Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Table of Contents

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is an eagerly anticipated American superhero film centered around the iconic DC character Aquaman. The movie is a collaborative effort by DC Studios, Atomic Monster, and The Safran Company, with Warner Bros. Pictures set to handle its distribution. Serving as the sequel to the 2018 hit “Aquaman,” this installment marks the 15th and final chapter in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The visionary James Wan takes the director’s chair once again, working from a screenplay penned by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick. The film’s inception stems from a compelling narrative conceived by Wan, Johnson-McGoldrick, Thomas Pa’a Sibbett, and the charismatic Jason Momoa, who reprises his role as Arthur Curry, better known as Aquaman. The star-studded cast also features Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Nicole Kidman.

The idea for an Aquaman sequel was initially pitched by Momoa during the production of the first film. While James Wan was cautious not to rush the project, he eventually agreed to oversee its development in January 2019. Shortly after, Johnson-McGoldrick signed on to return as the screenwriter. In August 2020, Wan’s return as the director was officially confirmed. He expressed his intent to delve deeper into the world of Aquaman, promising an expansion of the character’s universe. The film’s title was unveiled in June 2021, and production commenced later that month, concluding in January 2022. Filming locations spanned across the United Kingdom, Hawaii, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and included additional scenes shot in New Zealand.

Mark your calendars, as “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is slated for a highly anticipated release in the United States on December 20, 2023.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Directed 

Screenplay

Based

Cinematography

Edited 

Music 

Distributed

Country

Language

Budget

Release Date

 James Wan

David Leslie Johnson

Characters from DC

 Don Burgess

 Kirk Morri

Rupert Gregson-Williams

Warner Bros. Pictures

 United States

English

$205 million

December 20, 2023

Story 


  • James Wan
  • David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick
  • Jason Momoa
  • Thomas Pa’a Sibbett

Produced


  • Peter Safran
  • James Wan
  • Rob Cowan

Production Companies


  • DC Studios
  • Atomic Monster
  • The Safran Company

Story

Years have passed since the occurrences of the initial film, and Arthur Curry, also known as Aquaman, finds himself compelled to safeguard both Atlantis and his cherished kin from impending catastrophe. This looming calamity is set in motion when David Kane, also known as Black Manta, acquires the accursed Black Trident, unleashing an ancient, destructive power. To counter this dire threat, Arthur must embark on an improbable alliance, seeking the assistance of his own brother, Orm.

Objectives

Returning to reprise their roles from “Aquaman” (2018) are:

  • Dolph Lundgren, portrays Nereus, the king of Xebel and Mera’s father.
  • Randall Park, embodies Dr. Stephen Shin, a marine biologist with an unrelenting obsession for uncovering the mysteries of Atlantis.
  • Temuera Morrison takes on the character of Tom Curry, Arthur’s father and dedicated lighthouse keeper.

Additionally, the film features a talented cast, including:

  • Vincent Regan as Atlan, the inaugural king of Atlantis.
  •  Jani Zhao as Stingray.
  • Indya Moore as Karshon.
  • Ricardo Molina as Reporter #4.
  • Grant Huggair is a Surface dweller.
  • Tianyi Kiy is a member of the US Navy.
  • Judy Blackett in the role of a Dignitary.
  • And lastly, Pilou Asbæk, who remains shrouded in secrecy regarding his character.

Development

During the production of “Aquaman” in 2018, Jason Momoa, the film’s star, crafted a compelling story pitch for a potential sequel. He personally presented this pitch to Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich and producer Peter Safran. Even before the release of the first film in October 2018, Momoa expressed his keen interest in being more actively involved in the development of a sequel. He anticipated that filming for the sequel would commence in 2019.

Director James Wan highlighted the rich narrative possibilities within the Aquaman universe. The first film introduced seven underwater kingdoms that held untapped potential for exploration. Momoa’s commitment to the project was reflected in his $15 million compensation.

By early December, as box office projections for “Aquaman” began to inspire confidence, Emmerich initiated discussions about a sequel. By the end of January, with “Aquaman” on the cusp of becoming the highest-grossing film centered around a single DC Comics character, Warner Bros. was in discussions with James Wan about overseeing the development and writing of the sequel, potentially returning as director. Wan, known for being protective of sequels to his previous films, such as “Insidious” and “The Conjuring,” was deeply immersed in the worldbuilding of Aquaman. He had previously likened the Aquaman universe to iconic fictional worlds like Middle-earth, the Star Wars galaxy, and the Wizarding World.

