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What the hell is going on with 'Aquaman 2?'

Jason Momoa as Aquaman in "Aquaman 2," and Amber Heard as Mera.
Jason Momoa as Aquaman in "Aquaman 2," and Amber Heard as Mera.
  • Speculation is swirling among DC fans that Warner Bros. is not optimistic about "Aquaman 2."
  • The sequel has had a troubled production, with several reshoots and its release date delayed.
  • A trailer is finally set to premiere this week, just a few months before release.

Think back to 2018 when director James Wan's "Aquaman" first arrived in theaters.

The superhero movie raked in $1.148 billion dollars at the box office, making it the most profitable DC movie ever made.

That was pretty surprising considering the aquatic hero has been the butt of many jokes in pop culture over the years. After all, talking to fish doesn't exactly hold up to the Batmobile, or Superman's heat vision.

With a starry cast led by Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, and Nicole Kidman, in February 2019, Warner Bros. confirmed that it was working on a sequel.

But now, nearly five years after "Aquaman," excitement surrounding "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" has sunk nearly as low as Atlantis itself. 

With just over three months to go until it is released, fans have seen next to no footage from Wan's sequel, and there's plenty of speculation online as to why.  

So, what the hell is going on with "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom?"

Fans think Warner Bros. has given up on 'Aquaman 2'

Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry in "Aquaman."
Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry in "Aquaman."

There's been growing discussion about the lack of a trailer, or other promotional materials, for "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, over the last week.


On Sunday, a DC fan account pointed out that there are approximately 100 days to go until the sequel swims into theaters.

This only further increased discussion about the status of the movie, as fans wondered if Warner Bros. has lost faith in its aquatic hero.


A representative for Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In comparison to the "Aquaman" marketing, Warner Bros. has been pushing "Dune: Part Two" trailers for months, as well as giving Empire magazine a first look at the movie, including new images, and details about the franchise's future.

Warner Bros. seemingly reacted to the online discourse late Sunday evening by announcing a trailer is coming this week. Not suspicious at all.


Did a WB executive hit the panic button?

Why Warner Bros. might be concerned about the 'Aquaman' sequel

Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry and Amber Heard as Mera in "Aquaman."
Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry and Amber Heard as Mera in "Aquaman."

Considering the huge profit the first film made for Warner Bros., it's not clear why the studio isn't throwing its full weight behind "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom," but recent history offers some clues.

For starters, fans know that a new era of DC movies is coming, courtesy of new DC Studios co-chairmen and CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran. The pair revealed their roadmap for DC back in January, announcing a horde of new projects that aren't connected to the DC Extended Universe that "Aquaman" was part of. The new movie slate includes "Superman: Legacy" and "Batman: The Brave and the Bold."

So why should audiences care about "Aquaman 2" if the DCEU is no longer going to be relevant?

Since Gunn and Safran announced their plans for DC, Warner Bros.' holdover DCEU movies, "The Flash" and "Blue Beetle," have seemingly been rejected by movie-goers. The Ezra Miller-starring "Flash" grossed $268 million worldwide, while "Blue Beetle" has made $114 million so far. 

There's also the potential for a renewed public relations headache following the heated defamation trial last year between star Amber Heard and her ex-husband Johnny Depp.

Depp supporters tried to have Heard removed from the "Aquaman" sequel, with an online petition attracting over 4 million signatures. Warner Bros. stood by the star, and Heard is still in the movie.

But further backlash from Depp supporters could still threaten to derail social media promotion of "Aquaman 2." A quick glance on X shows that the hashtag #AmberHeardIsALiar is still active over a year after Heard and Depp went to court. Probably not the best marketing for the movie.

How do you solve a problem like Batman?

Ben Affleck as Batman in "Justice League," and Michael Keaton as Batman in "The Flash."
Ben Affleck as Batman in "Justice League," and Michael Keaton as Batman in "The Flash."

Things get messier still when you take into account numerous reshoots and release date changes that have plagued "Aquaman" and other DC movies.

In a confusing turn of events, Michael Keaton reportedly filmed a cameo as Batman in the sequel back when "Aquaman 2" was set for release in December 2022, and "The Flash," in which Keaton first makes his DC return, was slated for November 2022.

But by March 2022, "Aquaman 2" had its release date moved to March 2023, before "The Flash," now scheduled for June 2023, which meant Keaton's cameo no longer made chronological sense.

Warner Bros. persuaded another Batman, Ben Affleck, to come back in July 2022. Affleck was hired to reshoot Keaton's scene, per The Hollywood Reporter.

But then, in August 2022, "Aquaman 2" was pushed again to its current release date in December 2023 — months after "The Flash" was released in June.

As things stand, per The Hollywood Reporter, neither Affleck nor Keaton are expected to appear in the movie, seemingly because of the impending DC reboot planned by Gunn and Safran.

"It was pretty chaotic," The Hollywood Reporter quoted one source as saying. That's an understatement.

"Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" is set to hit theaters on December 20 — at least, we hope.

Read the original article on Insider
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