Aquaman director James Wan knows what most people think about his title lead, and it helps inform the movie.
Connecting Aquaman's underdog status to his own status as a horror filmmaker, Wan said that he was able to use some of the lessons of his early work in making his big-budget superhero debut.
"Let's face it, [Aquaman is] the superhero that everyone makes fun of," Wan says in the latest issue of Total Film magazine. "There was a bit of reservation at the start about whether or not I should pursue this character. But the more I thought about it, I always love being the underdog. Coming from the horror genre, you're always the underdog. So I got used to that mentality."
That philosophy has served Aquaman well in recent years; after relaunching in 2011, Geoff Johns wrote a well-received run on Aquaman that featured a scene in its first issue where someone asks Arthur what it's like to be nobody's favorite superhero. That attitude fed a sense of indignation that Johns has often transformed into kick-ass moments for Arthur as he routinely proved his doubters wrong.
Given that fans have already seen Aquaman onscreen and Jason Momoa is nobody who is going to be laughed at, it seems unlikely that the text of the film will be that explicitly on the nose.
Still, the backstory is there, and Wan -- who worked closely with Johns on the film's production -- likely has some similar humor in mind for the movie, which appears to share some of the same bouncy energy that Momoa brought to his performance in Justice League.
It would be difficult to carry that "nobody's favorite" gag into Aquaman anyway, since he was essentially an urban legend until saving the world alongside Superman and Wonder Woman in the last movie. And at home, where we will spend much of the film, he's literal royalty.
Aquaman will be in theaters on December 14.3comments
The Worlds of DC films ahead also include Wonder Woman 1984 on Nov. 1, 2019, Shazam on April 5, 2019, Cyborg in 2020, and Green Lantern Corps in 2020, along with numerous undated films in various stages of development. A Joker origin movie starring Joaquin Phoenix is currently in production for an expected 2020 release.