“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom”: A Dive Deeper than Ever Before

As the waves of excitement for “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” build, there’s a rising curiosity about the film’s ensemble. While Jason Momoa reprises his iconic role as Arthur Curry, and the spotlight shines on familiar faces like Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Nicole Kidman, one particular absence is making waves.

Willem Dafoe: The Mentor who Won’t Return

Director James Wan has opened up about the notable omission of Willem Dafoe, who played the influential Vulko in the original Aquaman film. It appears that schedules, as they often do in the movie world, played the villain this time. Wan remarked to EW, “Willem is not in this one, no. Part of the reason was because his schedule did not work out for us.” However, every cloud has its silver lining. Dafoe’s absence paved the way for Atlanna’s expanded role, with Wan elaborating, “Atlanna in this one ultimately becomes Arthur’s advisor… she helps him better understand the world and the politics of how things work.”

Read More: Christopher Nolan's 'Oppenheimer' Outperforms 'Bohemian Rhapsody' as Highest-Grossing Biopic Ever

Recalling the 2018 Aquaman film, Vulko’s mentorship to Arthur Curry was indispensable. As the trusted vizier within Atlantis, he was the bridge connecting the half-human/half-Atlantean to his maritime lineage. And even amidst the political turmoil in Atlantis, Vulko stood firm in his loyalty to Queen Atlanna’s legacy.

The Busy Star: Dafoe’s Overflowing Calendar

It’s no secret that Dafoe has been swamped with projects. Movies like “Poor Things” and “Inside” held him captive during the Aquaman sequel’s filming. And while his absence is undoubtedly felt, it’s heartening to see Nicole Kidman’s Atlanna stepping into the spotlight. The “Lost Kingdom” trailer teases a more pivotal role for her, raising anticipation for how Wan and screenwriter David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick further develop the character.

Willem Dafoe's Surprise Absence in Aquaman's Next Big Splash: Why He's Missing from 'The Lost Kingdom'

The Sequel’s Stars and Story Arcs

Alongside Kidman’s beefed-up role, Amber Heard makes a return as Mera, albeit briefly, as shown in the trailers. Fans have been speculating about her reduced screen time due to her ongoing legal battles with ex-husband Johnny Depp. James Wan clarified that the story, which emphasizes the relationship between Arthur and Orm, naturally placed Mera in the backdrop.

As the film’s release looms closer, uncertainty shrouds the future of the Aquaman series, especially with the dawn of a fresh DCU franchise. But one thing’s for certain – if there’s a way to bring back Momoa’s Arthur Curry and his ensemble, fans would love a reprise from Willem Dafoe as Vulko, schedules permitting.

Mark the Date: “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom”

Ready to dive back into the enchanting underwater world? “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is set to make a splash in theaters on December 20, 2023. For those needing a refresher or wanting to relive the magic, the 2018 original “Aquaman” is available to stream via a Max subscription. Gear up for an enthralling journey beneath the waves!