One particular issue that has been developing in the world of comic book movies is the problem of creating legitimate, threatening villains. The serialization of the blockbuster films has led to fans knowing that heroes are going to survive before the battle even starts, and this also results in their enemies simply looking like "baddies of the week" – ready to be captured or die in order to further develop the hero’s plot. It’s something that we’ll be watching closely in the next few years, as more and more comic adaptations arrive, but it’s a challenge director James Wan is ready to face with Aquaman - prepared to introduce special characters who are part of a special world, and pose a special threat to the titular protagonist.
I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with James Wan this weekend at the Los Angeles press day for The Conjuring 2, and towards the end of our long discussion about the new horror movie, I asked a couple of questions about the development of Aquaman. Presenting the state of the comic book movie villain to the filmmaker, I asked how his movie was going to be different – and while he wouldn’t reveal exactly who the hero would be facing in the movie, he did suggest that it will multiple antagonists special to the underwater world. Said Wan,
I gotta say, one thing I love about the Aquaman world is all the really different, really interesting characters. They are interesting characters, including the villains – I’m not going to tell you which villains I’m going to play with! [laughs] But they’re super cool. They’re very larger than life, but they’re unique.
Continuing, James Wan bridged his point to explain that the uniqueness of Aquaman’s villains was just part of the larger unique spectrum that the movie exists on, and it was really that special quality that made him want to make it:
That’s what I’ll speak to – the uniqueness of the Aquaman world. There are so many superhero movies now; I don’t want to make a superhero movie now for the sake of doing it, but there’s something unique to the world of Aquaman. There’s a reason why they’ve never made a movie about this until now, because technology has never allowed us to tackle something this complicated. And so because of that it feels like something different, and that uniqueness is what I’m excited about.
Given that Aquaman isn’t scheduled to arrive in theaters until July 2018 – following the DCEU’s Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League and The Flash - it will probably be a while before we get any big updates about the project’s development. That being said, it’s exciting to know that James Wan is coming at the film with the hope of really capturing something new and different from what the larger genre has brought us to this point.
While we wait for Aquaman, you can get more excited about James Wan’s involvement by catching The Conjuring 2 in theaters this Friday, June 10th. And be sure to stay tuned for more from our interview with the director!