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Aquaman arriving in a submarine

Next weekend sees the release of Aquaman from director James Wan. By and large, the reviews for the film seem to indicate that the acclaimed director has delivered one of the best DCEU films to date. So naturally, assuming Aquaman is a success at the box office, many fans will want to see James Wan back in the director's chair to helm a potential sequel. Not so fast though, because Wan isn't contracted for an Aquaman sequel, as he explained:

This is my only one that I've signed up to do. We'll see. Let's not talk about sequels before this one's even come out yet.

Aquaman isn't even officially out yet, so James Wan wants to keep the focus on this film before discussing the possibility of sequels. That's understandable, after an exhausting two years of making Aquaman. He's probably ready for a rest, and doesn't want to assume a sequel will happen before knowing how the first film performs. However, Wan did reveal to Variety that he is not currently signed on to direct any other Aquaman movies.

That isn't the same as him saying he doesn't want to direct any others, or that he is done with the franchise. There could be an Aquaman 2 and James Wan could still direct it, but contractually speaking, he is not obligated to return to Atlantis.

This is obviously very notable, because if Aquaman is successful and Warner Bros. decides to make a second one, there will be the open question of who is going to direct it until James Wan officially returns or the studio gets somebody else.

The situation is somewhat reminiscent of what happened with Wonder Woman. Warner Bros. only signed on Patty Jenkins for the first film. The, when Wonder Woman was a critical and commercial smash hit, the studio had to back up the money truck to bring her back.

The outlook on Aquaman isn't quite as rosy as Wonder Woman critically, but the reviews are largely positive thus far and no doubt audiences who like the film will want to see James Wan return to play in the world that he so painstakingly created.

On the other hand, James Wan is a talented director who made his mark in horror before moving on to Furious 7 and then the world of superheroes, so it would also be interesting to see him tackle something else new -- and he may want to. Then again, he has also shown interest in a horror take on Batman as well as Blade, so maybe he'll stay in the comic book realm and just do something different. Time will tell.

Early indicators at the box office are good for Aquaman with the film tracking at a $65 million opening weekend against stiff competition. In addition to that, Aquaman has already surpassed Wonder Woman's entire run in the all-important Chinese market.

Those signs bode well for an Aquaman 2, if that's in DC's plans, but James Wan returning to make it is not a certainty.

Aquaman dives into theaters on December 21st. For movies looking to make a splash next year, check out our 2019 Release Schedule.