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Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom Release Date, Cast, Plot, Trailer And More Details

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"Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" figures to be the last film in the oft-criticized DC Extended Universe, ending the series with a bang and paving the way for James Gunn's upcoming DC Universe reboot. How that all will play out remains to be seen, but there's no denying that fans of Jason Momoa's Aquaman will be in for a treat. If Arthur Curry was your favorite character in "Justice League" and you had a blast watching the first film, then "The Lost Kingdom" looks to be a dream come true.

Helmed once again by director James Wan, "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" will continue to expand the ever-exciting world of Atlantis and build a bigger Aquaman-centered universe. Given that our world is about 70% ocean, the possibilities are endless concerning what Wan and company could do. Picking up only a few years after the 2018 film, this next installment doesn't look to be holding anything back.

Although "The Lost Kingdom" may be an important stepping stone for the new live-action DC Universe, fans are still understandably skeptical about the film, as online rumors claim that Warner Bros. Discovery has given up on the "Aquaman" franchise and expects the film to flop at the box office. With so much doubt looming over the impending release, it's important to clarify exactly what's going on with the next "Aquaman" before the film hits theaters. Here's everything you need to know before the premiere of "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom."

When will Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom be released?

As of this writing, "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" is slated for release on December 22, 2023 — something that seems impossible, considering that its original release date was planned for 2022.

Fans who have been following the DC Extended Universe will know that "Lost Kingdom" suffered some drastic delays due to the shakeup that occurred following the Warner Bros. Discovery merger. The movie was initially scheduled to be released on December 16, 2022, before being moved back to March 17, 2023. The film was moved yet again to December 25, 2023 ... and then to December 20.

Finally, Warner Bros. decided to move the film one more time to December 22, which is where it'll hopefully stay put. December will be a big month for the studio, as they're releasing "Wonka," "Aquaman," and "The Color Purple" back to back to back. Will their three-pronged play bring in the box office dollars? The movies likely won't be competing for the same audiences, so if fans are in the mood for superhero fare during the holidays, "The Last Kingdom" might fare well against its December competition.

What is the plot of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom?

We can safely assume that "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" will continue Aquaman's story from his previous appearances in the DC Extended Universe, picking up after the events of the original "Aquaman." As fans might recall, the first film saw the titular superhero defeating his half-brother, Orm (Patrick Wilson), and taking over as king of Atlantis.

According to the official synopsis for "Lost Kingdom," Aquaman's new reign comes under attack after his old enemy, Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), arrives in Atlantis seeking revenge. "Having failed to defeat Aquaman the first time, Black Manta, still driven by the need to avenge his father's death, will stop at nothing to take Aquaman down once and for all," reads the synopsis, courtesy of DC and Warner Bros. "This time Black Manta is more formidable than ever before, wielding the power of the mythic Black Trident, which unleashes an ancient and malevolent force."

Following the return of Black Manta, Aquaman is forced to team up with his imprisoned brother as the two try desperately to save their family's kingdom and the world from the destructive power of the Black Trident. With these two brothers bickering, it's sure to be a blast as they battle all sorts of aquatic enemies to protect their homeworld.

Who is starring in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom?

As previously mentioned, "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" stars Jason Momoa as the titular Atlantean king, who also goes by the name of Arthur Curry. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Patrick Wilson reprise their villains from the first film (Manta and Orm respectively), with Temeura Morrison and Nicole Kidman also returning to play Tom Curry and Atlanna.

Also returning to the cast is Amber Heard, who reprises her role as the Atlantean warrior Mera. Heard's involvement with the film continues to be a source of heavy controversy among online fans, with many still petitioning for her removal from "Aquaman" after she lost a civil defamation verdict against Johnny Depp in 2022. Heard is joined by action star Dolph Lundgren, who is set to appear in the film as Mera's father, King Nereus.

Other prominent cast members include Jani Zhao (who plays Stingray, a character created for the film), Randall Park (who plays Dr. Stephen Shin), Indya Moore (who plays telepathic shark Karshon), and Vincent Regan, who is replacing Graham McTavish as the ancient Atlantean king Atlan. Pilou Asbæk of "Game of Thrones" fame is also expected to appear. 

Who is directing Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom?

