Against all odds, and somewhat prophesied by the TV show Entourage, Aquamanstarring Jason Momoa was a smash hit. Not only was it the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2018, it received mostly positive reviews, making it a much needed win for the flailing DC Extended Universe series.
Thanks to the success of the underwater hero’s standalone movie, Warner Bros. now has answered the call to make more films in the world of Atlantis, and we could not be more excited. Read on to see how Aquaman is not just getting a sequel, but a whole cinematic universe.
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When is Aquaman 2 coming out?
Aquaman 2 is set to be released on December 16, 2022 -- so, basically, around the time we'll all start wondering whatever happened to the Aquaman sequel.
That release date is so far away! Anything Aquaman happening a little bit sooner?
You’re in luck -- well, maybe. Right around the time Aquaman 2 was greenlit, Warner Bros. announced they would also be making a spinoff of Aquaman centered on those creepy creatures ol' Arthur Curry met/escaped from in the Trench, to be written by duo Noah Gardner and Aidan Fitzgerald. Aquaman producer Peter Safran told The Hollywood Reporter that The Trench will be released before Aquaman 2 and take place after the events of the first Aquaman film. Unfortunately, Safran also noted that the Atlantean royal couple Arthur and Mera will not be making an appearance in it.
Is anyone involved with the first film coming back?
Right now only David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, the writer of the first Aquaman, is coming back to work on the sequel. Aquaman director James Wan has said that he is open to directing the sequel pending how the script turns out, but is also signed on to produce The Trench with Peter Safran.
Jason Momoa and Amber Heard will likely be back as Arthur and Mera, and it was heavily hinted in the first film that villain Black Manta, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, will also be coming back. Otherwise, plot details and casting rumors are pretty sparse for both Aquaman 2 (and The Trench), probably because it's happening a million years from now, seemingly.
What do we know about the plot of Aquaman 2?
Wan dropped a boatload (ha) of teases for the sequel in Aquaman's mid-credits scene, which heavily implied that Black Manta would take a central role in the sequel. The sequence depicts Black Manta -- a.k.a. David Kane -- recovering after being rescued by fishermen. The shack he wakes up in presumably belongs to Dr. Stephen Shin, an obsessive Atlantean conspiracy theorist played gleefully by Randall Park (Always Be My Maybe). Shin and Black Manta strike a tentative deal -- Black Manta will lead Shin to the source of his suit (i.e. Atlantis), so long as Shin leads him to Aquaman first.
Aquaman director James Wan told Thrillist that Black Manta is "definitely not the main villain" of the first film, and that he was initially reluctant to give the character as large of a role as he did. While David Kane took a backseat to primary antagonist Orm, it looks likely that he'll step into the spotlight in Aquaman 2. And if Aquaman director James Wan, who still has yet to confirm his involvement in the sequel, gets his way, Park will also return as Dr. Stephen Shin for Aquaman 2.
Past that, there's not much that we know about what could go down in Aquaman 2, although we're sure it'll carry the same bonkers "My man!" energy as its predecessor.
Will Aquaman be involved in anymore DCEU team-ups though?
After Justice League tanked at the box office, many of the filmmakers involved with the DC Extended Universe aren’t too keen on the idea of another Avengers-style team-up movie. Safran told The Hollywood Reporter, "I think that when you’re making really strong stand-alone movies, there’s really no need to bring them together." He elaborated by saying, "Wonder Woman has shown what a great stand-alone property that is, and in Aquaman, we feel the same way. We think that there’s a great sequel and beyond to tell. We introduce seven kingdoms of Atlantis, right? James Wan knows the architecture, the armory, the military, the look, the feel, the general vibe of each of these kingdoms, and I’m sure that there will be an opportunity to explore them in some way later on."