'Justice League': Aquaman's DC Films Origin Explained

When Aquaman heads to Atlantis in the just-released Justice League movie, not only do fans get a sense for what his film might be about, but Arthur Curry himself seemingly learns some new information.

First of all, it is worth noting that it seems Atlantis is either largely matriarchal, or at least not opposed to being led by a queen rather than a king. During an exchange with Mera, the audience learns that Aquaman's mother was the monarch of Atlantis, and it seems from context as though it is Mera who now leads, although that may be a matter of reading too much comics continuity into a simple scene from the film.

As in the comics, it seems as though Aquaman is the son of an Atlantean and a human -- in this case, Queen Atlan and the unnamed father who raised Arthur after he was left on land. Arthur went through his life feeling abandoned and resentful of his mother, and never fully fit in with either the Atlanteans or the humans.

He does, however, know all about Atlantis. While Arthur is not depicted here as the reluctant king, a role he has been so often associated with in recent comics, he does make a beeline for Atlantis when he discovers that Steppenwolf has come for the Mother Box, and fights alongside Atlanteans against Steppenwolf in a brief, losing battle. After, Mera tells Arthur that it is his responsibility to stand against Steppenwolf, as his mother would have during her reign, he reluctantly agrees, insisting first that she provide him with... something. Since the next time he appears, he is wearing Atlantean armor and wielding his pentdent, it seems likely one or both of those items is what he requested.

That last element, of course, is a theme that is often explored with "last survivor" kind of fiction, including characters like Superman and Martian Manhunter.

The Atlantis material was fairly short, and only served as an appetizer for what is to come in James Wan's Aquaman movie next year, but it did give enough to contextualize Arthur's relationship to the Justice League and provide a jumping-off point for the solo film.

Justice League is in theaters today.

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