Aquaman trailer revealed! The first video for James Wan’s sci-fi adventure was just unveiled, above, at Comic-Con in San Diego on Saturday.
Starring Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones), Aquaman tells the story of half-human, half-Atlantian exile Arthur Curry as he’s summoned back to an exotic undersea kingdom on the brink of declaring war on the surface world for polluting the oceans.
The trailer introduces Curry’s mother Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) and lighthouse keeper father (Temuera Morrison), shows Aquaman in action foiling pirates hijacking a Russian submarine, a glimpse of Aquaman facing off against his power-mad half-brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson) and Aquaman and Mera (Amber Heard) on a quest across the surface world for the Trident of Neptune for the power to rule the underwater world.
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“I want our film to be a little different, a bit more unique, so to speak,” director James Wan (Furious 7) told the crowd at Comic-Con. “So my movie in some ways plays more like a science fiction fantasy film than a traditional superhero movie.”
Wan previously told EW, “I think a big part of that [appeal] is the world he lives in, the underwater world, and especially for kids of the Golden Age of comic books, the whole idea of his underwater world and Atlantis is really exciting and plays to a fantasy fulfillment.”
Aquaman also represents a milestone for a comics character that’s had a long and tricky road to the big screen. For decades, Aquaman was a character mocked in pop culture and considered notoriously tricky to pull off on the big screen. But Justice League director Zack Synder reconcieved the character by casting former Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa who brought a tough yet charismatic gravitas to the role.
“It was such a brilliant casting move,” Wan says. “If here’s a superhero that most people like to make fun of, the very sheer fact you have Jason Momoa, the jokiness goes right out the window.”
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Wan also introduced a special Comic-Con exclusive trailer on Saturday, which won’t be released online. The footage opens on the lighthouse where young Arthur Curry grew up and tells the love story of his mother (Kidman) and his father. “My parents were from different worlds,” Arthur says. “And I was a product of a love that never should have been. A son of the land and a son of the sea.” (At one point, there’s a brief shot of Kidman kicking ass and fighting off home invaders with an enormous trident.)
The clip then cuts to the Sahara Desert, where Mera and Arthur are trekking to long-abandoned ruins. There, they find a mysterious mechanism, which Mera activates by drawing water from Arthur’s forehead. (“We could’ve just peed on it,” Arthur quips.) A hologram of a long-dead Atlantean king appears, where he speaks to the power of the trident of Atlantis.
“If you seek my power, journey on the edge of the world to the hidden sea,” he says. “In the wrong hands, it would bring destruction. But in the hands of the true heir, it would unite all our kingdoms above and below.”
The footage also teased an explosive first meeting between Aquaman, Mera, and Black Manta, culminating in a violent chase scene through a seaside town, as Mera and Aquaman try to outrun their pursuers. The clip then ended with a final shot of Momoa in Aquaman’s classic orange armor.
Aquaman represents a major step in Warner Bros.’ cinematic evolution of their DC Comics titles. With the exception of last year’s hit Wonder Woman, the company had faced a series of critical struggles with titles such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice Leauge. With Aquaman, the company hopes to recapture a broad audience with a standalone adventure with a lighter tone than some of its previous efforts.
“You think of how much superhero content there is in theaters and television and [streaming], it’s hard to go to someplace you haven’t been before,” Warner Bros. film chairman Toby Emmerich told EW in June. “Aquaman and the underwater world of it all is fresh and different …It’s important that it works. I think everybody really worked very hard to make a really good movie.”
Earlier Saturday, the company also released its first trailer for Shazam! starring Zachary Levi.
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Aquaman is released Dec. 21.
—Additional reporting by Devan Coggan