It’s been a long wait for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, but while there had been speculation about if the upcoming DC movie might be delayed in response to the SAG-AFTRA strike, that’s not the case, at least for right now. More importantly, the first Aquaman 2 trailer finally is arriving later this week, and Warner Bros. Pictures hyped it up with a 30-second teaser. Accompanying that video was the official plot synopsis for The Lost Kingdom, and there’s a key plot point confirmed within it that has me even more worried about Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Black Manta in the sequel.
At the end of the first Aquaman movie, Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry and Amber Heard’s Mera were officially a romantic item, and while it’s unclear if they’re married by the time Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom begins, the synopsis describes Mera as being Atlantis’ queen. More importantly, she’s also “mother of the heir to the throne,” indicating that she and Arthur already have a child or it will be born during these events, as had been previously rumored. Furthermore, Arthur will need to team up with his half-brother, Patrick Wilson’s Orm, to “protect their kingdom and save Aquaman’s family, and the world, from irreversible destruction” at the hands of Black Manta, who now wields the power of the Black Trident.
Like his comic book counterpart, the DC Extended Universe’s Black Manta, real name David Kane, has a major bone to pick with Arthur Curry, which stems from him blaming the water-breathing superhero for the death of his father. Manta struck up an alliance with Orm in Aquaman to kill Arthur using Atlantean technology, but failed in his assassination attempt and nearly died out at sea until Randall Park’s Dr. Stephen Shin rescued him at the end of the 2018 DC movie. Now Manta is back in play and will use the Black Trident to unleash “an ancient and malevolent force.” All of Atlantis is in danger, but if original DC Comics source material is any indication, there’s a distinct possibility that Manta will try to personally kill Arthur and Mera’s child.
The story arc Aquaman: The Death of a Prince, which originally began as a backup feature in the pages of Adventure Comics and continued into the main Aquaman title from 1974 to 1978, depicted Black Manta kidnapping Arthur Curry Jr. and leaving him to suffocate in oxygen. Filled with fury, Aquaman nearly killed his arch-nemesis in retaliation, but changed his mind at the last minute. Their son’s death also nearly destroyed Arthur and Mera’s relationship. The good news is that these days in the main DC continuity, Arthur and Mera have a child again, albeit a daughter named Andy.
Whether Amber Heard’s Mera has a son or daughter, I’m extremely concerned for that child’s wellbeing in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Clearly Black Manta will do whatever it takes to exact revenge on his foe, no matter how many innocent lives are lost. Killing the child would be the ultimate crushing blow, with Manta opting to commit this heinous act with his own hands rather than leaving it to an underling or having the little one perish from the widespread destruction.
Now, Black Manta trying to kill Arthur and Mera’s child in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is one thing, but would the movie actually have them die. I’m inclined to say no; after all, like its processor, the sequel will almost certainly be rated PG-13, meaning a lot of kids will be seeing in theaters with their parents. If we were getting a hard R-rated Aquaman movie set in an Elseworlds continuity, then it would most certainly be on the table, but having an infant/toddler die in the last DCEU movie might be taking things a bit too far. Mera, on the other hand, might make an effective substitute, particularly since Amber Heard doesn’t have as much screen time in The Lost Kingdom.
In any case, until I’m seated for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which opens in theaters on December 20, my concern for this child, and anyone in Arthur Curry’s close circle, will continue to linger. Check back with us later this week to watch the first Lost Kingdom trailer, and feel free to stream Aquaman with your Max subscription.