After briefly appearing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and then working with his fellow superheroes to defeat Steppenwolf and his Parademon army in Justice League, Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry finally got the cinematic spotlight to himself in 2018’s Aquaman. Like the fictional Aquaman movie helmed by James Cameron in the Entourage universe, the real deal directed by James Wan was a smash hit at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing DC Comics movie with its $1.148 billion haul. So no one should be surprised that Warner Bros. and DC pulled the trigger on Aquaman 2, officially titled Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
With filming on Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom finally beginning in June 2021 and concluding the following December, the sequel is still on track to be released towards the end of 2022. Specific plot details are still being kept close to the vest, but we do know who’s making up The Lost Kingdom’s main cast, so let’s go over the familiar and new faces who will be along for the ride.
Although he came to Atlantis’ aid during Justice League, Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry didn’t want anything to do with the underwater civilization going into Aquaman, as he thought they’d executed his mother Atlanna for loving a human man and having a half-breed son. However, Arthur was forced to get involved in Atlantis’ affairs when his brother Orm declared war on the surface, putting him on a journey that led him to discovering that his mother was alive and ultimately becoming the new king of Atlantis.
By the time Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom begins, it’s possible Arthur may have a firm grasp on how to be an effective ruler, but it’s also plausible he’s still going through some growing pains. Either way, he’ll be kept busy with both the emergence of the sequel’s title location and the emergence of enemies both old and new. But hey, at least he has a new costume to wear!
Arthur Curry wouldn’t have come to Atlantis’ aid in Aquaman if it wasn’t for Amber Heard’s Mera, who debuted in Justice League and has the ability to manipulate water. The daughter of King Nereus, the ruler of Xebel, was betrothed to Orm Marius, but when she learned about his plans to destroy the surface world, she turned to Arthur to help her stop this scheme.
During the course of their journey together, Arthur and Mera developed feelings for each other, and now Mera rules by his side as queen of Atlantis. Count on her continuing to aid him against the threats that emerge in this sequel.
Having already worked with James Wan on two Conjuring movies and two Insidious movies, Patrick Wilson came aboard Aquaman to play its chief antagonist, Orm Marius, a.k.a. Ocean Master, Arthur Curry’s younger half-brother. Following the death of his father, Orvax, and with Arthur wanting nothing to do with Atlantis, Orm was crowned king of the underwater nation, but that wasn’t enough for him. Despising the surface world for polluting the oceans, he attempted to establish an alliance between the other underwater kingdoms so that they could eradicate humanity.
Had Mera and Willem Dafoe’s Vulko not sought Arthur’s help, Orm might have succeeded, but in the end, he was vanquished. Arthur decided to spare Orm’s life, and with Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’s synopsis teasing our hero forging “an uneasy alliance with an unlikely ally,” don’t be surprised if this ends up being Wilson’s character.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s David Kane was already on a bad path when we met him in Aquaman, as he was part of a group of pirates led by his father, Jesse Kane. However, with Arthur Curry foiling their hijacking of a submarine and indirectly causing Jesse’s death, David vowed revenge. Thanks to Orm (who hired the pirates for the hijacking), he was provided Atlantean technology to craft his first Black Manta suit, but that still wasn’t enough to for him to defeat Arthur.
Fortunately, David was later rescued by Dr. Stephen Shin, and the mercenary agreed to show the marine biologist where Atlantis was located in exchange for his help in exacting vengeance on Arthur. While it remains to be see if Black Manta is Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’s main villain or not, between the mid-credits scene in the first movie and he fact that he will be wearing a new suit, it stands to reason he’ll be getting more screen time.
Although King Nereus was Mera’s former betrothed in the main DC Comics continuity, he was reimagined as her father in the DC Extended Universe. Like his comic book counterpart though, Dolph Lundgren’s version of the character also rules Xebel, which enjoys a better relationship with Atlantis in this reality. In Aquaman, Nereus was tricked by Orm into joining his campaign against the surface world and even arranged Mera to marry Orm.
But upon learning the truth of Orm’s machinations and witnessing Arthur Curry control an army of sea creatures, including The Trench, in the movie’s climactic conflict, Nereus' allegiances shifted. He is now a loyal follower of King Arthur, and with his daughter now queen, it’s hard to imagine him not still supporting them in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
Arthur Curry discovered during the events of Aquaman that his mother wasn’t murdered like he believed. When Nicole Kidman’s Atlanna returned to Atlantis following her time with Thomas Curry, she went through with her arranged marriage to Orvax, and together they had Orm. Years later, Orvax discovered she’d had an illegitimate child with a human and sentenced her to be sacrificed to The Trench.
