Aquaman, the first solo movie of the King of Atlantis, was released in 2018 and has since become the most successful DC film of all time with box office takings of 1.1 billion US dollars. It quickly became clear that a second part was to come. After the actual release date was supposed to be in 2022, fans were again kept waiting. However, in December 2023, the time will finally come for "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" to hit theaters. Yet there are still a few questions about the project here and there. That's why we sat down for you and compiled everything important that is known so far. After all, some of the statements made by the producers are quite insightful!
What Has Happened So Far
In case you don't remember exactly what the first film was about, here's a little recap. If you haven't seen the movie yet and want to avoid spoilers, you should skip ahead to the next part of the video.
Arthur Curry is born as the son of Atlanna, the queen of Atlantis, and Thomas Curry. Half human, half Atlantean, he is eligible to ascend the throne of Atlantis, even though he has no interest in doing so for a long time. Yet, one year after the events surrounding "Justice League", his half-brother Orm decides to unite the six underwater kingdoms and start a war against the humans who have been polluting the world's oceans for decades. Wanting to stop him, Arthur challenges him in a duel for the crown, which he loses and only barely escapes with his life. He only manages to survive with the help of the fighter Mera.
The two set out to find the trident of Atlan, the first king of Atlantis, whose owner is the ruler of all seas. In order to prevent this, Orm sets the pirate David Kane alias Black Manta on them. The latter has a score to settle with Arthur, since he believes Aquaman to be responsible for the death of his father. He fails, however, and so Arthur and Mera find a wormhole in the depths of the ocean of the Trench, which takes them to the hidden sea in the center of the Earth. There they discover not only the trident, but also Arthur's mother, who was presumed dead and was sacrificed to the Trench by the Atlanteans.
Together with the trident and a huge army of sea creatures, they now face Orm and his hosts. This time around, Aquaman wins, but spares the life of his half-brother after he promises to support him upon learning that his mother is still alive. In the end, Atlanna returns to Arthur's father at the surface, while Arthur and Mera ascend to the throne.
There have constantly been fresh news about the cast. Of course, we know of many familiar actors who will again play an important role, but also interesting new ones are being announced over and over again. Among them is someone who was already considered a terror of the seas in other series.
It's a given that Jason Momoa will once again take on the role of Arthur Curry aka Aquaman. He was certainly partly responsible for the success of the first movie, which clearly stood out from the otherwise rather weak DCEU film adaptations. Especially when you see the portrayals of Aquaman in the comics, Momoa makes a successful change. He will also be joined by Amber Heard in the role of Mera. For a long time, there had been some uncertainty about her appearance: The trial with her ex-husband Johnny Depp has lost her some reputation in Hollywood. In the course of the allegations before the trial, Depp lost the role of Jack Sparrow in "Pirates of the Caribbean" and that of Grindelwald in "Fantastic Beasts". Nevertheless, the producers are giving her a second chance and, according to current sources, the role will remain a part of the sequel - in fact, the test screenings with not so few Mera scenes were quite positive. What this means for further sequels, however, is still unclear. Fans all over the world have long been calling for the role to be recast, with "Game of Thrones" star Emilia Clarke, for example.
Further confirmed are Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna and "Star Wars" star Temuera Morrison as Thomas Curry. What kind of importance their roles will have, however, is not yet clear. Arthur's half-brother Orm, known as Ocean Master, is also back. He will of course be played by Patrick Wilson again. Whether he fights at Aquaman's side or forges his own plans is something we will only find out on the big screen. We have also already seen a villain in the mid-credit scene of the first part, namely Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as David Kane, better known as Black Manta.
Likewise returning is Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus, the father of Mera. Atlan, the king of Atlantis, was previously introduced as a character, but has been recast. He sank the city thousands of years ago in an accident and went into exile afterwards. In the previous sequences he was played by Graham McTavish. Now, however, Vincent Regan is taking over the part. We doubt that he will have a big role. We rather suspect further flashbacks like in the first part.
