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Justice League only skimmed the surface of Arthur Curry's Atlantean heritage, but at the end of the year, we'll get to fully explore the underwater culture in Aquaman. Jason Momoa's eponymous hero and Amber Heard's Mera will be joined by numerous new faces to the DC Extended Universe, including Nereus, who will be played by Dolph Lundgren. Just like in the comics, it appears that Mera and Nereus will share a close relationship on the big screen, but in a major departure from the source material, it could be as father and daughter.
In Geoff Johns' run on the Aquaman comics earlier this decade, Mera was betrothed to Nereus before she departed from Xebel, another underwater society, to spy on Atlantis, specifically Aquaman. However, Mera ended up falling in love with Arthur Curry, and when she returned to Xebel years later, Nereus was furious to learn that she's now intimate with his enemy's ruler. In sharp contrast, apparently Nereus will be Mera's father in the Aquaman movie. Given the age difference between Amber Heard and Dolph Lundgren, it would make sense not to have the latter's character be thrown into a love triangle with Arthur Curry. Besides, this dynamic still allows Nereus to maintain his position as someone powerful within the DCEU's underwater realm.
Although Nereus was introduced to the comics as an Aquaman foe, director James Wan said last year that Dolph Lundgren's iteration of the character will not serve as one of the main villains alongside Black Manta and Ocean Master. While I originally suspected that Nereus could still be presented as a rival to Aquaman, similar to T'Challa and M'Baku in Black Panther, that may not be how he's used either. Along with reporting about Mera and Nereus' changed dynamic, the Review Journal also provided a quote from Dolph Lundgren about how Nereus fits into Aquaman. The actor said:
Basically, I try to keep the peace down there along with Amber Heard who plays my daughter. Then you have Nicole Kidman as Aquaman's mother. We're trying to avoid war between the surface and Atlantis.
Given that Aquaman will see Arthur Curry taking the Atlantean throne, it sounds like Dolph Lundgren's Nereus will remain Xebel's ruler. However, rather than having an adversarial relationship with Atlantis and King Arthur, Nereus and his people may actually have peaceful ties with the fellow underwater kingdom, and it's only when war between the surface world presents itself that things start to get dicey. Presumably this also means that Mera wasn't sent to Atlantis as a spy, though that doesn't mean that she and Arthur won't have to deal with other challenges in their burgeoning relationship.
Aquaman swims into theaters on December 21, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more updates about the movie. Don't forget to also look through our DC movies guide to see what other DCEU projects are in development.