Aquaman 2 Director Explains It’s A Stand-Alone Movie

Aquaman 2 will be a standalone film unrelated to the 2018 movie.

By Kevin C. Neece | Updated

jason momoa

Aquaman 2 may seem like the last hurrah for the DCEU, but its director claims that it and its predecessor were both conceived as standing on their own. The connected cinematic universe audiences are familiar with from Marvel Studios offerings is something the DCEU had long tried and failed to compellingly emulate. With its most successful films being standalone offerings like The Joker and The Batman (and Wonder Woman, which managed to distinguish itself despite its connections to other films), its interconnected fare has tended to, well, fail to connect.

As Aquaman and Aquaman 2 director James Wan told, though, the Atlanean’s original cinematic adventure was always been thought of as living in its “own world,” never mind the character’s appearance in Justice League.

He says Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom is built on the same philosophy, and that fans of both the character and of Jason Momoa’s portrayal will have plenty of reasons to buy tickets. He also mentions that the film will be attractive to people who love Black Manta, who is featured in the movie as well.

In development for years, Aquaman 2 sees the hero facing off against the release of an ancient power that threatens Atlantis and the entire world with destruction. Joining Momoa will be returning costars Amber Heard as Mera, Patrick Wilson as Orm, Randall Park as Stephen Shin, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta. New to the cast will be Jani Zhao as Stingray.

Aquaman 2 will also feature Indya Moore as Karshon and Pilou Asbaek (Game of Thrones), whose role has yet to be revealed. The character of Atlan will be returning from the first film, though Graham McTavish, the Scottish actor who originated the role, will not. The character will now be portrayed by Vincent Regan, the British actor recently seen in the Idris Elba vehicle Luther: Fallen Sun, War of the Worlds: The Attack, and the series Before We Die.

Aquaman 2 is, in a sense, straddling two cinematic worlds while also trying to escape association with either. With what has so far been the box office failure of The Flash, James Gunn‘s new DC Studios and DCU are off to a painful and (ironically) slow start. On the other hand, the existence of the DCU is a referendum on Zach Snyder’s long-derided DCEU films.

Both of these facts make it fairly clear why James Wan and company would want to publicly distance themselves and Aquaman 2 from both ships—one sunk and one presently bailing water right out of the dock. Perhaps by diving into the water, they can beat the odds and chart their own course, but it’s clear they do not want their film to be seen as the DCEU’s last gasp.

Whatever view audiences take and however Wan tries to control the narrative, if Aquaman 2 can’t distinguish itself from the films with which it was previously associated and the new ones in which audiences seem to so far have little interest or confidence, it might find itself dead in the water.