Aquaman: Release date, cast, plot, theories and rumors – CNET


Jason Momoa is looking pretty menacing as Aquaman.

Warner Bros.

Poor Aquaman. It’s been tough for the King of the Seven Seas to overcome his campy reputation from the 1970s Super Friends cartoon, where he was famous for chatting with sea creatures. But DC Comics took a huge step toward redeeming the character by casting Jason Momoa, the tattooed, tough-guy actor best known as Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones.

Batman (Ben Affleck) does get to deliver the famous insult in Justice League, cracking “Arthur Curry, I hear you can talk to fish.” But it’s hard to make fun of Momoa, fish-talking or no. He combines that biker bad-guy attitude with a magnetic charm that makes Aquaman believable as a hero and magnetic as a personality.

In the film, Momoa plays Curry, also known as Aquaman, described as “the reluctant ruler of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis … caught in a battle between surface dwellers and his own people.” He’s half-Atlantean and half-human, and has superhuman strength and the ability to manipulate ocean tides. He can also swim at supersonic speed and — of course — can communicate with other aquatic life. Two child actors have been cast to play him at ages 9 and 13, and to reveal his troubled childhood as a boy who felt like an outsider both on land and in the water.

On June 15, Entertainment Weekly revealed some exclusive photos from the film. They include a shot of Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) working on his suit, one of Aquaman and his half-brother (Patrick Wilson) facing off, and one of Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) holding a young Aquaman. But maybe the best shows the warriors of Atlantis riding great white sharks (YES!) about to battle the warriors of Xebel riding sea dragons. (Wait, what? EW says director James Wan wanted to “(subvert) the comic image of Aquaman riding a seahorse.” Apparently Wan watched Super Friends, too.)

Release date, production info

Various takes on an Aquaman movie have been shopped around since 2004. This movie began filming in Australia in spring 2017, with scenes shot there, as well as in Canada and Morocco.

Momoa made his first appearance as Aquaman in 2017’s Justice League. This standalone film is set after that movie’s events. Justice League was a good preview for Aquaman, as fans saw Aquaman swimming and didn’t bust out laughing.

Director James Wan is perhaps best known for his work in horror films. He directed 2004’s Saw, as well as Insidious and The Conjuring. Will Beall wrote the screenplay, based on a story by Wan and comic-book writer Geoff Johns.

Aquaman opens Dec. 14 in the UK, Dec. 21 in the US, and Dec. 26 in Australia. Merry underwater Christmas, DC fans!

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Cast: Who’s who?

Plot news, rumors and theories

Who’s the villain in Aquaman? Aquaman’s comic nemesis, Black Manta, will be played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Black Manta has a number of complicated backstories in the comics, so it’s anyone’s guess which one will make it into the movie. He’s also famous for his cartoony look, a black wetsuit with a bug-eyed, alien-style helmet. And the helmet will make it into the film: In February, director James Wan shared a photo of Abdul-Mateen recording lines by talking into a trash can, explaining that it was a “fancy way of simulating the inside of a certain large helmet.”

But don’t for a minute think that Black Manta is the only bad guy. Patrick Wilson will play Aquaman’s evil half-brother, Ocean Master, also known as ORM and Orm Marius. Ocean Master’s origin varied somewhat in the comics to match Aquaman’s, but he shares one parent (sometimes dad, sometimes mom) with the superpowered swimmer. In fact, Wan says it’s Orm, not Manta, who’s the real villain. “It’s almost a very classic Shakespearean story about brother from another world vs. brother from another world,” Wan told Entertainment Weekly. “And it really is a classic story of sibling rivalry.”

Wilson has a take on his character too. “He’s kind of an eco-warrior,” the actor told EW. “He’s got a very clear gripe with the surface world, which has been polluting his oceans for centuries.”

How will Aquaman speak underwater in the movie? It was OK in Super Friends for Aquaman to converse with fish via underwater bubbles, but that would be campy and laugh-inducing in a Serious Superhero Flick. As early as 2016, director James Wan has addressed the communication issue, saying,”I love the idea of underwater speaking but with a real sort of sonic, aquatic quality to it.” Expect a “sort of aquatic, almost sonar/whale thing,” Wan said. Aquaman will speak in human language, but with a “slight sort of underlay to it, this ping to it.”

Is Aquaman’s weapon a quindent or trident? In Justice League, the hero wields a five-pointed weapon, officially known as a “quindent.” That’s not totally wrong: Aquaman has fought with that weapon in the comics. But as Momoa said in a 2017 interview, the hero will get his trident back in the standalone film.

Who will Dolph Lundgren play in Aquaman? The Swedish actor and martial artist, 60, will play King Nereus, ruler of Xebel, Wan said in 2017. But there’s some debate about how Nereus fits into the plot. In the comics, Nereus competes with Aquaman for the love of Mera, but Lundgren told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that his Nereus is Mera’s father. “We’re trying to avoid war between the surface (dwellers) and the people of Atlantis,” he said.

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