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Willem Dafoe Explains His Aquaman Character's Origins

DC fans have been desperate for more information on the upcoming Aquaman, and today, Willem Dafoe delivered. Well, at least a little bit. 

Speaking with IGN, Dafoe opened up about his role as Vulko in the DC Extended Universe film, discussing the character's origins and heritage and how he might look on screen.

"Vulko is 100 percent Atlantean," Dafoe began. "So that's different, because [Aquaman] is half-Atlantean and half-human. So they're quite different and I'm capable of being outside of the water, but mostly it's underwater. And I'm a guy that's been around for a while. I have a kind of... let's call it an armor. It's a good look, I like it a lot."

Dafoe also admitted that he can't do his character much justice by simply describing how he looks. "The day that they show the shot of the character will accomplish more than I can by talking about it now," the actor said. I like the look very much." He then referenced a recently released Vulko toy, which features the character in a brown and gold armor suit with billowy, caped sleeves extending over angular arm gauntlets. However, this "doesn't look so much" like what Dafoe's Vulko looks like in the film. 

In DC Comics lore, Vulko, otherwise known as Nuidis Vulko, is the chief scientific adviser of Altantis and is arguably one of the most notorious academic and political figures in the area, as he's been involved with the majority of the political changes and revolutions the aquatic city has gone through. Vulko knew Aquaman's mother, was the former advisor to King Trevis, and was present when Aquaman was born. Vulko argued against leaving Aquaman to die, as he believed the Kordax curse to be nothing more than a superstition. Later in life, Vulko befriends Aquaman; when Aquaman claims his throne, he makes Vulko his regent. 

Dafoe confirming Vulko's Atlantean origin isn't exactly surprising, but what is interesting is how the actor's comments confirm parts of what was suggested by the Vulko toy. The character has been known to sport everyday attire, but also likes to wear intricate armor. However, Vulko is a scientist by nature, not a warrior. Aquaman could feature Vulko in surface world threads for the majority of the movie, which would tie into Dafoe's remark about the toy not looking much like the film version of the character. Or perhaps Vulko will go all out and wear armor the entire time. Either way, it seems that Dafoe's Vulko will be ready for battle when the moment strikes. 

What's less clear is which side Vulko will be on. The character's history and Atlantean heritage point to Vulko swearing to help Aquaman, but Ocean Master's evil turn in the film could pull Vulko to the dark side. Like Vulko, Ocean Master is a full Atlantean, so that could play a factor in a potential switching of teams. We'll simply have to wait and see what happens. 

Dafoe joins Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Amber Heard as Mera, Nicole Kidman as Aquaman's mother, Temuera Morrison as Aquaman's father, Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, Ludi Lin as Murk, and Patrick Wilson as Aquaman's villainous half-brother, Orm.

Aquaman swims into theaters on December 21, 2018. Between now and then, find out why Aquaman looks so familiar