When the original "Aquaman" swam into theaters back in 2018, the undersea adventure earned a staggering $1.14 billion, which made it the fifth highest-grossing movie of the year. Needless to say, Warner Bros. didn't want to screw around with success, so they brought on the same filmmaker who sailed the original movie to box office glory — James Wan.

In addition to helming both "Aquaman" movies, Wan is no stranger to action fare, as he directed both "Furious 7" and "Death Sentence." Of course, most moviegoers probably associate Wan with the horror genre, as he also directed "Saw," "The Conjuring," and "Insidious," among other creepy films. And evidently, he had his fair share of horror working on "The Lost Kingdom," as Wan had to undergo three separate reshoots, which The Hollywood Reporter described as "almost an unprecedented number."

Warner Bros. and DC have famously undergone some regime changes over the last few years, and evidently, new bosses demanded new angles on the material. Despite all the behind-the-scenes drama, Wan got it done — the man is a pro — and even though multiple people have given him notes, the filmmaker insists "The Lost Kingdom" is still his creation, telling Entertainment Weekly, "At the end of the day, this is my movie."

Who is writing and producing Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom?

In addition to bringing back Jason Momoa and James Wan for "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom," the film also heralds the return of screenwriter David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick — a longtime collaborator of Wan's and the writer behind the original "Aquaman" film.

Aside from "Lost Kingdom," Johnson-McGoldrick has also written screenplays for films like "Wrath of the Titans," and "The Conjuring 2" and television shows like "The Walking Dead." In addition to writing the script, Johnson-McGoldrick helped develop the story alongside James Wan, "Braven" screenwriter Thomas Pa'a Sibbett, and Jason Momoa himself. Speaking at Brazil's CCXP convention, Momoa said of this experience, "There's a lot of things you want to do and fulfill as an actor, and also for the fans, and for myself. When we finished the first [movie], I had a lot of ideas. And I started to put them down, just put down in my heart and my love for the character. Then we got a meeting with DC and Warners and James [Wan]. ... And they responded really well to it, and then James liked a lot of ideas, and then they took that and ran with it and took it to another level."

The producers behind "Lost Kingdom" include James Wan, Rob Cowan, and Peter Safran (who is also helming the new DC Universe with James Gunn), while the film's executive producers are Galen Vaisman, Walter Hamada, and Michael Clear.

Is there a trailer for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom?

In the first official trailer for "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom," it seems like things are going pretty great for Arthur Curry. After spending so many years as a wanderer, he's finally got everything together. The man has a wife, a kid, and a new job — running Atlantis. However, the calm always comes right before the storm, and Aquaman's wonderful new life is thrown into chaos with the emergence of his old foe, Black Manta. 

Covered in scars from his last encounter with Arthur, the villain isn't keeping his intentions a secret. "I'm going to kill Aquaman and destroy everything he holds dear," he says matter-of-factly. "I'm going to murder his family and burn his kingdom to ash." Wow. Tell us how you really feel.

Black Manta plans on achieving his murderous goals with the help of the black trident, a cursed weapon possessing some powerful dark magic. At one point, we're told he "plans to end the bloodline," which might be bad news for Aquaman's newborn baby. However, Aquaman won't take this sitting down and joins up with his scraggly-looking brother, Orm, to dish out Atlantean justice. The rest of the trailer ought to get DC fans pumped, as it features giant sea monsters, fantastical worlds, undersea battles, and plenty of fun interactions between Arthur and his very irritated sibling.

What will Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom be rated?

While there have been a few exceptions here and there — such as the R-rated "Zack Snyder's Justice League" — most DCEU movies come ready to rock with a PG-13 rating. After all, it's the sweet spot for blockbuster success. It's just edgy enough so you know there's some violence and mild cursing, but it's tame enough so kids and teens can watch. All the highest-grossing movies are PG-13, and that's also true for DC titles such as "Wonder Woman," "Man of Steel," and the OG "Aquaman."

So it should come as no surprise that "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" will be rated PG-13. The aquatic adventure earned that rating due to "sci-fi violence and some language." Basically, expect the exact same sort of content you saw in the first "Aquaman" film, and chances are good that you won't be shocked by anything you see on the screen.

