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Black Manta boarding a submarine

While he is currently starring in Watchmen, HBO’s critically acclaimed series isn’t the first time actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has starred in a comic book property or a DC one for that matter. He also starred as the villainous David Kane, a.k.a. Black Manta in the 2018 global smash hit Aquaman. Yahya Abdul-Mateen will be reprising that role for Aquaman 2 and he is excited for the opportunities the sequel provides, as he explained:

We have a date of December 2022. Hopefully, that will hold. Black Manta will be back — I feel confident in saying that. I’m excited to step into that world again and cause some more trouble. I really want to add more personality and more character to David Kane and flesh him out in Aquaman 2 and give him more of a journey.

Although Yahya Abdul-Mateen II couldn’t tease any details about the story for his character of Aquaman 2 overall, the actor is confident he will be back for the sequel and that Black Manta will be causing more trouble. As he told Entertainment Weekly, he is particularly excited for the sequel because it represents an opportunity for him to dig deeper into the character of David Kane and do more with him than he could in the first Aquaman.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is hoping to add some more personality to the man behind the Black Manta mask and flesh him out and you’ve got to think that Aquaman 2 will allow him to do just that. Although he was in the first film, Abdul-Mateen’s Black Manta was more of the side villain, whose story intertwined with Arthur Curry’s and that of the film’s main villain King Orm, played by Patrick Wilson.

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In Aquaman we got to see the introduction of Black Manta and saw the birth of his vendetta against Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, but we didn’t really get to know the character much beyond that. He was just on a quest for revenge the whole film, but we don’t know too much about his past, who he is or what drives him beyond that, at least as far as film canon is concerned.

What Aquaman did do was set up Yahya Abdul-Mateen’s Black Manta to play an even bigger role moving forward and step up from side villain to become the main bad buy in the sequel. In the end-credits scene, David Kane meets up with Randall Park’s Dr. Stephen Shin and it would seem the two will be collaborating in the next movie. So all signs point to a greater focus on Black Manta in Aquaman 2.

That should result in Black Manta having more screen time and a greater arc over the course of the film in the sequel and allow Yayha Abdul-Mateen II to go into greater depth with his character than he has before.

We have a ways to go until we see that though. As Yahya Abdul-Mateen noted, Aquaman 2 is scheduled for release in 2022. The actor expressed a hope that that date will hold, which could be perceived as doubt. But we’ve heard that the sequel is all mapped out and that it is scheduled to begin shooting in early 2021, so at the moment, there’s no reason to doubt that we will be headed back to Atlantis in 2022.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II certainly has a lot on his plate and a bright future ahead of him in addition to his Atlantean exploits. The actor is starring in the horror rebootquel Candyman and in Aaron Sorkin’s new film The Trial of the Chicago 7. He’ll also be starring opposite Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix 4, where he may or may not be playing Young Morpheus. Plus, are we getting Watchmen Season 2?

Aquaman 2 splashes into theaters on December 16, 2022. To see what movies are headed to theaters next year, check out our 2020 Release Schedule.