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Justice League Costume Designer Shares Alternate Aquaman Look

The DCEU's Arthur Curry almost looked a heck of a lot more like the version from the comics.

Justice League costume designer Michael Wilkinson's original design for Aquaman (Jason Momoa) in the 2017 team-up film has leaked online, and it has fans of DC comics freaking out. The alternate look is far more comics-accurate than the design we eventually got — and we know what you're thinking, but it's actually a lot cooler than that makes it sound.

Twitter user @dudeseid shared a pair of images signed by Wilkinson — a "dry land" version and an "underwater" version. Both feature Momoa with the long, flowing hair and bushy beard that we're used to from his interpretation of the character (no clean-cut, freshly shaven, blond Aquaman here), but the costume design is quite a bit different from the one that ended up in the final cut of Justice League. Not only is it closer to the design from the comics, it also foreshadows the different look Momoa would eventually sport in his solo flick, 2018's Aquaman.

The suit features a bright orange top and green bottom, both rendered as a type of armor that happens to closely resemble fish scales. The boots have the distinctive fin on the back, and the underwater version also features a plain, brown strap across the chest — probably meant for stashing Curry's trident when it's not in use.

It's a pretty cool design, and a far cry from the drab, copper-and-brown, heavily armored look that Curry ended up with in Justice League. Of course, that look was a bit more in keeping with the grim 'n gritty tone of the film (and, well, pretty much all of the DCEU films up to that point), and at least we got to see Aquaman looking a bit more like himself in his considerably less gritty solo movie.

Aquaman's costume designer started from scratch

Oddly enough, it appears that the woman who designed Aquaman's new duds for the solo film, Kym Barrett, didn't take any inspiration from Wilkinson's initial design. Speaking with Fashionista in March 2019, Barrett said that she was inspired by the notion that Atlanteans, being underwater dwellers, would understandably fashion clothing that was reflective of their environment. "They can only be influenced by what they see around them," Barrett explained. "They see glistening fish scales and beautiful colors from coral and vegetation."

Barrett went on to divulge that the costumes designed for the Atlanteans in Aquaman were all practical in nature; none of them were enhanced by CGI, except in one obvious case. The elaborate gown worn by Mera (Amber Heard) for the gladitorial duel between Curry and King Orm (Patrick Wilson) required just a bit of enhancement.

"The bodice went all the way down to the bottom of her hips, and then we had green-screen legs on the bottom, like track pants," Barrett said. "So Amber had to put her heels on and do the scene in these weird green legs."

Otherwise, though, no CGI was required to render the costumes in Aquaman, which were specifically designed to appear as if they were being photographed underwater when, in fact, the flick's actors shot their "underwater" scenes on dry land in front of a green screen. This is no small feat — and it seems likely that Wilkinson's Justice League redesign may have had something to do with the difficulties involved in rendering Curry's fish scale armor properly.

Fortunately, the costume design crew for Aquaman 2 now has a blueprint to follow for making Momoa's superhero look as comics-accurate as possible. That flick is slated to debut on December 16, 2022.