Fans are just one day away from the anticipated Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom trailer dropping this Thursday, but director James Wan wants to set a few things straight about the production. It’s been five years since the first Aquaman movie–starring Jason Momoa donning the golden scales of the Atlantian hero–became the first DC movie to cross that $1 billion mark, but a lot of things have happened internally as well. We’ve seen the removal of Walter Hamada, and the ascension of James Gunn and Peter Safran as co-heads of DC Films and have a long-term plan in store, with Momoa’s Aquaman no longer having a place among that schedule.
Wan recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly about many of the rumors concerning the DC blockbuster sequel. The tentpole has been troubled by various reports about a disastrous post-production that allegedly included three rounds of reshoots. The film was also at the center of the power transfer to Gunn and Safran.
“The tricky thing early on was not knowing whether Aquaman would come out first or come out after [The Flash]. So, we just had to be prepared,” Wan said. “At the end of the day, the best thing I would say about this movie is that it is not connected in any way to any of those films. That’s the bottom line.”
There was also confusion surrounding whether Batman actors Ben Affleck or Michael Keaton were brought in for these reshoots. Since Flash came out first, does that affect Lost Kingdom? Wan gave an ambiguous reply.
“That’s a ‘no comment’, right now,” he said. “You’re going to have to wait for the movie to come out.”
However, Wan did not dispute a claim that Gunn had “weighed in” on the sequel now that he’s in charge of DC Studios. Wan reassured that he was still in the driver’s seat. “I’ve known James since way back, right? We’re horror guys, and so I’m definitely open to ideas. But, at the end of the day, this is my movie.”
Discussing the number of reshoots involved, Wan insisted that the ones needed for Aquaman 2 were no different than any other major Hollywood blockbuster and they mostly involved a lot of juggling schedules.
“We have big actors in this movie, and everyone’s schedule is really hard,” he explained. “So, we had to break up our shooting schedule into sections. We’ll shoot a bit here now, because this actor’s available, and then we’ll do another shoot now, because this guy’s available. People are like, ‘Oh, they’re doing a whole bunch of different shoots!’ No. If we actually combined them all together, it’s actually not that many number of days at all.”
The director was also asked about actress Amber Heard, who has played Mera since 2017’s Justice League. During her 2022 defamation trial involving ex-husband Johnny Depp, she claimed in court that Warner Bros. “pared down” her role. Wan replied that the focus was never on Mera for the sequel but on Arthur’s relationship with his brother, Orm, the Ocean Master (Patrick Wilson).
As for the future of the franchise, Wan thinks that Lost Kingdom nicely sets up a potential third film, but the audience has to be there for it. Given DC’s box office track record as of late, that could be a small problem, however.
“What I like between this one and the first one is, you really do see the growth of Arthur,” Wan says. “He starts off as this kind of wanderer, and in the second one, he finally has more of a direction of what he wants to do with his life. If and when there is a third one, that’s what it should be; it should be growing these characters because I think we’ve set up certain things in a good place in the second movie that you can definitely draw upon in a third. I don’t have any stories, but growing the characters is the biggest thing that I think the next Aquaman movie should be about.”
Gunn has already made clear that any DC superhero titles they want to pursue but that don’t fit in their connected cinematic universe will be given an “Elseworlds” label, such as Robert Pattinson in The Batman.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will be released in theaters on December 20.
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