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August 08, 2018 at 11:21 AM EDT

Aquaman is going to have to face King Orm and Black Manta without any help from his Justice League super friends.

Director James Wan confirmed to EW that Arthur Curry’s first standalone movie will be a true standalone feature, focusing only on Aquaman (Jason Momoa) rather than sprinkling in other DC characters along the way.

Wan explains: “I wanted to keep the story to the world of Aquaman and not have to worry about what other characters are doing in their films and how that would affect us. I just thought the simplest way was to keep it clean — keep it simple and let it be an Aquaman story.”

Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Comics

Now we’d hedge this a bit by adding that DC adding some kind of post-credits scene outside the main narrative that nods to other characters wouldn’t surprise. But when the Furious 7 director was initially in talks for the superhero gig, he made it clear to DC and Warner Bros. that he wanted a certain degree of independence to make his own unique film, one that he’s described as more of a fantasy than a superhero movie per se.

“I told them I understand and respect that it’s part of a bigger universe but at the end of the day I have to tell the story I want to tell, and I want to develop the character as well,” Wan previously told EW. “It was something the studio was respectful about … .in my movie he starts off one way and becomes very different by the end. It’s a classic hero’s journey. I equate our story to The Sword and the Stone, it’s a very Arthurian story about a journey to becoming king.”

The official copy of the Aquaman trailer is now up to 36 million views:

For more DC movies scoop, follow @jameshibberd. Aquaman opens Dec. 21.

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