Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Teases Black Manta's Change in the Sequel

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has been filming for the better part of two months, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II can't stop raving about his character's role in the sequel. Mateen II is currently dominating the box office in Candyman and before too long, will return to the DC Extended Universe as Black Manta. According to The Get Down alumnus, his villain has had plenty of time to hatch out his next plans against Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) and the kingdom of Atlantis.

"Now, we have a character who's more mature, who has more time to breathe. And we get to understand him and some of his values and some of his motives," Mateen said in a recent chat with Variety. "Hopefully in Aquaman 2, we can present a more well-rounded version of David Kane."

While he stopped short of calling Aquaman 2 an origin story for his villain, the actor did mention we'll get to see more of the villain's backstory.

"In the first film, we sort of got to meet him, but mostly it was about Black Manta," he added. "And this one, my hope is that we can meet David Kane a bit more and find out what makes him tick, and some of the things that he wants and struggles with. It's a bit more mature of an experience for me, and I'm looking forward to bringing that to the screen."

James Wan is returning to helm his second-straight Aquaman feature, one he previously compared to Planet of the Vampires.

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"And that's partially because they were not familiar with the comic book, which deals in this very lurid, strange world," Wan said. "People were taken aback that I didn't throw all that stuff away and make a dark, heavy film. But I didn't feel that would have been right for it. So with the second film, I feel it will be easier for people to accept where we go because I've already laid the foundation."

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom opens in theaters on December 16, 2022.