James Wan, director of upcoming “Aquaman,” is aware that the DC character is considered a bit of a joke by comic book readers.
Since the ’70s, Aquaman’s been the butt of endless barbs, largely thanks to Hanna-Barbera’s TV cartoon “Super Friends,” which depicted him as a wholesome superhero who rides seahorses and talks to fish.
Wan credits Zack Snyder for doing away with the stigma by casting the brooding Jason Momoa to breathe fresh life into Aquaman, calling the decision “a stroke of genius.”
“Momoa is not a guy that you would go up to and make fun of,” Wan told TheWrap. “I really think you immediately remove any of the stigma of the character from the cartoons that we are familiar with.”
Momoa was cast by Snyder as Aquaman back in 2013. He first appeared in Snyder’s 2016 superhero mashup “Batman v Superman.” Before the character’s standalone project, slated for release in 2018, he’ll next appear in this fall’s “Justice League,” alongside Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Ezra Miller and Ray Fischer.
DC President Geoff Johns revitalized Aquaman in 2011 when he took over as writer of The New 52, a relaunch by DC Comics of its monthly comics.
Johns presented Aquaman as a hero fighting for respect among the community he serves and protects. What resulted was a fresh, occasionally humorous reintroduction in part because Johns used the perceived silliness of Aquaman as part of the character’s foundation.
“Having said that, I’m not completely unaware of the stigma,” Wan added. “If anything, I embrace it and being able to laugh at yourself and have fun at yourself is important and that’s something I am aware of as I make ‘Aquaman’ right now.”
“Aquaman” also stars Nicole Kidman, Amber Heard, Dolph Lundgren and Willem Dafoe. It opens Dec. 21, 2018.
DC Films 'Justice League': What We Know So Far (Photos)
"Justice League" is exactly a year away as the film will be released in theaters on Nov. 17, 2017. Here's what we know so far.
Ben Affleck will return as Batman and have an upgraded Tactical Batsuit along with enhancements to the Batmobile.
Gal Gadot will return as Wonder Woman and work with Batman to recruit other metahumans to fight off an intergalactic threat.
Henry Cavill will return as Superman after he “died” in the climactic battle of "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." Exactly how, remains unknown.
Ezra Miller will star as Barry Allen a.k.a. "The Flash" and feature a costume created by Bruce Wayne's Wayne Tech.
Jason Momoa will star as Aquaman and play the metahuman most reluctant to join the "Justice League." We will also get a first look at Atlantis.
Ray Fisher will star as Cyborg whose suit will be made from alien technology. Cyborg has two modes: Battle Mode and also a civilian mode.
Amber Heard will star as Mera, Queen of Atlantis and will reprise her role in the "Aquaman" standalone film.
J.K. Simmons will play Gotham City's Commissioner Gordon and alert the "Justice League" about the Alien threat which is kidnapping scientists around Earth.
Darkseid's presence will loom large in "Justice League" as the film's prologue introduces the New God while ancient Amazonians, Atlanteans, and pre-historic humans fight him off Earth.