Skip to main content

How Aquaman Director James Wan Feels About Managing DC Fan Expectations

It’s been over two months since Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released, and while commercially it did decently for itself, overall critical reaction didn’t fare nearly as well, with most reviews gearing towards the negative end of the spectrum. This has some concerned about how this might affect the other upcoming DC Extended Universe movies. However, the reception isn’t bothering Aquaman director James Wan, who knows all too well how difficult it is to meet fan expectations.

While speaking with Bad Taste, Wan was asked how he felt about the backlash that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has endured and whether he thinks it will affect the rest of the DCEU. This was his response:

I think it’s a world that is so difficult to control, and always expectations of fans are out of this world, right? No pun intended. I know how hard it is, from making Conjuring 2, how much anticipation there is just from the first movie. I think you do the best you can, and tell the best story you can.

"Anticipation" is putting it lightly when it comes to how much fans were looking forward to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Not only was this the first movie to feature the Caped Crusader and Man of Steel together in live action, but the movie also introduced almost all the other main Justice Leaguers and important characters like Lex Luthor, Alfred Pennyworth and Doomsday. However, even though it was financially successful, it’s clear it didn’t meet expectations for the majority, even though director Zack Snyder, writer Chris Terrio and the cast and crew did get to tell their own story. Warner Bros and DC have already taken steps to course correct its franchise with moves like making Ben Affleck an executive producer on Justice League: Part One and DC’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns overseeing the DC movies with Jon Berg. Whether these adjustments will improve the DCEU in the near future for those dissatisfied with its second entry remains to be seen.

One thing that James Wan has to his advantage for Aquaman is that he’s only working with one main hero rather than several.However, when he does get his hands on the aquatic hero, he won’t have a completely blank slate to work with in the solo movie. Even if we exclude his brief cameo in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Arthur Curry is one of the main protagonists in Justice League: Part One. So Aquaman’s personality, as well as at least one of his supporting characters and maybe even Atlantis, will already have been cemented. Fortunately, Wan will still have plenty to play around with in Aquaman’s mythology, so he just needs to follow his own advice: tell the best story he can.

James Wan’s Aquaman swims into theaters on July 27, 2018.

Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.