The team at Warners Bros. and DC are really confident that their next big release, Aquaman, is going to swim not sink.
EW exclusively spoke to the film’s producers and the studio’s executive brass about the next title in the DC Extended Universe coming Dec. 21. The film starring former Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa as the half-Atlantean, half-human superhero has been shrouded in secrecy and has only publicly released a couple photos so far, but there are hints that a trailer could be coming soon. The movie represents the first superhero film by director James Wan, best known for his work on The Conjuring and Insidious films, yet also tackled Furious 7 — the top-grossing film of the Fast & Furious franchise.
“James has done an incredible job with his team,” says Warner Bros. film chief Toby Emmerich. “The film is taking you to a different place and imagining the underwater world in a way you haven’t seen before.”
One of the film’s producers, Peter Safran, tells us the film has, “got the great action you expect, it’s got a lot of great humor, it works on so many levels … it’s a testament to James’ unique vision. I think it’s an extraordinary step in DC Universe that sets it on the right path.”
The storyline is largely being kept under wraps, but it’s expected to introduce Arthur Curry as a surface-dwelling outcast who battles his half-brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson) over the fate of Atlantis. Expect to see sights such as the seven undersea kingdoms, giant octopi and Atlanteans riding great white sharks into battle.
DC Entertainment president Geoff Johns (who recently announced he was exiting the company for a writing and producing deal) knows plenty about Aquaman, having penned some of the comics in addition to co-writing the story for the standalone film.
“The underwater stuff has never been executed like this before,” Johns tells us. “The visual effects shots coming in are just beautiful. James can switch modes from horror to big bright colorful action to really emotional scenes. He’s so able to hit all these different genres.”
That description, “big bright colorful,” is telling. We’re hearing Aquaman is visually more punchy and with more humor than some of the previous DC films directed by Zack Synder that were known for a more grim aesthetic. The last, Justice League, ended up disappointing at the box office despite grossing a pretty sizeable $658 million. DC also has 2019’s Wonder Woman sequel, a stand-alone Joker movie with Jared Leto reprising his Suicide Squad role, another presumed Justice League film, and a The Flash stand-alone in the works.