Jason Momoa's Aquaman made his DC Extended Universe debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice via video footage, but Justice League marked his full-fledged introduction to this franchise. As it did with his teammates, the movie provided basic background on Aquaman for those unfamiliar with the character, but to keep Justice League at a lean two-hour running time (including credits), a decent amount of material had to be taken out for the finalized cut. For Aquaman, this included a moment where he visited a statue of one of Atlantis' long-deceased monarchs, but fortunately that moment can now be seen in a new piece of concept art.
You can head over to Reddit to look at this Justice League artwork for yourself, but it depicts Aquaman underwater and gazing at a statue of the "Dead King," who is seated upon an octopus-designed throne. Although Aquaman was still shown swimming up to this general area in Justice League's theatrical cut, instead just a regular and non-regal dead Atlantean was shown, and that quickly led to Arthur fighting Steppenwolf alongside Mera. In the New 52 comics continuity, the "Dead King" was Atlan, who ruled Atlantis centuries ago, but was betrayed by his brother Orin, who usurped power. After losing the throne and his family, Atlan sunk Atlantis, and in the present day, he was revived to continue his mission of vengeance. Obviously this statue in Justice League was just a way to tease Atlantis' DCEU history, but who knows, maybe Atlan could follow suit like his comic book counterpart and be resurrected for an Aquaman sequel.
The "Dead King" moment wasn't the only major Aquaman-centric scene that was cut out of Justice League. Willem Dafoe was supposed to debut in the movie as Nuidis Vulko, an important advisor in Atlantis, but all of his scenes were taken out, leaving him to be introduced in the Aquaman movie later this year. Fortunately, that's the next DCEU entry, so if you were eager to learn more about Arthur Curry's past and explore more of Atlantis, you'll be able to do so at the end of the year. Justice League concluded with Arthur returning to Atlantis, as he's finally ready to embrace his royal duties. However, the Aquaman movie will see him trying to balance both his underwater and surface lives, as well as deal with the threats posed by Black Manta and Ocean Master.
Justice League will be available for digital purchase starting February 13, and the Blu-ray and DVD copies will hit shelves on March 13. The James Wan-directed Aquaman will swim into theaters on December 21, and you can browse through our DC movies guide to learn what other DCEU projects are on the way.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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