In Justice League, Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) makes a remark to Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) about not caring if the ocean levels rise. However, as Wayne quickly acknowledges: there are other ways to threaten Earth's aquatic habitats. As it turns out, that will be a major plot point in James Wan's Aquaman, and Arthur's first solo movie will focus heavily on the threat posed by pollution in the oceans. In fact, according to Momoa, the real-life issues of pollution and contamination of the sea will factor into the film's depiction of the conflict between the surface and Atlantis. Addressing Arthur's newfound responsibilities, Momoa explained:
And how he has to bring these two worlds together. Because you're going to see this ocean world, which we just pollute, and how do these people feel underwater with what the land does to the ocean. And this war that is going to come between the two, and I'm the only one that can link the two. He has to do it. He doesn't want to do it.
So it sounds like (in a fashion that's very reminiscent of the comics), Aquaman will lean heavily on the idea that Arthur Curry is a bridge between the surface and Atlantis. What one does directly affects the other, and the responsibility falls upon him (whether he likes it or not) to act as a mediator in the conflict. Even through all of the swashbuckling adventures, from Jason Momoa's comments to Comicbook.com, it seems that the film will still endeavor to say something about a situation that doesn't necessarily involve superpowers or huge battles.
Knowing that pollution and the surface's treatment of the oceans could play a major role in Aquaman may also go a long way towards explaining the overarching plot of the film. One thing that we already know about Aquaman is that Patrick Wilson's Orm will play a role in the story, and Orm's hatred of the surface world (largely because of its mistreatment of the planet) is a core facet of his personality. If pollution is going to stand out as a significant plot point in the film, then it stands to reason that Aquaman could (at the very least) lay the groundwork for him to become a primary villain in Aquaman's corner of the DCEU alongside Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).
Thematically speaking, this plot point revealed in Jason Momoa's remarks arguably feels like it is one of the most essential elements to bring Arthur Curry into the greater DCEU. He is primarily a loner, based on what we have seen from him so far, but he has come out of his shell more and more because of his responsibility to the oceans. There's a notable parallel between Arthur Curry and Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), as Superman's home world was destroyed in Man of Steel specifically because the Kryptonians mistreated the planet and used up its natural resources. Environmentalism and respect for the planet have long stood out in Aquaman's stories, and the movie seemingly won't shy away from those ideas.
James Wan's Aquaman will hit theaters later this year on December 21. For more information about all of the films that are currently lining up to debut on the big screen this year, make sure to take a look at what DC has coming up.