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Aquaman 2 Director James Wan Reveals Horror Movie Inspiration For The Lost Kingdom

James Wan and horror go together like peanut butter and jelly. Most of the filmmaker’s resume is comprised of scary stories, from Saw to the upcoming Malignant. Even when he made his superhero movie debut with 2018’s Aquaman, there were some horror aspects, particularly through the monstrous sea creatures known as The Trench. Wan is sitting back in the director’s chair for Aquaman 2, and he’s revealed that there’s a specific horror movie that’s inspiring his work on the sequel.

Considering that Aquaman ended up being the highest-grossing movie based on a DC Comics character, it’s hardly surprising Warner Bros greenlit a sequel. Jason Momoa’s next outing as Arthur Curry is officially titled Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and this time around, Wan is drawing influence from 1965’s Planet of the Vampires. As Wan put it:

Aquaman 2 is very heavily inspired by Planet of the Vampires. You can take the boy out of horror but you can never take the horror out of the boy.

For those who are unfamiliar with Planet of the Vampires, the Italian movie follows the surviving crew members from two spaceships that have crash-landed on an unexplored planet called Aura. The survivors soon find themselves hunted by the spirit-like inhabitants of Aura that have possessed their cohorts’ corpses. It’s been speculated that Ridley Scott was influenced by Planet of the Vampires for Alien and Prometheus, so assuming that’s true, James Wan is in good company channeling it for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

Later in his interview Total Film, James Wan talked about how didn’t want to infuse too much horror into the first Aquaman movie since this was moviegoers’ first time visiting the DC Extended Universe’s version of Atlantis and its surrounding kingdoms. But now that the general public is familiar with these underwater corners, the director is ready to kick things up a notch on the scary front for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. In Wan’s words:

Well, the first movie took a lot of people by surprise, right? And that’s partially because they were not familiar with the comic book, which deals in this very lurid, strange world. People were taken aback that I didn’t throw all that stuff away and make a dark, heavy film. But I didn’t feel that would have been right for it. So with the second film, I feel it will be easier for people to accept where we go because I’ve already laid the foundation.

No plot details for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom have been revealed yet, although the movie’s title suggests we’ll likely be visiting the lost underwater nation that simply disappeared one day, with no one from the other six kingdoms knowing what happened to it. The sequel will also bring back Amber Heard’s Mera, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Black Manta, Patrick Wilson’s Ocean Master, Dolph Lundgren’s King Nereus and Temuera Morrison’s Thomas Curry, while Game of Thrones’ Pilou Asbaek has reportedly been cast in an undisclosed role. The Lost Kingdom began principal photography on June 28 in London.

While we wait for more information about Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom ahead of its December 16, 2022 release, don’t forget to look through our upcoming DC movies guide to catch up to speed on what else this superhero franchise has in the works.

Adam Holmes

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