Aquaman introduced Black Manta to the DCEU with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in the part but left a lot of meat on the bone for the character. He would have a fully realized comic-accurate costume and a quick version of his origin story told but many were left wanting to see more of the character. As the story goes (and is now confirmed to ComicBook.com by Abdul-Mateen II himself), the reports of a Trench-centric spinoff were actually a guise for a Black Manta movie. This spinoff has reportedly since been cancelled but Abdul-Mateen II still has plenty for us to look forward to in 2022's Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom.
"I think in the next Aquaman, I really wanted to put more personality into the character for us to sort of get to know him in some more private moments," Abdul-Mateen II told ComicBook.com in an interview ahead of The Matrix Resurrections, where the actor takes on the role of Morpheus. "Wanted to see [Black Manta] struggle with some things, then to see a bit more of his personality and character. Also, to see what it looks like for him to be in charge of something. So we get to see a little bit more of his leadership style, a little bit more of his personality in this one. And he's back for more, no doubt, in a big way."
Ahead of any trailers or official posters, the team involved with Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom have already shared a look at Black Manta's return. The full-on suit is back in all its glory. The film's writer, David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, tweeted the photo below.
Heading from The Matrix Resurrections back to the set of an Aquaman movie, Abdul-Mateen II may have a few new tricks for the return. Much like the original Matrix movie from 1999, this new installment for the iconic franchise pushed its cast and crew in innovative ways. "[The Matrix Resurrections] kind of, it could really make you feel like a beginner all over again," Abdul-Mateen II explained. "I'm on the roof in San Francisco and Lana [Wachowski] says, 'Action.' And I come out and I do my movement and all of a sudden there's a helicopter that comes up and reveals itself and it's 15 feet away and you can't hear anything and it's a helicopter. Oh man, it was just madness. And I'm way on top of the roof in San Francisco and I said, 'Okay, I guess this is what it means to be in the Matrix.' It was just mind blowing and really surreal at times. The things that we were asked to do."
Are you excited to see Abdul-Mateen II return to his role as Black Manta in the DCEU? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram! The Matrix Resurrections opens in theaters and on HBO Max on December 22.