New Bad Guys
As we could already see in the mid-credits scene, there is a new villain, namely Dr. Stephen Shin, played by Randall Park. In the scene, he pulls the half-dead David Kane out of the sea. When Kane wakes up, he is already in Shin's lab. Shin demands to know where Atlantis is and promises Black Manta to help him with his revenge in exchange for the information. This Stephen Shin should not be too unknown to the comic readers among you. In fact, in the comics he is a friend of Arthur and his father. However, it results in a break after the two are unwilling to reveal anything about Atlantis to the scientist. Also to appear is Karshon, the tiger shark, which mutated in an atomic explosion and is actually considered an adversary of Green Lantern. How big the role will be or whether the villain is only being teased is unfortunately not yet known. The shark is played by Indya Moore, who is known from the US series "Pose".
But Arthur Curry won't have to face all the baddies alone. A new hero will also make his debut: We are talking about Stingray, who is a member of the Light Brigade in the comics. The new hero will be played by Jani Zhao, who is still relatively unknown in Hollywood. The Portuguese actress has previously appeared mostly in local productions. All the more reason to look forward to her debut in Hollywood and her new role in the DCEU.
From "Game of Thrones" to the DCEU
However, there is another newcomer we are most excited about, and that is none other than Euron Greyjoy actor Pilou Asbæk. He has already sailed the seas in "Game of Thrones" and is known there as a notorious sailor. He is one of the few actors for whose role not even a name is known. However, we hope to see him back in his old manner, namely as a scoundrel and womanizer. He has already demonstrated that this kind of role suits him well.
An Old Ally Returns
The appearance of another hero is being heavily discussed, and it is none other than Bruce Wayne, alias Batman, who will make an appearance in "Aquaman 2". At least some scenes with the character were shot with both Ben Affleck and Batman legend Michael Keaton. The latter was initially supposed to play him because he will be brought back via the multiverse in "The Flash", which was originally scheduled to be released first. However, the movie was then pushed back to a release date following the "Aquaman" sequel due to the antics of lead actor Ezra Miller. As a result, it was then reported that there had been reshoots with Ben Affleck so as not to confuse audiences. However, according to the latest plans of the DCEU management, "The Flash" will now be released before "Aquaman 2" again... what a mess! Jason Momoa, in turn, held out the prospect that perhaps even both Batmen will be featured in the film. So it remains exciting whether in the end none, just one or both Batman actors will be on screen.
Already shortly after the release of the first movie, a second one was announced by DC. Back in January 2020, the release date was set for December 2022, with James Wan directing and David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick writing the screenplay. Even before filming began, there were wild discussions about the role of Mera: Amber Heard was alleged to have falsified evidence in her trial with Johnny Depp. A petition with 1.6 million signatures was therefore submitted pleading for the role to be recast. In the end, however, the cast remained the same as in the first part.
With the beginning of the pandemic, the start of shooting for "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" was also delayed. Nevertheless, the team managed to complete the film in the given time. But after James Gunn took over at DC, there were many postponements and cutbacks in upcoming projects, to which many big names fell victim, including Henry Cavill in his role as Superman. As a result, "Aquaman 2" also had to be pushed back: first to March and then to December 25, 2023. This also means that we may have to wait a bit longer before we get to see the first trailer for the film.
Not much is known about the storyline yet. Based on the title, however, we can make some assumptions about a possible plot: As the title "and the Lost Kingdom" implies, a lost kingdom should be the subject of the story. It could be possible that this very kingdom is not Atlantis, but another kingdom. Perhaps Dr. Stephen Shin stumbled upon it during his research about the underwater city and discovered former enemies of Atlantis. Together with Kane he could now go in search of this civilization in order to bring them back into a war with Atlantis. Pilou Asbæk, who could potentially lead the alien kingdom, might also play a major role.
According to James Wan, "Aquaman 2" will definitely be spookier than part 1. The "Lost Kingdom" could possibly be found in the depths of the Trench Kingdom. After all, that's where the portal to Atlan's trident was located. It is also conceivable that Arthur will not be able to fight against this force on his own and will seek help from his seemingly reformed brother. Should Black Manta be serious about his revenge, it might also be a possibility that he hunts down Aquaman's father. In this way, he would pay Arthur back in kind, since he believes that Arthur is responsible for his father's death. It's clear that the new threat doesn't just affect Atlantis, but that Aquaman will have to worry about the fate of many nations.
What all this will really look like is something we will all find out on December 25, 2023. The excitement is definitely there already!