Why is Aquaman 2 a stand-alone sequel?
Speaking to ComicBook.com, Wan tried to encourage DCEU fans to support the latest Aquaman installment in the wake of the shakeup at DC Studios. Rather than directly connecting it to past DCEU projects, Wan wanted to maintain the same story direction as the original 2018 blockbuster. “Well, ‘Aquaman’ – even the first film – has always been a very standalone film. That was always our approach: that it kind of lives in its own world, and that’s kind of how we’ve approached ‘The Lost Kingdom’ as well,” Wan said.
Wan’s comments come following the change in management at DC Studios under new CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran. The duo’s plan to reboot the DC brand in film and television has been attributed to the box office disappointments of Black Adam, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and most recently The Flash. The latter DCEU movie’s multiverse premise put a hard reset on the DCEU in the movie’s climax.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has been subject to not only release date shuffles but also extensive reshoots to pave the way for DCEU connections to future projects. Michael Keaton reportedly filmed a cameo in the Aquaman sequel as his Bruce Wayne/Batman from The Flash which test audiences found “confusing.” Then Ben Affleck fueled internet speculation when he posted a picture with Aquaman star Jason Momoa, leading fans to believe he was reprising his DCEU Bruce Wayne to replace Keaton. Following the events of The Flash, however, it seems unlikely Affleck’s cameo will make the final cut.
The official synopsis for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom reads, “When an ancient power is unleashed, Aquaman must forge an uneasy alliance with an unlikely ally to protect Atlantis, and the world, from irreversible devastation.” Directed by Wan and starring Momoa, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom features the returns of franchise regulars Patrick Wilson as Orm, Amber Heard as Mera, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, and Randall Park as Stephen Shin. Additionally, new cast members include Pilou Asbaek, Jani Zhao, Indya Moore, and Vincent Regan.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will hit theaters on December 20.