Where to watch the first Aquaman

It's been quite a while since Arthur Curry has gotten his own solo film. Not counting his appearance in "Zack Snyder's Justice League" or a quick cameo in "The Flash," the last time we saw our favorite fishy hero was all the way back in 2018.

Needless to say, a lot happened in "Aquaman," from Arthur battling his brother to making an enemy for life out of Black Manta. If your memory's a bit hazy about what went down — or if you've not yet witnessed the wonders of an octopus playing drums or ever heard Julie Andrews of "Sound of Music" fame voicing a massive kraken — then perhaps it's time to give "Aquaman" a watch.

You can find the original film on several different platforms. You can stream "Aquaman" on Prime Video, TruTV, and Max (which is also home to many other DCEU films), or if you'd rather rent the film, it's available on sites such as Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube, and Vudu for $3.99.

Where was Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom filmed?

After the film's title announcement earlier that month, production for "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" began inlate June 2021. While the first film was shot in Australia, Italy, and Morocco, "The Lost Kingdom" began production in the United Kingdom where the vast majority — "95% of the film," according to director James Wan on Instagram – was shot. While not much is known about where exactly production for the "Aquaman" sequel took place, there are reports that the film shot in London specifically.

With so much of "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" taking place underwater (at least, from what we can gather based on the trailers), it makes sense that the picture would shoot at Warner Bros. Studios in London, something that fans taking the studio tour confirmed back in July 2022. Though principal photography had wrapped six months earlier, additional reshoots with Ben Affleck's Batman (more on that in a bit) took place in the summer of 2022.

Beyond Europe, "The Lost Kingdom" spent some time in the United States, particularly the West Coast. Throughout the back half of 2021, Los Angeles and Hawaiian units shot additional material, with lead stars Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson seen on set in Malibu on the very last day of principal photography. Reportedly, parts of the upcoming sequel were also filmed in New Jersey.

Which DC stories is The Lost Kingdom based on?

As a part of unofficial Hollywood law, most comic book and superhero movies generally derive their plots from the original source material. "The Dark Knight" was based in part on "Batman: The Long Halloween," "The Avengers" was inspired by "The Ultimates," and even "Zack Snyder's Justice League" takes some cues from Geoff Johns' "New 52" take on the team. It shouldn't come as a surprise that "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" does the same.

At the end of the trailer for the movie, Warner Bros. and DC Comics promoted a few graphic novels that showcase the recent history of our favorite Atlantian king. "The Trench" and "War for the Throne" are both stories written by DC scribe Geoff Johns when he reinvented Aquaman for a modern audience. The third book, "The Drowning," was helmed by Dan Abnett and set during the "DC Rebirth" era, which sought to combine the traditional DC status quo with modern stories in a blended universe. "The Drowning" is also notable due to Arthur's attempts to make peace between his undersea people and the surface world.

Of course, these aren't the only Aquaman stories that likely inspired "The Lost Kingdom," but given that they're being officially promoted by the film, there's probably a strong correlation. Additionally, it seems like the events of "Adventure Comics #452" may come into play here, but we'll explore that tale a bit more later on.

Where in the DCEU timeline is this set?

It's no secret that the DC Extended Universe timeline is a bit of a mess. Despite starting out strong with a clear vision for a more mature take on the franchise, everything after "Justice League" (ironically including the theatrical cut of the 2017 film) feels pretty disjointed. Not even Zack Snyder's long-anticipated director's cut of "Justice League" could fix the DCEU, leaving its fate up in the air until James Gunn and Peter Safran took over in 2023 and axed it for good.

Following "Man of Steel" was "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" in 2016, which marked the first appearance of Jason Momoa's Aquaman, and the following year brought "Justice League." After that, the Atlantian his own feature film in 2018, which is set about a year after Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) attacked Earth and the Justice League was formed. In the years following, the DCEU opted to highlight characters such as Shazam (Zachary Levi), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), and Peacemaker (John Cena) in a variety of projects leading into the 2020s.

Taking place around the events of 2022's "Black Adam" and 2023's "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" — and possibly after 2023's "The Flash," though that hasn't been confirmed — the "Aquaman" sequel continues Arthur's story as the DCEU closes shop. Where "Blue Beetle" fits into all this, we don't know, but we know that "The Lost Kingdom" marks the official end of the DCEU.

