“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” has faced one looming question since the very beginning: How do you follow up a $1.1 billion-grossing superhero blockbuster in a moviegoing world forever changed by a pandemic — and under a studio whose identity has evolved from the bottom up.
Ask director James Wan, and he’ll say that it’s a matter of staying the course. In an interview published Wednesday with Entertainment Weekly, Wan said that despite the obvious variables that weren’t in play five years ago, his plan for the sequel film in the DC Extended Universe has remained the same since the beginning.
He would not confirm or deny, however, previous reports of Batman actors Michael Keaton and/or Ben Affleck’s involvement in the project, saying, “That’s a ‘no comment’ right now. You’re going to have to wait for the movie to come out.”
Responding to reports — notably from The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year — that alleged Wan oversaw three reshoots of the film in part to account for separate appearances from Keaton and Affleck following changes to the Warner Bros. release calendar, Wan explained, “The tricky thing early on was not knowing whether ‘Aquaman’ would come out first or come out after [‘The Flash’]. So, we just had to be prepared.”
“At the end of the day,” he added, “the best thing I would say about this movie is that it is not connected in any way to any of those films. That’s the bottom line.”
Wan also clarified that in regards to reports that “The Suicide Squad” director James Gunn, who along with “Aquaman” producer Peter Safran now coleads DC’s film, TV and animation divisions under Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, had additional oversight on the sequel, saying, “At the end of the day, this is my movie.”
“I’ve known James since way back, right? We’re horror guys, and so I’m definitely open to ideas,” Wan said.
The continued shake-ups at DC under Gunn and Safran’s hires came in the wake of “The Flash” performing well under industry estimates and studio’s hopes, pulling in just shy of $270 million worldwide and by some estimates losing Warner Bros. $200 million.
“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” stars Jason Momoa and is slated to hit theaters Dec. 20.