However, it’s worth noting that Amber Heard, who portrayed Mera, later revealed during a defamation trial brought against her by Johnny Depp over a column in The Washington Post that there were challenges regarding her involvement in the sequel. She asserted that there was resistance to include her in the film, and she had to fight to maintain her role. This included revisions to the script that diminished her character’s involvement, including the removal of action sequences. Furthermore, she was unable to renegotiate her contract, which stipulated a salary of $2 million for the sequel, double her earnings for the first film. At that point, in May 2022, a petition to remove Heard from the film had garnered over 4 million signatures.

During the same trial, DC Films president Walter Hamada testified that the studio did consider recasting the role of Mera, but this decision was primarily motivated by concerns over chemistry between Heard and Momoa, rather than the abuse allegations. Hamada emphasized the studio’s policy of upholding contractual agreements without renegotiation. He clarified that the size of Heard’s role remained consistent throughout the sequel’s development. He also explained that the film’s focus was always intended to be a “buddy comedy” centered on the relationship between Aquaman and Orm.

In a significant development, the jury in the defamation trial ruled that Amber Heard’s column in The Washington Post had damaged Johnny Depp’s career, and she was ordered to pay him compensation. The trial generated substantial social media attention, with a notable preference for Depp over Heard, resulting in numerous memes and TikToks that satirized her testimony.

Subsequently, in June 2022, there were reports suggesting that Heard had been fired from the film following the trial. However, these reports were debunked, and her status regarding the project remained unchanged.

Filming

Principal photography for the film commenced on June 28, 2021, at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, London, operating under the working title “Necrus.” The talented Don Burgess, who previously worked as the cinematographer on the first film, returned to his role for the sequel.

In August, director James Wan revealed that the sequel drew strong inspiration from the 1965 film “Planet of the Vampires.” Notably, filming also took place in early September at Saunton Sands beach in Devon.

As the production progressed, several cast members and their roles were confirmed. Pilou Asbæk joined the cast, while Randall Park returned to reprise his character as Dr. Stephen Shin from the first film. Vincent Regan was cast in the role of the ancient king Atlan, taking over the character from Graham McTavish, who had briefly portrayed him in the initial installment. Jani Zhao was chosen to portray Stingray, an original character created for the sequel and marking her first English-language feature role. Indya Moore was revealed to be taking on the character Karshon in the film.

The production journey continued with approximately 95 percent of the film being shot in various locations across the United Kingdom. Subsequently, production relocated to Hawaii and continued until December 9 for on-location shooting. Filming also occurred in Jersey City, New Jersey, during the same year. Nicole Kidman’s return as Atlanna, Aquaman’s mother, was officially confirmed as part of the production. Following the Hawaiian shoot, production shifted to Los Angeles and ultimately wrapped up on January 12, 2022, in Malibu.

Film's / Movies Series

Music / Songs

In August 2021, Rupert Gregson-Williams announced his return to compose the score for the sequel, reprising his role from the first film.

Release

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is set to hit theaters in the United States on December 20, 2023. Originally, it was scheduled for release on December 16, 2022. However, due to the challenges posed by the pandemic on the workload of visual effects vendors, Warner Bros. made the decision to postpone the release to March 17, 2023. Subsequently, the release date was adjusted again, this time to December 25, 2023, as Warner Bros. Discovery sought to manage marketing and distribution costs. Finally, the film was moved up to its current release date of December 20, 2023.

Future

In December 2022, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Warner Bros. was contemplating the conclusion of the Aquaman film series and the potential recasting of Jason Momoa, considering him for the role of Lobo in future projects after “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.”

In January 2023, Jason Momoa expressed his enduring connection to the role of Aquaman, stating that he would always be associated with the character. However, he also acknowledged his interest in exploring other roles within the DC Universe.

During the same month, DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran discussed the possibility of Momoa reprising his Aquaman role in the DC Extended Universe (DCU), although a definitive decision regarding the character had not been reached. It was clarified that if Momoa were cast as Lobo, he would not simultaneously portray Aquaman in the DCU. Gunn also confirmed that “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” and “The Flash” would pave the way for the DCU’s inaugural film, “Superman: Legacy” (2025). Director James Wan expressed his interest in potentially directing a sequel to “Aquaman” after taking a substantial break.

However, by September 2023, James Gunn clarified that anything released before “Creature Commandos” (2024) would not be considered canon within the DCU, leading to questions about the future prospects of the Aquaman series and its continuation within the DCU.

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