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We're going to get into some pretty minor spoilers in this Aquaman piece, so if you haven't caught the flick yet, you have been warned.
Aquaman has a lot of interesting themes you wouldn't necessarily have expected to see in a comic book movie, including ocean environmental concerns involving trash and other human interactions. Now, director James Wan has revealed an early draft of the recently-released DC film was also far more political than what we got. Speaking about Orm and Atlantis in a recent interview, Wan said:
He's very nationalistic, and Atlantis has a wall around it. In an early draft, we went even further into that, but then I realized that it's that fine line of not making it too political. I feel like I can do that because it's part of the story, it's part of the character, it's part of the world of Atlantis.
Per the director, the movie was able to get political without the politics of Atlantis taking precedence over the quest-oriented journey that Aquaman and Mera are on. If you have seen Aquaman already, you should know the wall does play an important role in Arthur Curry and Mera's escape after Aquaman challenges Orm.
The Atlanteans keep challengers out through a complex wall system involving weapons that can take out foes, although it's unclear exactly how many foes would even dare challenge the Atlanteans. Orm in particular has a very political focus. He wants to become Ocean Master, but it's all in service of his bigger vision of how the world underwater and above water should work.
Look, comics throughout the years, from Stan Lee and from the beginning, have always echoed social issues, political issues, environmental issues. They always have. Many characters were created out of a desire to see change. So movies should do that too.
Patrick Wilson also mentioned the movie never tries to "get on a soapbox" and that's part of the reason why the final draft of Aquaman works so well.
James Wan ultimately wanted to make a fantasy movie and build a whole world with only slim connections to the world we know. He got to do that with Aquaman and audiences are responding. At the time of this writing, the movie has made over $751 million worldwide -- and it has only been out for a few short weekends.
Ultimately, it's hard to know exactly what the first draft of the flick looked like, but given Aquaman's success, whatever tweaks James Wan and co. made seem to have worked out just fine.