Snyder, director of 'Batman v Superman'] and Co. to cast someone like Jason. Immediately, the whole joke aspect of Aquaman goes out the window. You have such a muscular, superhero-y character."

The director said his version of Aquaman will be a loner similar to a certain Marvel antihero. "I look at him, he's kind of the Wolverine in some respect," he said. "He's the outsider who gets pulled into this world and he kind of doesn't want to belong and he was doing his own thing. And he prided freedom above everything else. That kind of plays nicely into who his character is. He's like a reluctant superhero, right? He's the reluctant king, basically, or would-be king."

Then came the really tough question: How would the movie depict Aquaman talking underwater? Would there be speech bubbles?

Wan laughed and said, "No, here's the thing I always say, if you have water in your lungs, like these characters do, there's no air bubble. So I don't know... I just think in my movie, I want to kind of create... I love the idea of underwater speaking but with a real sort of sonic, aquatic quality to it. So there's this sort of aquatic, almost sonar/whale thing. Even though it's in a human language, there's this slight sort of underlay to it, this ping to it, which I think would be interesting for us to design from a sound design perspective. Yeah, it will be fun. Also, Zack has some ideas that he'll be doing in 'Justice League.'"

Starring Momoa, Amber Heard and Willem Dafoe, "Aquaman" arrives July 27, 2018.

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