Aquaman 2 is going to be a massive project for Warner Bros. and the DC cinematic universe. The first film became a smashing success – primarily thanks to worldwide audiences – and the sequel is set to be another gargantuan undertaking with a lot of money on the line for the studio. So it has to be extremely disconcerting for the powers-that-be at Warner Bros. to find out that there is a significant backlash growing against their blockbuster superhero film.
A large contingent of fans is calling for a boycott against Aquaman 2 if Warner Bros. decides to keep Amber Heard cast in the movie as Mera, the main female protagonist from the original film. A Change.org petition asking for the actress to be removed from the production has garnered nearly 750,000 signatures and looks to keep growing. Social media is also being flooded with the hashtag #BoycottAquaman2.
All this fervor around Aquaman 2 is in relation to the recent developments involving the legal battle between Amber Heard and her ex-husband, Johnny Depp. After losing a defamation lawsuit, Depp announced that he was being made to resign from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in another Warner Bros. tentpole film, Fantastic Beasts 3. This loss is what has prompted Depp’s fans to hound Warner Bros. into trying to make Amber Heard resign from her role as Mera.
The entire saga regarding Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has been a sad and awful revelation. Both Depp and Heard have revealed disturbing allegations of abusive and manipulative behavior, and it does not look like the animosity between the two will ever fade. Now, with Depp becoming something of a pariah in Hollywood, it looks like those who have decided to side with him are attempting to attack Heard by dealing her the same outcast status. The first big step in that strategy is trying to get her fired from Aquaman 2, her most prominent and likely most expensive film role.
Supposedly, Warner Bros. has been planning for such a backlash and there have been reports that Mera won’t be as focal a female character in Aquaman 2. Whether or not this is true can’t be confirmed, but it doesn’t sound like Depp’s fans would take that as a satisfactory response. Now that Depp has been fired from Fantastic Beasts 3, it looks like Heard’s termination from the DC superhero film is the only option they are willing to entertain. If not, it sounds like there is an attempt to genuinely poison the movie’s potential box office through a boycott.
With the first movie being such a major moneymaker, it could be possible that Warner Bros. will do whatever they think is best to protect the expected returns for Aquaman 2. If they feel Amber Heard’s presence will bring nothing but bad press, they might end up asking her to resign as well. Or, they may support her and make that a part of their PR narrative during the film’s production and press tour. It all depends on what they think will offer them the least amount of risk.
It is going to be very interesting to see what happens with Amber Heard’s role in Aquaman 2. Will she stick around as originally planned, be removed entirely, or simply have her presence reduced in the script? And is this proposed boycott from Depp’s supporters substantial enough to make a dent in the movie’s earnings? we will simply have to wait and see.