Classic Aquaman sits down with the modern Aquaman (Jason Momoa) in an animated Adult Swim TV spot for the James Wan-directed DC Films blockbuster.
“No one has ever respected me, and now I’m being replaced,” sobs the old school Aquaman.
“No man, you’re totally powerful and cool,” says Momoa’s burly undersea superhero. “The world just needed something new.”
Momoa’s Aquaman references Classic Aquaman’s “walrus pal” — Tusky, Aqualad’s pet walrus as seen on Super Friends — before quickly exhausting ways in which Classic Aquaman is cool.
Suddenly validated and enamored, Classic Aquaman says Momoa’s tattoos are “the catfishes pajamas.” Invited to hangout, Classic Aquaman quickly shouts, “Yes!”
Wan said during San Diego Comic-Con he borrowed from classic DC comic books as well as Super Friends — including the domesticated seahorses revamped as sea dragons — when bringing the superhero, long the butt of jokes, to the big screen in his first solo movie.
“I’m well aware going into this, that he has been somewhat of a joke in the superhero world for so long,” Wan said. “And I’m not shying away from that, I’m leaning into it and taking what you think is a joke and trying to make it super cool.”
Wan’s “terrifying” sea dragons are born from the “sort of retro, sort of funny aspect that we’ve come to know from Super Friends and just embracing it,” a choice the Furious 7 director made to “let people know that we know it’s funny, but have fun with it.”
Producer Peter Safran told ComicBook.com Wan was only interested in diving into Aquaman if “it could be a departure from what had become the DC brand of superhero” — namely the darker, moodier superheroes seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
“Which, whether you like it or don’t like it, it just wasn’t how he saw Aquaman being done. And so, it was always much more Raiders of the Lost Ark and Romancing the Stone,” Safran said.
“And, you know, both of those movies have such great elements of comedy, real jeopardy, great characters and that’s what he brings to the table here. And that is absolutely what the movie is.”
Starring Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Willem Dafoe, and Nicole Kidman, Aquaman is now playing.