Of all the heroes in the DC comic universe, Aquaman has been one of the most talked-about to never hit the silver screen. He’s a longstanding member of the core Justice League and has a publication history dating back to 1962, making him an elder statesman of DC. And yet somehow, it’s taken Hollywood a long time to even consider the prospect of getting him his own movie. That all changed this last year, though, with the announcement that Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) would be appearing as the King of the Seven Seas.
The first photo of Momoa as the iconic hero appeared Friday, tweeted out by Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder. While it doesn’t tell us a ton about the character himself, what it does show us is a grittier, darker version of Aquaman, in line with what DC has opted for in recent movies. Tattooed in grey and black tones, it’s a stark contrast to the orange-and-green hero we’ve come to know in the comics.
What we’ve seen in the past of Aquaman on screen has been scarce, to say the least. The CW’s Smallville briefly portrayed him late in the show’s run, while HBO’s Entourage existed in a universe where James Cameron made an Aquaman movie of his own that shattered box office records (starring Vincent Chase/Adrian Grenier). But now that it’s happening in earnest, with Momoa taking on some uncharted territory in the superhero movie-verse, that may pose some issues translating over.
The biggest issue surrounding Aquaman? The setting for his story. It appears as though the filmmakers are beginning with a fully-formed hero in Momoa, setting us up for a story that could very well take place completely underwater. The real challenge this poses is having to green-screen a whole sea-centric world, something with the potential to look horrifyingly cheesy on screen. That’s not even taking into account that Aquaman is the only ocean-based Justice League member, meaning that any fight he participates in with his counterparts will likely be out of his main element.
Logistical issues aside, it’s hard not to like Momoa assuming the role. It’ll take some creative filmmaking to translate Aquaman into the movie world, but any failure won’t be the fault of the lead character. We’re slated to get our first peek in the upcoming Batman v Superman movie, followed by a full-on Justice League film in the spirit of Marvel’s own Avengers. After that, Momoa himself opines we’ll finally get the standalone Aquaman flick, although no date has been officially set. Odds are, we’ll see right away how our underwater hero works in a movie setting, something that will largely affect his future within the Warner Bros./DC planned slate.
Thankfully, there’s plenty to draw on from the comics for creating a unique world for Momoa’s Aquaman. It’ll namely be a question of how well that works in a far different medium. Much of what we see may very well be a CGI-heavy approach, something we’ve seen to middling degrees of success in movies like Green Lantern. With our first image, though, we at least know that Momoa is the right man for the job.