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While superhero movies have been around for decades, one of the biggest joys of the current cinematic comic book boom is seeing characters come to life in ways they never have before. Take Aquaman, for example. Though the DC Comics hero has been portrayed on the page since the 1940s, it wasn't until last year's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that he made his big screen debut. It turns out this was actually a very appealing aspect of the role for star Jason Momoa, as it has allowed him to truly put his stamp on a big part of the character's pop culture identity. He recently said,
We've never really seen anything from this guy before, so it's fun to have a level playing field. There aren't like four Aquamans before me. I get to set the tone for it.
This quote comes from a larger profile on Jason Momoa in GQ, talking about his life and work both inside and outside of the DC Cinematic Universe. While Momoa does have a history of taking on previously-played roles - specifically in the remake of Conan The Barbarian - it seems that a significant draw to his first superhero gig was the fact that there has never been a movie version of Aquaman before, and therefore there isn't anyone with which fans and critics can compare his performance.
It is worth mentioning that while it's true that Aquaman a.k.a. Arthur Curry has never been featured in a big screen franchise before the DC Extended Universe, that doesn't mean that he hasn't been portrayed in live-action before. Specifically, the aquatic superhero was previously played by Alan Ritchson in Smallville - albeit that was on the small screen. On can also mention the fact that an Aquaman movie was a central part of the show Entourage for a while, with the hero in the fake movie played by Adrien Griener and James Cameron fake directing. Still, Jason Momoa isn't wrong in that most people don't directly associate Aquaman with either of those two actors.
The Aquaman solo movie is currently in pre-production and aiming for a late 2018 release date, but by the time we get there the Jason Momoa version of the hero will have been in two other features (three if he pops up for a cameo in Wonder Woman). We were first introduced to him in a video on a laptop in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but later this year we will get to really see him in action, co-starring in Zack Snyder's Justice League. The film has a lot of pressure on it after the critical failings of the previous installments of the franchise, but it could prove to be the perfect launchpad for Arthur Curry.