When did we last see Aquaman?

Before we jump into the final DCEU adventure, it might be worth going back and taking a look at where our favorite live-action Aquaman has been. After his brief "found footage" cameo in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and an even quicker cameo via a photograph in "Suicide Squad," Jason Momoa made his first official appearance in 2017's "Justice League." When Batman first meets him, Arthur is disillusioned and depressed, having been cast out by his own people. It's only after meeting others like him and saving the world that he sees the value in being a hero and a king.

A year later, Arthur is confronted by Mera (Amber Heard) and Vulko (Willem Dafoe), who need his help to save Atlantis. Arthur's half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) is quickly running the kingdom into the ground and aims to declare war on the surface world. This leads to Arthur and Mera discovering the Trident of Atlan, finding his mother Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), and reclaiming the throne after defeating Orm. "Aquaman" ends with Arthur now ruling as the king of Atlantis while superheroing in his off time.

Unfortunately, Aquaman doesn't appear much in the DCEU after that. He's mentioned here or there in movies like "Shazam!," but it wasn't until a cameo in the Season 1 finale of "Peacemaker" that Momoa returned to the role, alongside Ezra Miller's Flash. Speaking of, Arthur drunkenly reunites with Barry Allen at the end of "The Flash" too, which is fitting given how that movie wraps up.

Did The Flash affect Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom?

"Four years ago, I was basically unemployed," Arthur Curry says at the beginning of the "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" trailer, noting that in that time he's become a hero, a king, a husband, and a father. If we take that to its logical conclusion, that means that "The Lost Kingdom" takes place in 2022, four years after 2018's "Aquaman." Despite hitting theaters in December 2023, Aquaman's second solo on-screen adventure presumably takes place an entire year prior, by the trailer's own admission. This makes sense when we consider that the flick was supposed to drop in 2022.

So with that in mind, how does Aquaman's previous on-screen cameo in "The Flash" factor into the next movie? Well, it really doesn't, or at least it shouldn't. Since the events of "The Lost Kingdom" seemingly occur in 2022, Barry's time-traveling adventures — which jump between the 2023 present and the 2013 past — should hold no bearing on what happens to Arthur and his family this time around. Although, Arthur's drunkenness in "The Flash" might be a warning for what's to come in the sequel.

Of course, if "The Lost Kingdom" takes place in Barry's new "revised timeline," there could be some minor changes, but given that the Flash seems confident that Aquaman is the exact same, it's unlikely his history was altered. Hopefully, Barry's antics didn't mess up Arthur's life any more than usual.

Wait, why isn't Batman in Aquaman 2 anymore?

Before James Gunn and Peter Safran opted against saving the DCEU, the franchise was going in a very different direction following the events of "The Flash." Following his turn in "The Flash," Michael Keaton's Batman was set to appear in "Aquaman 2," as well as in the now-scrapped "Batgirl" movie.

But other plans were made. There was a time when "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" was meant to premiere before the events of "The Flash," and because of that, reshoots were made to replace Keaton's cameo with Ben Affleck's version of the character. Of course, fans were excited by the news, and many had hope that the DCEU was about to find its footing again, especially after Henry Cavill's way-too-brief return as Superman at the end of "Black Adam." And then Gunn and Safran came in.

DC Films became DC Studios, and the DCEU was retconned in favor of the upcoming DC Universe, which aims to reboot the live-action franchise anew with a brand new Batman and Superman. Needless to say, Batman's cameo — be it Affleck or Keaton — is deep underwater.

Why isn't Willem Dafoe in The Lost Kingdom?

In the first "Aquaman," we learn all about young Arthur's journey to becoming the man who eventually helps save the world and unite the kingdoms of Atlantis. Invaluable in his formation from a troubled youth to kingly material is Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe), who watches out for Arthur throughout his whole life. Originally meant to appear in "Justice League" (he does appear in the Snyder Cut), Vulko makes his first official DCEU appearance in "Aquaman," where he helps Arthur take the throne.

