The DCEU is not being coy about Aquaman, putting Black Manta and his soldiers on full display in the new trailer.
This weekend's extended trailer for Aquaman features a long, clear look at Black Manta, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. The villain shoots out of the sea at one point and takes aim at Arthur (Jason Momoa), his soldiers in tow. Almost immediately, Manta extends one of the signature blades from his sleeve, slashing at the hero as he has in countless comics before. A few minutes after that, he also uses his iconic heat vision, just barely missing Arthur and hitting a massive church bell instead.
Meanwhile, Black Manta's soldiers spend half other trailer bursting through windows, doors and walls, chasing after Mera (Amber Heard). The henchmen are not stingy with their projectile beams either, and they look like they climbed right out of the comic book page -- CGI critiques notwithstanding.
The trailer came as something of a surprise to fans, who typically expect the studios to withhold more of the big visual moments until the premiere. Apparently, the folks at DC want to make it perfectly clear that Aquaman is visually faithful to its source material.
Black Manta and David Kane will be played by Abdul-Mateen, who is relatively new to the world of comic book adaptations. He has broken in in a big way though, as he will appear in the TV adaptation of Watchmen next year as well. His role has not yet been specified.
Aquaman director James Wan spoke to ComicBook.com last month, admitting that the pressure is on to follow up Justice League. However, he feels he has split the difference between telling his own story and honoring the extended universe.
"It was very important for me early on to be allowed to make my own film and to have my own voice be in there," Wan said. "After Furious 7 and Conjuring 2, I didn't want to be a director for hire. After Furious 7, that's kind of who I was to some degree, but after that, I don't want to be that guy again."
"So, it was very important for me to be able to bring my own stamp, my own visual aesthetic, create the characters. Even though Jason [Momoa] has somewhat been established Justice League, I wanted to bring his character into this, basically, fresh in a lot of ways. So it was important for me to obviously pay a respect to where he was left off in [Justice League], but then allow me the freedom to take him to where I want to take him at the end of the movie," Wan went on. "My hero goes on this hero's journey to become someone very different than where he started. That was something that was very important for me. But the movie I want to make, that I was allowed that freedom to do that."
Aquaman hits theaters on Dec. 21.