Aquaman star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is "confident" the villainous Black Manta will return to menace the titular aquatic superhero played by Jason Momoa in Aquaman 2. Abdul-Mateen's black-suited bad guy — real name David Kane, a mercenary with a grudge against the now King of Atlantis — used Atlantean technology provided by Aquaman's half-brother Orm Marius (Patrick Wilson) to wreak havoc on the surface world, but his short-lived reign of terror was ended when Aquaman sent him plummeting down a cliff. Discovered adrift at sea by Dr. Stephen Shin (Randall Park) in a credits scene acting as a hook for Aquaman 2, Black Manta is still out there — and Abdul-Mateen says he'll be back to stir more trouble.
"We have a date of December 2022. Hopefully, that will hold," Abdul-Mateen told Entertainment Weekly. "Black Manta will be back — I feel confident in saying that. I'm excited to step into that world again and cause some more trouble. I really want to add more personality and more character to David Kane and flesh him out in Aquaman 2 and give him more of a journey."
The star previously told ComicBook.com Black Manta "has an opportunity to show up anywhere where Aquaman is," referencing his vendetta against the part-time Justice Leaguer.
"Anywhere where he has a device or plot to get back to Aquaman, he's going to use it. So, he can show up wherever," Abdul-Mateen said. "But when he does I hope that we get to see more of his wit and more of the comedic parts of Black Manta and see more of the things that make him [the Black Manta] that I know and the human that the fans, and the people in this universe, have grown to love over the years."
Momoa, an environmentalist who made waves defending sacred land in Hawaii, previously said the story for Aquaman 2 is locked and will spend more time on land than sea:
"I was really, really, really, passionate, to do the second one because it's the first time where it's all on Earth. It's combining land and sea, kind of like what I'm doing with this [environmental cause]," Momoa said on The Ellen Show. "There's no outside aliens destroying Earth, it's us. And so I was excited to get back in there, and so I've been working with our previous writer, and getting in there, and we've got a locked story, and we're getting into it."
Aquaman 2 is scheduled to open December 16, 2022. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.