Fans may be disappointed to learn that Dafoe won't be returning as Vulko in "Aquaman 2," though it's not because he's off playing the Green Goblin for Marvel again. According to director James Wan, Vulko's absence is due to a scheduling conflict. "Part of the reason was because [Dafoe's] schedule did not work out for us," Wan told Entertainment Weekly in September 2023. "But what that allowed me to do was expand on Atlanna's role. Atlanna in this one ultimately becomes Arthur's advisor."

Traditionally, Vulko serves as Aquaman's faithful advisor in the world of DC Comics, but here on the screen, it seems that Nichole Kidman's Atlanna will fill that role instead. It's fitting, though, and allows Arthur and his mother the much-needed face time that they've been deprived of for so long. Still, it's sad we won't see Dafoe return. Maybe if there's another "Aquaman" movie in the future...

What is the Lost Kingdom, anyway?

In the first "Aquaman," it's revealed that there are seven kingdoms of Atlantis. As its king, Arthur's quest to unite them is near the top of his to-do list, but we're a bit fuzzy on what the seventh kingdom might actually be. Of course, there's Atlantis itself, and we soon learn of the others, which include Xebel (where Mera's family hails from), the Kingdom of the Fishermen, the Kingdom of the Brine, the Kingdom of the Deserters, and the monstrous Trench.

According to the canon children's novel "Aquaman: Arthur's Guide to Atlantis," a young Arthur once asked Vulko about the fate of the Lost Nation. Vulko explains that nobody knows. The Lost Nation will likely be explored in full in the next "Aquaman" movie, but if you're looking for a clear basis as to who they might be from DC Comics history, well, you may be out of luck.

Though Atlantis, Xebel, the Trench, and the Deserters were all addressed in the DC continuity prior to the 2018 film, the comic book versions of the final three kingdoms weren't revealed until afterward in the "Echoes of A Life Lived Well" arc. The Brine is the first, being transplanted into the comics from the DCEU, and the Kingdom of the Wrights and the Kingdom of the Sea Lights followed. The Wrights are a bunch of underwater rodents, while the Sea Lights are strange bioluminescent humanoids. More than likely, the film will take a completely different approach.

Does Aquaman have a son in the comics?

In the trailer for "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom," Arthur and Mera are married, and they have a son of their own. This begs the question if what we see in "The Lost Kingdom" is in line with what happens in the comics. Like anything that deals with Aquaman's comic book history, it's somewhat complicated, but there are clear answers. In 1965, "Aquaman #23" hit stores, and "Aquababy" was born. Seriously, that was the nickname for Arthur Curry, Jr., the firstborn son of Aquaman and Mera.

Unfortunately, the happy family didn't stay happy forever. In the aforementioned "Adventure Comics #452," Aquaman and Aqualad are forced into a battle to the death by Black Manta, who uses young Arthur Jr. as leverage. As expected, Aquaman defeats Manta, but at a terrible price. His son is ultimately killed by the supervillain, suffocating as a result of his captivity. This drives a wedge between Aquaman and Mera for decades (in our time, anyway). Eventually, though, they're able to rekindle and save their marriage.

Aquaman has other children too. Aqualad, aka Garth (later Tempest) was considered Aquaman and Mera's adopted son, while A.J. was their second child together years later. Arthur also had a child named Koryak with an Inuit woman at some point, and in the current DC Rebirth continuity, Aquaman and Mera only have a daughter named Andrina.

Does Black Manta have superpowers?

Also appearing in the trailer for "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" is Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who swore vengeance on Aquaman back in the first movie after the superhero refused to save his dying father. Of course, the comic book version of their rivalry is much darker than that, with Aquaman purposely killing Manta's father in revenge following his own father's death. Additionally, recent comics have revealed that Manta (whose real name is David Hyde) is actually a long-lost descendant of the Kingdom of the Deserters.

In the DCEU, however, Manta seems to be completely human (for now), which puts him at a significant disadvantage when facing off against a superhero like Aquaman. Therefore, using Atlantean technology gifted to him by Ocean Master, Manta has sworn revenge on his adversary. But this time around, Black Manta's abilities have been upgraded, seemingly through the use of the previously unseen Black Trident. This magical artifact originates from the time of the first King Atlan and seems to give the one who wields it incredible powers.

