Aquaman's greatest foe is also one of the fan-favorite DC Comics villains, and fans will finally see him come to life when Black Manta appears in the film premiering this month.
In a conversation with ComicBook.com's Brandon Davis, director James Wan praised Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's role as Black Manta, revealing that he couldn't have made Aquaman without including the character because he's so vital to Arthur Curry's own journey.
"I don't think I could have made this movie and not include Black Manta," Wan said. "I think the fans would have rioted if I didn't include Black Manta in there. But obviously knowing this movie, the main plot is about the throne of Atlantis, so that means the main antagonist would have to be King Orm. But I wanted to introduce Yahya's character before he becomes Black Manta and see how he becomes Black Manta.
"The irony is that Aquaman himself, Arthur, is the one who helps create this character. He helps create this character that would go on to become his longterm arch nemesis. I love the irony of all that."
Black Manta is making his first big screen appearance in the upcoming movie, and the character will have a comic accurate look in the movie. Abdul-Mateen II spoke about his costume, praising its intimidating appearance during ComicBook.com's set visit.
"That thing is just badass, man," Abdul-Matten II said. "We have our ideas about what the character's going to be, and so I bring all of that stuff to it. But then you put that thing on, and you see yourself in the mirror, and all of a sudden, I'm 10 feet taller in that thing, and I feel like I could bust through a wall! I talked about wanting to run through walls, and just break s--- in my meeting with Peter, when I auditioned for the job. And, I put on that suit, and everything's just coming full circle."
Wan also spoke about his design sensibilities for the costume, talking about how it plays into the character's storyline in the movie.
"I'm going to take what's best about the design, and kind of bring my sensibility to it," Wan said. "And ultimately he's a human character, and he has to go up against someone like Arthur/Aquaman, who is a superhero. And so I have to tweak the outfit slightly to give him the power."
Aquaman swims into theaters December 21st, 2018.