While Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice may have polarized audiences, you have to respect the massive opus that director Zack Snyder was trying to tell. This movie was responsible for introducing a lot of things, not the least of which was the existence of the other metahumans who will one day form the first live-action iteration of the Justice League. One of these heroes was Aquaman, who most people may remember as “the water guy with the dolphins” on Super Friends. The character has a pretty big reputation as a lame hero and Warner Bros. has an uphill battle convincing people otherwise. Luckily James Wan, the future director of Aquaman, likes the challenge.
James Wan, may be best know for horror films like The Conjuring or more recently Furious 7, spoke with MTV about the character of Aquaman and the goal to subvert audience expectations.
As we all know, Aquaman is somewhat the butt of the joke in the superhero world. There’s something cool about that. I love the idea of being the underdog, coming in with a take on this underdog character and completely blow people’s expectations away. Like, ’Oh, you thought he was going to be a wimpy character? No no no.’ It’s going to be so cool.
This is a great way of looking at the character and his film. Warner Bros. is clearly looking to beef up Aquaman’s image; they wouldn’t hire a director like James Wan or cast Game of Thrones badass Jason Momoa if it were otherwise. No one wants to see a serious film about a guy who jet skis around on dolphins. That Super Friends version couldn’t exist in the dark tone DC Expanded Universe. We need an Aquaman who can command giant sea creatures like the king that he is.
This also isn’t the first time that DC has tried to redefine the character of Aquaman. The King of Atlantis has gone through many different looks over the years. In an effort to make him look cooler, Aquaman grew a beard, lost his shirt, and replaced his hand with a massive hook. He even got an edgier and more serious personality to match. This is the version that appeared in the Justice League animated series, and it seems to be reflected in Jason Momoa’s costume (minus the hook, which fingers crossed, would be pretty cool to see him get).
For those that want to read a good Aquaman comic book, check out the New 52 series written by DC's Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. In this rebooted comic universe, Arthur Curry returned to his classic orange and green, but kept the serious personality. Johns introduced a lot of new elements into the Aquaman lore that expanded on both his powers and his mythology. For example, Aquaman explains that he doesn’t talk to fish but he mentally commands them to carry out his will (fish brains are too small to carry a conversation). Seeing as how Geoff Johns is helping to shape the DC Expanded Universe, expect to see at least some elements of his story implemented into the new movie.
Aquaman will first appear in Justice League Part One, before starring in his solo movie Aquaman which releases July 27, 2018.