For a while there, it felt like hardly a day went by without updates from behind-the-scenes on Aquaman 2. A petition spread online where fans demanded Amber Heard be fired from her role as Mera. Updates from insiders claimed many different ideas were discussed for how to handle the situation moving forward, including adjustments to the script. Many of these rumors claimed that while the actress was not being replaced, she would be getting less screen time in the anticipated DC sequel. Now, insider Daniel Richtman has shared with his Patreon page that the studio feels the air has cleared surrounding the actress and Amber Heard will be getting more screen time in Aquaman 2.
Previously, Richtman has shared that the sequel has a girl power focus, with more female leads joining the cast for Aquaman 2. Other insiders have supported this claim. Grace Randolph tweeted months ago that the other female characters were meant to draw some attention away from Amber Heard and ensure she had fewer lines in the sequel. However, this new rumor from Daniel Richtman directly addresses that, saying that because audiences are no longer so angry with the actress, Warner Bros feels comfortable giving Amber Heard more screen time in Aquaman 2, even if with more female characters in the movie. Meaning, there will likely be a lot more women talking in Aquaman 2 than we would have seen if this situation had never happened.
These reveals make it sound like the Aquaman 2 script is still continually shifting and in development. That’s interesting since the movie is set to begin filming soon. Jason Momoa recently confirmed that he is scheduled to be on set for production in July 2021. With one month to go, Warner Bros is working to get themselves appropriately set up to film the necessary scenes to make the final movie happen. If they’re going to give Amber Heard more screen time, they’re betting on her not having any more scandals between filming and the late 2022 release of the film. They must feel confident that at this point, audiences are really going to move away from demanding Heard be replaced.
Reportedly, the studio and Jason Momoa have stood by Amber Heard throughout the petition and online backlash. This makes sense if script adjustments were made in response as well. Jason Momoa, the star of Aquaman, recently told Drew Barrymore on her talk show that he took part in pitching the script for the sequel. While the director and writer of the first film took over, Momoa had a part in creating the script. He’s particularly proud of this project. While it’s been said that a gag order may have been placed on Momoa and other cast and crew, stopping them from making comments about Amber Heard, it has seemed like he’s supported her throughout this process.
Is the studio right to gamble on Amber Heard at this point? It’s hard to say. When you search her name on social media, you’ll see many tweets where posters want to see the actress removed from Hollywood, following the events between her and actor Johnny Depp. However, there aren’t as many as there used to be. After so many court hearings in her favor, are people starting to move away from caring about Heard? Will some new films rebuild her reputation? It seems likely that backlash would build up again nearing the release of Aquaman 2, but until then, we’ll have to wait and see how audiences react.