After a couple of big-screen appearances, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman is finally stepping out on his own with his first solo adventure. Whether you’re a longtime comics reader or completely unfamiliar with this classic character’s legacy, here’s everything you need to know before seeing Aquaman.
Who is Atlanna?
Fans were likely surprised to hear about Nicole Kidman’s casting in Aquaman since she hasn’t appeared in a superhero film since 1995’s Batman Forever. However, Kidman will be officially joining the DC Universe as Queen Atlanna, the superhuman mother of Aquaman.
It’s still unclear how faithful the film will be as far as the original comics are concerned, but it looks as if Kidman’s story will be a tragic one. Atlanna has been written as an outcast, a queen, and most importantly, Aquaman’s link to his superhuman heritage and his one connection to Atlantis.
However, she’s also been written as a fairly absent parent, so if this film is including Aquaman’s family history, audiences may see some tension between the two.
Who is Orm?
Sibling rivalry abounds in superhero films, and Aquaman will be no exception. In late 2016, it was announced that Patrick Wilson had signed on as Aquaman’s surly and powerful half-brother, Orm. And In the comics, Orm is a contender for the throne of Atlantis and nearly destroys the sea in his attempt to claim the crown.
In the film, however, some environmentally-minded audience members may side more with Orm than Aquaman in their central conflict. On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Wilson discussed Orm’s motivations.
Wilson is no stranger to superhero films, as he previously appeared in Zack Snyder’s 2009 Watchmen adaptation as Nite Owl. He’s also familiar with Aquaman’s director, having appeared in Wan’s horror hits Insidious and The Conjuring.
Who is Black Manta?
Aquaman has his work cut out for him in the film in addition to facing off against Orm, he’ll have to deal with Black Manta, another villain from the original comics. As a ruthless pirate who will stop at nothing to destroy Atlantis, Black Manta harbors a long-held grudge against the underwater metropolis.
He’s also a brilliant engineer who designed a diving suit which gives him super strength, shoots optic blasts, and allows him to survive underwater. Wan has been extra quiet regarding Black Manta’s specifics fans only know that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who appeared on Netflix’s The Get Down, will be playing the villain.
How powerful will Mera be?
Played by Amber Heard, Mera was first seen in Justice League to provide backstory for Aquaman, but her role in Aquaman will be much more substantial. Director James Wan has remarked that Aquaman is more like Mera’s sidekick. Once Mera appears on-screen in Aquaman, she’s reportedly in nearly every single scene.
It’s not hard to guess why Wan chose to focus on Mera so much, as the character is a powerful superhero in her own right. She possesses incredible strength and the ability to completely control water. It seems as if Mera’s origin story has been changed considerably compared to the original comics.
Though Mera usually hails from an alternate dimension, Justice League revealed a different origin where she was raised by Queen Atlanna as a war orphan:
Aquaman has been around for a while his first appearance came in “More Fun Comics 73 in 1941 as a backup character to other heroes. Aquaman lived on in the back pages of Adventure Comics and during the 1960s, finally joined the Justice League, got his own cartoon series, and became one of the Super Friends, cementing his legacy
Aquaman wasn’t always a sea-based superhero he was born Arthur Curry, a half-Atlantean, half-human boy whose mother Queen Atlanna was forced to leave him in the care of his human father, Thomas Curry. However, in being split between these two worlds, Arthur is rejected by both sides of his heritage, and in the end, he finds himself somewhat lost.
As an adult, Arthur must find his place in both worlds, vie for his right to become king of Atlantis and protect the world at large. Aquaman has a wide range of powers, including super-strength, extreme durability, the ability
to breathe underwater, and the power to control any undersea lifeforms.
Will Aquaman talk to fish?
Aquaman has one very well-known power, He has talk to fish. This has made Aquaman the subject of many a joke over the years. But Wan isn’t shying away from this particular power, and fans can expect Aquaman’s fish-telepathy to play a big part in the film.
Director James Wan has said that his Aquaman movie is largely inspired by writer Geoff Johns, who rebooted the character in 2011. Still, Wan didn’t leave the older comics behind.
He went through dozens of Aquaman comics from the past 70 years of the source material. For fans of the cheesy older comics, don’t worry, because Wan couldn’t resist using some elements from these eras. Topo, Aquaman’s octopus sidekick, will appear in the film.