Film projects involving Amber Heard and Johnny Depp have been mired in controversy in light of the couple’s very public legal battles. For good reason; the courts have seesawed between condemning and siding with Amber Heard, resulting in a staggering public approval ratio swaying in favor of Johnny Depp. Warner Bros. itself is under fire for sacking Depp from Fantastic Beasts and keeping Heard as Mera in Aquaman, the latter allegedly at the request of Justice League director Zack Snyder. Nonetheless, both franchises have stayed firmly on course, with principal photography on Aquaman 2 to begin this summer. According to Hollywood insider Daniel Richtman, Amber Heard is no longer satisfied with simply appearing in the movie. New reports indicate she is hoping to secure more scenes for Queen Mera as well. With Warner Bros. considering new female leads — a concerted effort by the studio to take the spotlight away from Heard’s Mera — we won’t be surprised if the rumor turns out right on the money.
The first Aquaman ended on a definitive note, with Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry rising from the depths to become king of Atlantis. Heard’s Xebel-born Mera guided the eponymous founding member of the Justice League on a Hero’s Journey across four out of seven Kingdoms of Atlantis — the Kingdom of the Deserters, the Trench, new Atlantis, and the movie-only Hidden Sea — rightfully earning her place as Queen of her people. From that standpoint, it looked like Amber Heard was safe within this franchise.
And canon follows suit; in almost every comic book iteration of the hero, Aquaman is married to Mera. That being said, fans have called for the role to be recast rather than cut, with Game of Thrones alum Emilia Clarke and Jurassic World’s Bryce Dallas Howard as clear contenders. For better or worse, Warner Bros. has opted to stick with Amber Heard. No other female protagonist has signed on in her place and now it appears she is vying to become an even bigger part of the sequel.
Austin-born actress Amber Heard has had a rocky last few years, professionally and personally. Her career has been on a downward spiral since her heavily publicized divorce from actor Johnny Depp, and shows no sign of slowing down. Heard went from three films in 2018 and two shows every other year since 2004, to two films and one major television role since, with her appearance in Stephen King’s pandemic-appropriate The Stand constantly marred by the persistent sting of social media outrage.
She was last seen reprising Mera in HBO Max streamer Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Besides her still-tenuous hold on the Xebel princess in Aquaman 2, Amber Heard isn’t scheduled to appear in any other film, likely the result of studios gradually pulling away from her legal problems with Depp. Despite reclaiming public support, Johnny Depp has suffered a similar backlash in recent years, career-wise, with only two movies made since 2019. And his ousters have been high profile with Fantastic Beasts taking an arrow to the knee, losing a capable Grindelwald. Pirates of the Caribbean has decided to go forward without Depp’s familiar Captain Jack Sparrow.
So it is fairly clear that these two have had divergent career paths over the last year. And while Amber Heard is still facing some scrutiny over the situation, she at least still has her current gig intact. And apparently she’s vying for an even bigger role. Time will tell if that comes to fruition. Aquaman 2 currently has a 2022 release date.