There’s been a lot of talk buzzing around Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom over the year, and not just regarding the actual story content of the upcoming DC movie. For one thing, there have been various reports about the sequel being plagued with behind-the-scenes issues, but Aquaman 2 also comes as DC Studios is preparing to launch a new shared continuity, with this 2023 movie release being the last official entry in the DCEU. Now director James Wan has opened up about how he’s handling these rumors and shakeups.
Starting off, when it comes to the claims of studio interference and significant reshoots on The Lost Kingdom, James Wan acknowledged to Empire that while he’s usually able to maintain a level head when it comes to chatter concerning his projects, it has been tough for him not being able to directly comment on things that he knows not to be true, saying:
I’ve had to learn to be more Zen in dealing with all the noise around me, for sure. I’m a pretty private person. I don’t get on social media and have fights, but it’s difficult because this narrative has emerged that is not the reality. The noise is fun to write about, and it gets clicks, but people don’t know the truth.
Among the more recent wild claims surrounding Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’s production is that Jason Momoa once allegedly got drunk, dressed as Johnny Depp and tried to get Amber Heard fired, to which a DC rep responded by saying that Momoa “conducted himself in a professional manner at all times on the set” of the sequel. Back in June, it was also reported that Aquaman 2 had gone through at least three rounds of reshoots and “several uninspired test screenings.” Plus, due to both its various scheduling changes and an alleged decree from DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran, Batman will no longer appear in The Lost Kingdom.
Yet despite all this, James Wan stated that while Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom didn’t turn out the way he originally envisioned, this is par for the course when it comes to his filmmaking process, and it sounds like he’s content with how the sequel turned out. In his words:
Look, I’m a collaborative filmmaker — I welcome people’s thoughts and opinions. But ultimately, I feel I have more than proven myself. So, it was like: ‘This is the movie I want to make.’ … I built an entire franchise from a reshoot! I’m not the kind of person that says, ‘This movie has to turn out exactly how I planned it on day one.’ Your art will never be organic if you’re locked into that mentality.
Then there’s the changing DC films and TV landscape to consider. With the exception of people like Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, John Cena’s Peacemaker and Xolo Maridueña’s Blue Beetle sticking around, the character lineup in new DC Universe will look all-new, and there’ve been rumblings that Jason Momoa might transition from playing Aquaman to Lobo. As such, Aquaman 3 seems far from a guarantee right now, but Wan is nonetheless open to returning to DC’s underwater depths for another outing. As he put it:
I haven’t directed a third movie [in a series] before, so I’d be open to doing another [Aquaman] if I got the same freedom I’ve had on these first two. I’m not sure what direction [Gunn and Safran] are going in, though, so who knows? I’ve learned to never say never.
James Wan said in June 2023 that the plans for the new DC Universe didn’t impact how he put Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom together since it’s “pretty far removed from the rest of the world,” and that even with all these continuity changes on the way, people should still see the sequel because it’s a “very standalone movie.” We’ll see what the final product has to offer when Aquaman 2 hits theaters on December 20. After that, the animated Max series Creature Commandos will kick off the DC Universe’s Chapter One slate, followed by Superman: Legacy’s theatrical release on July 11, 2025.