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DC Comics’ swimming superstar Aquaman has a big couple years ahead of him. Played by Jason Momoa, he’ll make a minor appearance next year in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, be one of the leading characters in the Justice League movies, and, of course, star in his own solo feature. There have even been rumors about him playing a role in Suicide Squad. However, this version of the character is still very much a mystery, but Momoa provided more information about what to expect from the cinematic King of Atlantis.
During his appearance at Dallas Comic-Con (via ComicBookMovie.com), Momoa told fans he’s been reading a lot of Aquaman material from the New 52 (a.k.a. DC’s 2011 reboot) to prepare, but also noted that the movie will contain a fair amount of "new things." As the actor put it:
So, there’s not really a lot of spoilers I can give away. But the research I’ve done on the New 52 stuff with Geoff Johns, and just researching who he is, he’s amazing. He’s got a lot of powers. He’s extremely tough. He’s super strong. But I’m excited about... there’s a big beautiful map laid out and I wish I could carry it with me. It’ll come out soon enough and you’ll see just how big it’s going to be.
While Aquaman has existed in the comics for nearly 75 years, the New 52 Aquaman series is often considered a great primer for beginners, so it makes sense Momoa’s using it as research material. Geoff Johns’ Aquaman run wasn’t the first attempt to improve the King of Atlantis’ reputation in the comics, but it was one of the more popular books in the New 52. The first issues of the series saw him dealing with The Trench, a race of cannibalistic, ocean-dwelling monsters. Following that, Aquaman reunited with The Others, the team of outcast superheroes he worked with before joining the Justice League, to take on Black Manta. That led to the Aquaman/Justice League crossover Throne of Atlantis (which was adapted into an animated movie), and Johns’ run concluded in 2013 with the Death of a King arc.
Momoa’s Aquaman certainly looks more intense than his comic book counterpart, but as he stated, his powers (which include underwater breathing, enhanced strength, and and an accelerated healing factor) make him a formidable opponent. Since Aquaman is three years away, details about the movie’s plot have been light. It was reported last year that Ocean Master, Black Manta, Mera, and The Trench will all appear, with Karl Urban at one point rumored to play Ocean Master, a.k.a. Aquaman's sinister half-brother Orm. If that information is true, it’s easy to see how the New 52 might be a huge influence. As for these changes Momoa mentioned, we’ll have to wait and see whether they’re just small shifts or something more radical.
Directed by James Wan, Aquaman dives into theaters on July 27, 2018, but you can look forward to the hero’s live action debut when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is released on March 25, 2016.