Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom: A Sea of Controversies and High Stakes
“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” the anticipated sequel in Jason Momoa’s superhero saga, is navigating through turbulent waters even before its release. The film, initially slated for December 2022, has been delayed to December 20, 2023, amidst a sea of controversies and fan backlash, raising concerns over its potential success and impact on Warner Bros. Discovery’s financial stability.
The Amber Heard Controversy
The film has been caught in the storm due to the involvement of Amber Heard, who has been embroiled in a high-profile legal battle with her ex-husband, Johnny Depp. The legal proceedings, which have seen rulings favoring Depp, have sparked a wave of requests for Heard’s removal from the film and replacement as Mera. However, with the film’s shooting concluded and the studio facing financial constraints, reshoots seem improbable.
Despite the turmoil, Heard has received backing from the film’s director, James Wan, and co-stars, including Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson. However, the support hasn’t quelled the calls for a boycott, with fans of Depp and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise continuing to voice their discontent.
Underwhelming First Impressions
The release of the film’s first official trailer did little to assuage the concerns. Fans expressed their disappointment over the seemingly subpar CGI and the overall presentation, with some threatening to abandon the DCEU altogether. While the trailer showcased Jason Momoa’s Aquaman in all his glory and hinted at his life developments, the underwater sequences and the portrayal of the world of Atlantis left much to be desired, raising questions over the film’s production quality.
High Stakes for Warner Bros. Discovery
The stakes are high for Warner Bros. Discovery, especially after the underperformance of recent releases like “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” “The Flash,” and “Blue Beetle.” “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is seen as a pivotal release, with the studio hoping for a turnaround after the lukewarm response to “Black Adam” in 2022.
A Turbulent Journey for DCEU
The original “Aquaman” film, released in 2018, remains a high-grossing DC movie, earning nearly $1.15 billion globally. However, the sequel has been plagued by upheavals, including multiple changes in studio heads and a merger with Discovery. The arrival of Peter Safran and James Gunn promised a revival for the superhero franchise, but “Aquaman 2” still aligns with the old DCEU vision, potentially impacting its box office prospects.
Concerns Over Reshoots
The film has also faced concerns over the numerous reshoots during its production. The cast and crew were reconvened three times to fulfill Wan’s final vision, with the last reshoot occurring over the summer in New Zealand, involving main cast members like Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson.
A Star-Studded Cast Amidst the Chaos
In “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” Jason Momoa returns as the titular hero, Arthur Curry, alongside a stellar cast including Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman, Randall Park, Dolph Lundgren, Vincent Regan, Pilou Asbæk, Indya Moore, and Temuera Morrison, with Amber Heard reprising her role as Mera. The film sees Arthur Curry rising to protect his world against threats from Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).
With its release looming, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is sailing into uncharted territories, with controversies and fan reactions shaping its journey. Whether it will sink or swim in the box office currents remains to be seen, but one thing is certain – it’s a crucial voyage for Warner Bros. Discovery, and the world is keenly watching to voice its views on the sequel.