Though it's unlikely a direct adaptation of either, this new Black Trident seems to borrow from two different weapons from Aquaman's comic book adventuress: the Trident of Triton and the Dead King's Scepter. Triton's trident simply directed the Olympian's power, while the Dead King's Scepter gave the user control of the sea. From what we see of the Black Trident in the trailer, it may even unleash the dead (among other things).

Why isn't Mera in the trailer much?

Despite being mentioned elsewhere in the "Aquaman 2" trailer, Mera only appears once in the entire thing, with a brief glimpse at her as she attempts to break into some sort of underwater craft. While it might be easy to immediately blame her lack of screen time in the trailer (and possibly the finished film as well) on the recent and very public defamation trial between Amber Heard and her ex-husband Johnny Depp, that might not be the full story.

"[Jason Momoa and Amber Heard] didn't really have a lot of chemistry together," Warner Bros. executive Walter Hamada said back in 2022 (via The Independent). "The reality is, it's not uncommon on movies for two leads to not have chemistry." Hamada added that a lot of their "chemistry" was developed off-set during post-production, making us wonder how much Mera will appear in "The Lost Kingdom" at all. But, according to director James Wan, this was always the plan for the sequel.

"I always pitched this to everyone from the get-go," Wan explained to Entertainment Weekly. "The first 'Aquaman' was Arthur and Mera's journey. The second movie was always going to be Arthur and Orm. So, the first was a romance action-adventure movie, the second one is a bromance action-adventure movie." This makes a lot of sense when you consider the way the first "Aquaman" ends.

Will The Lost Kingdom be scary?

This might seem like a strange question to ask about an "Aquaman" sequel given that the first film wasn't particularly frightening, but it's valid when you consider director James Wan's greater filmography. A modern master of horror, Wan rose to international acclaim when he co-created and directed the very first "Saw" back in 2004. The film was so popular that a sequel was greenlit every year for the next six years until "Saw 3D" in 2010. But even then, Wan's time with the genre had only just begun.

In 2010, Wan directed the first "Insidious," which starred future "Aquaman" actor  Patrick Wilson and spawned a plethora of sequels. A few years later in 2013, Wan directed "The Conjuring," which likewise sparked an entire cinematic universe. Since then, he's worked on several other horror movies, including 2021's "Malignant." No wonder Wan used his trademark horror techniques during the Trench sequence in the first "Aquaman."

So when the trailer for "The Lost Kingdom" shows an undead army controlled by Black Manta? Well, it's no wonder Wan admitted to adding a certain horror flare back into the sequel. "Just like the first movie had a touch of my horror sensibility, you know, in regards to the Trench sequence, I would say there will be a little bit of that in this next one," Wan said at 2020's DC Fandome event.

Is the Trench spin-off still happening?

Following the release of the first "Aquaman" in 2018, James Wan announced the development of a horror-infused spin-off centered around the Trench. These sea-dwelling beasts first appeared in Geoff Johns' "Aquaman" run during the "New 52" rebrand, and they've since risen to popularity after appearing in live action.

"We always, even from the early concept art days, loved the idea of a 'Trenchmovie," producer Peter Safran told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019, revealing that "The Trench" was meant to arrive in theaters before "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom." But only two years later, Walter Hamada shook things up with the DC brand, axing the project. While that was disappointing news in and of itself, fans became even more disillusioned after Wan commented further that October.

"I'll let you in on a secret, the canceled Trench spin-off movie was really going to be a secret Black Manta movie," Wan revealed in an Instagram comment under a post showcasing Black Manta's new look for the sequel. No doubt, fans of the DC supervillain were floored by this news, which only proves that Wan had even bigger plans for the character and the greater Aqua-verse. It's too bad the same couldn't be said about Warner Bros.

Where does Aquaman: King of Atlantis factor in?

Bet you didn't know that "Aquaman" was originally followed up by a comedic three-part animated mini-series for what was then called HBO Max in 2021, did you? Executive produced by none other than James Wan himself, this animated spin-off picks up immediately after the 2018 film with Aquaman's first day on the job as King of Atlantis. Unsurprisingly, Jason Momoa doesn't reprise the DC superhero here, instead being replaced by Cooper Andrews of "The Walking Dead" and "Shazam!" fame. 

