How Aquaman Is Using Patrick Wilson’s Ocean Master

Ocean Master comics

Aquaman doesn't have a particularly big rogues gallery in the comics, but his two greatest enemies will be making their big screen debut later this year when the water-dwelling superhero's movie finally makes a splash. Yesterday, we got our first look at Yahya Abdul-Mateen as Black Manta, who, when fully suited, is quite visually distinctive. But it will be Patrick Wilson's Orm, a.k.a. Ocean Master, serving as Aquaman's main antagonist. Like in the comics, Orm is Arthur Curry's half-brother, but unlike his heroic sibling, Orm has a bigger beef with the surface world for continuing to pollute the seven seas. Wilson explained:

He's kind of an eco-warrior. He's got a very clear gripe with the surface world, which has been polluting his oceans for centuries. And that's something for me --- I'm sure for you too --- that's very easy to understand. If somebody was just constantly polluting our air and ruining how we lived ...

While Arthur Curry was raised on the surface by his human father, Thomas (played by Temuera Morrison in the movie), Orm is entirely Atlantean, so he has no emotional attachment towards surface dwellers, i.e. humans. That would be fine, but because humanity keeps dumping waste and trash into the oceans, Orm has had enough, hence why he wants to attack the surface during Aquaman. This portrayal is similar to the New 52 version of Ocean Master, who attacked humanity in the Throne of Atlantis storyline in retaliation for an aircraft carrier attacking Atlantis (though what Orm didn't realize was that the carrier had been sabotaged). In the DC Extended Universe, however, it sounds like Orm's anger towards the surface world has been building for a long time, and now he's ready to take action by uniting the seven underwater kingdoms to declare war, which Jason Momoa's Arthur Curry does not want to happen.

As for why Patrick Wilson was cast as Aquaman's Ocean Master, director James Wan, who previously worked with Wilson on the Insidious and Conjuring movies, explained to EW that he was looking for an actor that wouldn't make Orm look like an outright villain. As Wan put it:

Patrick is such a talented actor and a chameleon as well, he can disappear into any role. Orm's got a soft spot for his brother who lives on the surface world and if anything just wants him to rule Atlantis and the world together, but his brother doesn't see it that way. A lot of the clashes they have stem from their different upbringings. So I didn't want to cast a typical villain actor.

This year in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we've seen Black Panther's Erik Killmonger and Avengers: Infinity War's Thanos depicted as villains whose actions were intended to serve the greater good, and clearly Aquaman is taking a similar approach with Ocean Master by painting him in a somewhat sympathetic light. Unfortunately for Orm, he's not the one sitting on the Atlantean throne, and even if something jeopardizes Arthur's position as king, you can guarantee he won't stop trying to prevent Orm and his allies from laying waste to the surface.

Aquaman dives into theaters on December 21, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more updates about the underwater blockbuster.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.