Aquaman is still a ways away from its theatrical release, but fans are gradually starting to learn more details about what to expect from the superhero movie. With star Jason Momoa introducing the character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and reprising the role in this year’s Justice League, producers are finally beginning to reveal more specifics about Aquaman’s role in the DC cinematic universe.
Here’s everything we know about the upcoming solo flick so far.
1. The cast
As fans have known for quite some time now, Jason Momoa is set to portray the titular aquatic superhero. The actor was attached to the role for months prior to Warner Bros.’s official announcement in 2014. The studio released the first official look at Momoa as Aquaman in early 2015.
Amber Heard will co-star as Aquaman’s main love interest (and eventual Queen of Atlantis), Mera. Heard herself confirmed that she had accepted the role and even tried on a costume, telling ET, “Yeah, yeah I have. It’s… interesting [laughs]. I’m wearing, um… it’s like, half suit of armor, half scales. I don’t know, it’s strange. But we’re in the process of building it now, so it’s coming along.
Meanwhile, Nicole Kidman will play Aquaman’s mother and Patrick Wilson will star as Orm, a villain who happens to be Aquaman’s half-brother (but more on that later).
Willem Dafoe is playing Aquaman’s adviser, scientist Dr. Vulko; Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is classic villain Black Manta; and Temuera Morrison is Aquaman’s father.
Dolph Lundgren has also joined the cast as King Nereus of the aquatic kingdom of Xebel, who claims Mera as his own and wants to kill Aquaman.
Next: Here’s who is behind the scenes.
2. The creative team
It was originally reported that Aquaman was being developed on dual tracks with Will Beall (Gangster Squad) and Kurt Johnstad (300) hired to pen separate, competing scripts for Aquaman. Warner Bros. then hired David Leslie Johnson to write the movie, although it’s unclear whether he created a whole new script or revised one of the previous drafts. Johnson has previously penned screenplays for The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, Orphan, and Wrath of the Titans and has also written for The Walking Dead.
The project will reunite Johnson with director James Wan (above), who helmed both Conjuring movies and is also known for directing Saw and Furious 7. Wan signed on to helm Aquaman following the huge success of Furious 7.
Following rumors reported by Birth.Movies.Death. that Wan was contemplating leaving the project, the director tweeted a picture of himself standing beneath a giant poster of Aquaman, suggesting that he isn’t going anywhere.
Meanwhile, Charles Roven and Zack and Deborah Snyder will produce.
Next: First appearances
3. The Justice League movie came first, and disappointed
Momoa made his debut as Aquaman in 2016’s superhero battle movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He then reprised the role in Justice League in 2017 prior to his own adventures in the Aquaman solo movie, due in theaters December 21, 2018.
Despite the let down that was Justice League, the character of Aquaman was a fan favorite, getting audiences excited for his own flick.
Next: We won’t be going back in time.
4. It won’t be an origin story
As expected, Wan, Momoa, and the producers are staying pretty tightlipped when it comes to details about the upcoming movie. But Roven did recently reveal that Aquaman won’t be a straightforward origin story, as originally presumed. Instead, both Aquaman and The Flash will pick up after the events of Justice League and continue the stories of each respective character from there. “While each movie stands alone, they’re all part of one long arc of storytelling,” Roven told The Wall Street Journal.
Zack Snyder and Wan worked together to make sure that both movies will fit together. “Well, I think the story that I would like to tell is still at the end of the day my story,” Wan told Cinema Blend. “And that’s what’s cool with Zack, is that he’s actually very respectful of that. He’s actually helping me out in some ways with certain things that he’s doing with his [films] so that I can have better groundwork with the standalone Aquaman story.”
Next: Cool creatures
5. Expect some great sea monsters
One thing that makes Aquaman so unique is that we haven’t seen much of his world before. Wan recently revealed that he plans to bring some of his well-known horror sensibilities to the movie, specifically with the inclusion of some interesting sea creatures.
“There’s always something kind of cool about Aquaman still, the idea of creating a huge world that is on our planet. That’s the thing about Aquaman that’s cool is he’s not an alien, right? He’s from our planet and he’s from a society that we’re not privy to in the context of the story,” Wan told Slashfilm. “Isn’t it crazy to think that we’ve explored space more than we have explored the depths of our ocean? That just fires up my imagination about potential sea monsters and cool creatures, that kind of stuff.”
Wan elaborated further on the kinds of characters we can expect to see in the movie, telling CinemaBlend, “I gotta say, one thing I love about the Aquaman world is all the really different, really interesting characters. They are interesting characters, including the villains – I’m not going to tell you which villains I’m going to play with! [laughs] But they’re super cool. They’re very larger than life, but they’re unique.”
Next: Not so serious
6. It will have a fun, adventurous tone
Critics slammed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for being too dark and self-serious. Now, it seems like Aquaman will bring a lighter tone to the DC cinematic universe.
“I would love to capture the fun spirit of high-sea adventures, treasure hunts, sea monsters,” Wan told the LA Times of the upcoming movie. “That’s the spirit that I’m going for. Swashbuckling.”
Wan also recently said he thinks the aquatic adventures of Aquaman will help set it apart from other comic book-inspired movies. He told CinemaBlend:
There are so many superhero movies now; I don’t want to make a superhero movie now for the sake of doing it, but there’s something unique to the world of Aquaman. There’s a reason why they’ve never made a movie about this until now, because technology has never allowed us to tackle something this complicated. And so because of that it feels like something different, and that uniqueness is what I’m excited about.
Next: Who will Aquaman be fighting?
7. One villain is Black Manta
We now know that Aquaman’s primary foe in the movie will be Black Manta. While Black Manta has had several origin stories over the years, DC Comics currently describes him as a character who accidentally killed Aquaman’s father in an attempt to get a sample of Arthur Curry’s (Aquaman’s alter ego) blood.
Aquaman subsequently killed Black Manta’s father, making them lifelong foes. DC Comics also notes that Black Manta has “a powerful suit of armor that allows him to breathe underwater” and the ability to “fire deadly energy blasts through his mask.” Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Netflix’s The Get Down)has been tapped to play the role of Black Manta.
In addition to featuring Black Manta, the movie will feature one of Aquaman’s biggest foes, his evil half-brother, Orm The Oceanmaster. Veteran actor Patrick Wilson has reportedly signed on to play the role.
Marvel has pushed back Aquaman‘s release date a couple of times, with the movie now set to premiere on Dec. 21, 2018.
Additional reporting by Becca Bleznak.