James Wan's Aquaman is a Reluctant Superhero and Reluctant King

Justice League SDCC Trailer - Aquaman Jason Mamoa
(Photo: Warner Bros. , DC Entertainment)

James Wan is currently on the TCA Press tour to talk about his work directing the pilot of MacGuyver, the new reboot of the classic 80s film, but sat down with IGN to first talk about his slightly more high-profile, and high-pressure gig as director of Aquaman. The film, set for July 2018, may seem like it's a bit far away for him to be worried about now, but with a production schedule that has to see Justice League completed first and seeing star Jason Momoa increasingly in-demand, Wan's focus is strong already.

The start of that was to talk with Justice League director Zack Snyder about how he's using Aquaman in that film.

"Early on, Zack tried to involve me as much as he could, and I really appreciated that," Wan said. He was working on The Conjuring 2 at the same time, though, limiting his involvement. He has, however, spent time with Snyder specifically working out how Atlanteans communicate underwater. "If you have water in your lungs, like these characters do, there's no air bubble. So I don't know... I just think in my movie, I want to kind of create... I love the idea of underwater speaking but with a real sort of sonic, aquatic quality to it. So there's this sort of aquatic, almost sonar/whale thing. Even though it's in a human language, there's this slight sort of underlay to it, this ping to it, which I think would be interesting for us to design from a sound design perspective," Wan said.

He's glad he gets to "see what works and what may not work as well" in Justice League before he has to really buckle down on Aquaman, though, so he'll be able to change things slightly if needed.

While Wan couldn't confirm the report earlier today about the villain, he specifically cited Geoff Johns' run on Aquaman as something he "really loved" and that he considers his "leaping off point." That run did feature rumored movie villain Black Manta, as well as Aquaman's brother Orm the Ocean Master, and a new villainous element called the Trench. Johns is now co-running DC Films as a producer also involved in story development, and even writing at times. That's in addition to his position as President and Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment.

As for Aquaman's place on the Justice League, Wan looks at him as "kind of the Wolverine [of the team] in some respect." The director sees him as an "outsider who gets pulled into this world and he kind of doesn't want to belong. He prided freedom above everything else." He says that shows in two aspects of his life, as both a hero and a monarch. "That kind of plays nicely into who his character is. He's like a reluctant superhero, right? He's the reluctant king, basically, or would-be king."

Jason Mamoa stars as Aquaman next in Justice League, in theaters November 17, 2017. That film is shooting now in Warner Bros.' UK studio.


Suicide Squad is now in theaters; Wonder Woman is coming on June 2, 2017; followed by Justice League on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020.

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