Aquaman director James Wan isn’t burdened by Arthur Curry’s status in pop culture: rival Marvel Studios’ propensity for turning the unlikeliest of characters into worldwide phenomenon means such a feat is possible for the aquatic superhero, Wan told EW.
“I actually think the most incredible thing [Marvel] did is making Captain America and Thor accessible to the mainstream — especially outside of the United States,” Wan said. “The moment you can make a character called ‘Captain America’ work in Russia and China, then anything is possible.”
One of DC Comics’ most recognized — and joked about — comic book characters, Aquaman was modernized in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, where he’s played by beefy Game of Thrones alum Jason Momoa.
Reimagined as a burly, whiskey-chugging, jeans-wearing, tatted-up superhero, Aquaman will make his splash in a smaller corner of the wider DC Extended Universe — something the Conjuring and Furious 7 director required before agreeing to take the job.
“I told them that I understand and respect that Aquaman is part of a bigger universe but at the end of the day I have to tell the story I want to tell and want to develop the character because its such a big part of my life as the filmmaker behind it,” he said. “And that was something the studio was respectful about.”
“It's very important for me that I can put my stamp on it,” Wan told ComicBook.com of Aquaman in 2016. “If I can do that, I feel it will be pretty damn awesome.”
Warner Bros. turned to Wan, overseer of their hit Conjuring franchise, after the studio’s DC Comics-inspired universe floundered with missteps: DC has had less success at transforming B-list and C-list comic book characters into the globally-recognized A-list movie stars regularly produced by Disney-owned Marvel Studios, who have made unlikely characters like Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) into household names.
Wan will debut the first Aquaman trailer at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con ahead of the film’s December opening.
Starring Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Dolph Lundgren, Tempera Morrison, Randall Park, Nicole Kidman, and Willem Dafoe, Aquaman opens December 21.