By James Hibberd
November 12, 2020 at 04:13 PM EST
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Credit: Jasin Boland/Warner Bros.

There has been a lot of speculation about Amber Heard's role in Aquaman 2 in recent months.

Unconfirmed reports keep appearing online and across social media insisting the actress isn't likely to return as the warrior Mera in Warner Bros.' sequel to James Wan's 2018 superhero hit, and some have suggested that she had been replaced.

But Heard says such claims are all wet.

"I'm super excited about the amount of fan love and the amount of fan appreciation that Aquaman has acquired and that it has garnered so much excitement for Aquaman and Mera that it means we'll be coming back," Heard tells EW. "I'm so excited to film that."

Heard added that the production hopes to get underway sometime in 2021.

That said, Aquaman 2 is not yet officially greenlit by the studio, its cast is not confirmed and it does not have an announced start date (and with the pandemic, production dates are more uncertain than ever).

It's probably not a coincidence that reports speculating about Heard increased as Johnny Depp's libel trial against a U.K. newspaper heated up. Depp sued The Sun newspaper over its claim the actor was abusive toward Heard during their whirlwind 2015 marriage. In January, an audio recording was introduced at the trail where Heard admitted "hitting" Depp. But earlier this month, a judge dismissed Depp's claim, ruling that the newspaper's allegation against Depp was “substantially true." Depp has maintained his innocence and said he plans to appeal the decision.

"Paid rumors and paid campaigns on social media don't dictate [casting decisions] because they have no basis in reality," Heard added. "Only the fans actually made Aquaman and Aquaman 2 happen. I'm excited to get started next year."

Heard previously wrote that she has lost work due to speaking out against sexual violence. "Friends and advisers told me I would never again work as an actress — that I would be blacklisted," Heard wrote in a 2018 0p-ed for the Washington Post. "A movie I was attached to recast my role. I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me.”

In the wake of The Sun verdict last week, Warner Bros. asked Depp to step down from the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Hannibal actor Mads Mikkelsen is currently in talks to take over the role of dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Depp will reportedly still get paid for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts 3 despite having only filmed one scene.

Heard will next be seen in the new adaptation of the classic Stephen King novel The Stand, where she plays Nadine Cross, a pandemic survivor with a dark destiny. The Stand debuts as a limited series on CBS All Access on Dec. 17, 2020. Check out the trailer below:

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