But how canon is this show, really? Though it borrows from the events of the DCEU, it's not canon with its live-action counterpart. For starters, Ocean Master (voiced here by Dana Snyder) isn't imprisoned by the Atlantian forces as we see in the trailer for "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom." Instead, he's allowed to roam semi-free as his half-brother rules from the palace, causing trouble for Aquaman every chance he gets. 

Beyond that, the zany cartoon tone of the series is a bit of a departure from the DCEU as a whole, even if "Aquaman" does lean a bit more into the comedy than most. Though "King of Atlantis" serves as a hilarious animated trilogy, it's not necessary viewing for the upcoming "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" — just a fun detour for younger fans enamored by the character.

Will Jason Momoa return as Aquaman in the DCU?

With the news that both Batman and Superman would be recast for the DC Universe reboot and reports that Gal Gadot likely isn't returning as Wonder Woman, it's understandable that fans would wonder about the fate of Jason Momoa's Aquaman. With DC's biggest hitters being tossed to the wayside in favor of new, updated models, chances are that the beloved King of Atlantis will be next. "The Flash" may have kept Ezra Miller's Barry Allen and Jason Momoa's Arthur Curry around for now, but things could quickly change.

"I'll always be Aquaman," Momoa told Variety in January 2023 following the news of James Gunn and Peter Safran's new plans. "Ain't anyone coming in there and taking s**t. There might be some other characters, too. I can play other things, too. I can be funny and savage and charming." At least in Momoa's eyes, there are no plans for any other Aquamen in the near future.

"Jason always thought Aquaman was a trilogy, in his own mind," Peter Safran told io9 in early 2023. "But he also loves Lobo. He's been very clear about that, too. He's never going to play two characters, but..." James Gunn then interrupted Safran, saying, "We'll figure it out after 'Aquaman 2.'" For now, we'll just have to wait and see what will become of Momoa's Aquaman.

Will there be another Aquaman sequel?

One of the biggest questions on fans' minds concerning "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" is whether it will get a follow-up of its own. More than likely, that will depend on how well the blockbuster does in theaters this Christmas, but that may not be the only competing factor.

"I'm aware of [the impending DCU reboot]. I mean, I use the analogy that I'm living in a house that's getting renovated," James Wan told Screen Rant in September 2023. "But the beauty about Aquaman is that we've always designed these two films to be within their own world." Given Wan's confidence, it's possible that future installments could go the way of Matt Reeves' out-of-continuity project "The Batman" — an easy way to keep Momoa around. But that doesn't mean the horror-turned-superhero director wants to go a third round in the ring.

"Oh, buddy," Wan told Entertainment Weekly when asked if he'd want to do a third "Aquaman" feature. "I don't know. This film has taken up so, so much of my life, so much of my time, all I can think about now is taking a long break." One can hardly blame him. Production was stalled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, his Black Manta-centered spin-off "The Trench" was canceled, and the entire DCEU went up in flames. It's entirely possible that this could be the end of Aquaman's on-screen adventures, though we certainly hope for more.

How does The Lost Kingdom lead into Superman: Legacy?

While James Wan might see his "Aquaman" movies as their own thing apart from the greater DCEU or DCU, it's clear that Warner Bros. and the folks at DC Studios don't see it the same way. When asked about the four DC-related movies of 2023, James Gunn offered an explanation for how they'll fit into his larger plans. "I think that we've gotten lucky with the next four movies," he told io9. "We have 'Shazam,' which leads into 'Flash,' which resets everything, which then goes into 'Blue Beetle,' which is totally disconnected, [and that] goes into 'Aquaman,' which leads into 'Superman,' our first big project.

How exactly "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" connects to a movie like "Superman: Legacy" is currently unknown. The Gunn-helmed reboot is meant to propel the Man of Steel into a new universe that also includes heroes such as Hawkgirl and the Guy Gardner Green Lantern. It's possible that the "Aquaman" sequel could easily fit into Gunn's newly minted DCU, especially if he wants this interpretation of Aquaman to be a building block for his larger universe. 

Of course, given how popular multiverses are nowadays, there's always that avenue, though it seems that Gunn wants to stay away from other worlds for now. "Superman: Legacy" will follow a younger Superman in an even younger universe, which makes one wonder how an experienced Aquaman might fit in.