Atlanna avoided being torn apart by going through an underwater wormhole which took her to the Hidden Sea, but the downside was that she remained trapped in this other realm for decades. Luckily, upon being found by Arthur and Mera in the present day, she was finally able to escape imprisonment and reunite with Thomas. Don’t be surprised if like in the first movie, we get to see her in action for a little bit during Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
Lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry, played by Temuera Morrison, saved Atlanna from perishing in a storm in 1985, and they quickly fell in love and had a son together. However, when Atlanna left her family behind to keep them safe from Atlantean forces, it broke Thomas’ heart, and he would go out every day to see if Atlanna returned. Thomas wasn’t involved with Aquaman’s main events beyond being caught in one of Orm’s attacks in the surface world, but he got a happy ending upon reuniting with Atlanna.
I won’t lie though, I’m concerned about Thomas’ well being in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. In the comics, Thomas died of a heart attack during a confrontation with Black Manta, and with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s version of the villain more desperate for revenge than ever, he could easily put Morrison’s Thomas in his crosshairs.
Randall Park only had a minor role as Dr. Stephen Shin in Aquaman, mainly appearing on TV as a marine biologist fired from the United States Institute of Marine Science for his conspiracy theories about Atlantis. It wasn’t until the mid-credits scene that Shin became an important player in the wider Aquaman saga, as he rescued Black Manta after he was defeated by Aquaman.
Realizing that Manta was using Atlantean technology, he asked the antagonist if he could lead him to Atlantis. David Kane agreed if Shin would help him find Aquaman. So expect Shin to play some kind of role in whatever sinister machinations Black Manta has planned, though if he’s like his comic book counterpart, he may eventually experience second thoughts.
Within the DCEU mythology, Atlan was the first king of Atlantis, and led his warriors in battle alongside humanity and the Amazons when Darkseid’s forces invaded Earth millennia ago. However, while running an experiment with his powerful trident, Atlan accidentally sunk Atlantis. Guilt-ridden over what happened, Atlan exiled himself to the Hidden Sea, and before he died, he decreed that only the person capable of properly wielding his trident could “unite all our kingdoms above and below.”
Atlan was played by The Hobbit trilogy’s Graham McTavish in Aquaman, but Vincent Regan from Clash of the Titans is taking over the role in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. While Atlan was resurrected as an icy monstrosity in the New 52 continuity, the smart money is on Regan’s Atlan appearing solely through flashbacks, just like McTavish’s version.
So far only one new established DC Comics character has been confirmed for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and weirdly enough, it’s not someone closely tied to Aquaman’s corner of the DC universe. Oh sure, as a tiger shark mutated by nuclear waste, Karshon would be right as home in Arthur Curry’s rogues gallery, but this villain is traditionally seen fighting Green Lantern. Nevertheless, The Lost Kingdom is bringing Karshon into the fold, and they’ll be played by Pose’s Indya Moore. There still aren’t any details about what we can expect from this version of Karshon, though I suspect the nuclear waste aspect of the character won’t be depicted on film.
Usually in comic book movies, most of the starring characters are people who are from the comics, but there’s still some room for brand-new people. In the case of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, Jani Zhao has been tapped to play someone named Stingray, and it’s unclear if this will be an ally or enemy to Arthur Curry. With a name like Stingray though, it’s probably safe to say this is someone from one of the Atlantean kingdoms rather than a surface dweller.
Before Jason Momoa’s fame skyrocketed from his time in the DCEU, he was arguably best known for playing Khal Drago in Game of Thrones. Well, another alum from the hit HBO series is taking part in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom: Pilou Asbæk, who played Euron Grejoy. Unlike everyone else who’s previously been mentioned though, we don’t even know the name of Asbæk’s character in the Aquaman sequel, so it’s anyone’s guess for now how he fits into the picture.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is set to make a splash in theaters onMarch 17, 2023, and we here at CinemaBlend will keep you informed about more casting details as they come in. Don’t forget to also scan through our upcoming DC movies guide to learn what else the DCEU has on the way.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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