Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has revealed that not only does he feel that his character, Black Manta, has a larger role in Aquaman 2, he feels his role is more interesting this time around. This is promising. The actor was praised by critics in the first film for his performance as the villain. While talking to The Hollywood Reporter, they pointed out that often actors want to steer away from playing the villain. They don’t want to appear unsympathetic and set a bad tone with an audience for the future of their careers. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II doesn’t feel this way at all. He shared that, “The bad guy is always more interesting to explore.”
For his role in Aquaman 2, the Black Manta actor says, “In Aquaman, we just got a small introduction to Black Manta and to some of his motivations. In this one, I get to exercise and breathe a little bit more. I’m showing some different colors with this one.” This makes sense for a number of reasons. In the first film, Black Manta needed to be introduced as someone who was a straight-up villain, which gives our main character Arthur Curry someone to go up against. While a lot of sequel films are known to suffer a slump, they can also be an opportunity to dive deeper and tell a more complex story. This is especially true for a character like Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s, who needed to be clearly made into the bad guy for the first film.
This second time around, Aquaman 2 will be called Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II won’t be playing the only villain this time around. As the story grows more complex, so will his character. However, he said that it’s not just about his own role being more interesting. “I think the script is better than it was in the first one,” he said. “It gives the actors a lot of good storytelling moments.”
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is not the only person involved in the DC sequel to say that this second story is better. Jason Momoa, the lead actor on Aquaman 2, has said that he worked on the first treatment for the film’s story with his writing partner. It sounds like the team at large is invested in making a sequel that holds up. That’s going to be extra important for this film. The first title did shockingly well. It earned $1.148 billion at the box office in 2018. However, that was pre-pandemic. With delays for filming, and a slow start to begin with, Aquaman 2 doesn’t release in theaters until December 16, 2022. That is a very long four year wait from the first movie to the second.
On one hand, that delay gives the movie theater industry some time to recover. Perhaps concerns over the pandemic will have lessened and the movie theater industry will normalize by late 2022. And perhaps excitement for the DC sequel will be enough. There are definitely some big “ifs” there at a time when everything seems questionable in the big-budget film production business. Right now, Aquaman 2 is filming. Fortunately, it sounds like they’re doing their best to make the most amazing film they can. Hopefully, that will pull off something worth the long wait for audiences.