Long before he took on the responsibility of bringing Aquaman to life, director James Wan was crafting horror hits like 2004’s Saw and 2013’s The Conjuring. According to a new interview, Wan is going back to his horror roots for inspiration for the upcoming Aquaman 2, and judging by the movie in question the sequel to 2018’s Aquaman could be a lot different from the original.
Speaking in the new issue of Total Film (via Games Radar), Aquaman 2 will be “very heavily inspired” by the campy, Italian sci-fi horror film Planet of the Vampires. Originally titled Terrore Nello Spazio and directed by Mario Bava who was often referred to as the “Master of Italian Horror,” Planet of the Vampires follows the terrifying experiences of the crews of two spaceships that crash land on a strange planet. While some of the crew survive the crash, they soon find themselves under threat from their dead colleagues whose corpses are possessed by the disembodied aliens native to the place. In a feature for Pop Matters, Planet of the Vampires was one of a number of films named as inspirations for both 1979’s Alien and the 2012 prequel Prometheus.
So what does this mean for Aquaman 2? Well, according to what Wan told Total Film, we can expect the second film — whose full title Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was revealed in June — to be at least a bit darker than the first. Wan said he thought audiences were surprised he didn’t make a “dark, heavy” film in 2018, adding that he thinks it would be easier for audiences to accept a darker story because the foundation was created for it in the first.
While we don’t yet have a plot synopsis for Aquaman 2, judging both by this new interview and the title, we can make some educated guesses. As recalled by Entertainment Weekly, in Aquaman we learn that when Atlantis first sank into the ocean, it broke up into seven kingdoms but we only learn the names of six of them. Orm (Patrick Wilson) mentions that the seventh kingdom simply vanished. It seems likely it’s this seventh, unnamed kingdom being referred to in the sequel’s title. There is speculation this could prove to be the fictional underwater city of Necrus, also known as the Black City, which first appeared in 1966’s Aquaman #30.
Whatever setting this “Lost Kingdom” proves to be in Aquaman 2, with Wan’s statement about the inspiration of Planet of the Vampires, it seems likely the film will feature either a journey to the place or Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry and his allies finding themselves there on accident. Further, if the film proves even closer to the ’60s Italian film and the Ridley Scott movies it inspired, the good guy body count could be fairly high.
Filming for Aquaman 2 began in July (via Screen Rant). While not a lot of details have been released yet, along with Jason Momoa, Amber Heard will be returning as Mera, Dolph Lundgren is back as King Nereus, and per The Express Temuera Morrison confirms he will be back as Arthur’s father Tom Curry. In April, Deadline reported Pilou Asbæk would be joining the cast in an undisclosed role.