James Wan Talks Amber Heard’s Reduced Role in Aquaman 2

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom director James Wan has elaborated on why he cut down Amber Heard‘s role as Mera in the DC sequel.

Wan spoke to Empire Magazine (via The Direct) about the story of the Aquaman sequel, which will see Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) form an unlikely alliance with his half-brother, Orm (Patrick Wilson). During the interview, Wan reiterated that Mera’s reduced role in the film had little to do with Heard’s personal life. Rather, the director had envisioned an Arthur and Orm-centric buddy movie from the beginning. That said, Wan did express sympathy for Heard’s frustrations about several Mera scenes being removed.

“It’s fair that [Heard] said that [about the character being pared down], because she wasn’t in my head as I was working on this movie. Actors don’t necessarily know what we [directors] behind the scenes are thinking about. But this was always my plan,” he explained. “From the start, I pitched that the first film would be a ‘Romancing the Stone’-type thing — an action-adventure romantic comedy — while the second would be an outright buddy comedy. I wanted to do ‘Tango & Cash!'”

How Warner Bros. nearly fired Amber Heard

Per Entertainment Weekly, Heard testified regarding her role in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom during her legal battle with ex-husband Johnny Depp last year. Heard claimed that Warner Bros. “didn’t want to include [her]” in the film as a result of Depp’s alleged smear campaign against her. She further explained that her role as Mera ended up being “very pared-down” in the DC sequel.

A recent report from Variety claims that Heard was indeed almost fired from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, but that chemistry issues with star Momoa were the studio’s concern — not the trial. Additionally, the report claims that Heard’s ex-boyfriend Elon Musk intervened on her behalf by threatening litigation against WB.

“[Musk] had one of his litigators send a ‘scorched-earth letter to Warner Bros. threatening to burn the house down’ if the actress wasn’t brought back for a sequel, says a source familiar with the behind-the-scenes battle,” the Variety article states. “Warner Bros. caved and moved forward with Heard.”

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom opens in theaters on December 20.