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New Aquaman 2 Footage Teases Interesting Alliance And A Seriously Upgraded Black Manta

Scripted content for TBS and TNT may be no more with the merger of Discovery and Warner Bros. (via The A.V. Club), but CinemaCon showed that the Warner Bros. movies are not slowing down. With news about a sequel to "The Batman," updates on "Barbie," "Wonka," "Shazam: Fury of the Gods," and "Black Adam," it seemed like we couldn't ask for more. Then came updates for James Wan's sequel to the hit "Aquaman" movie, titled "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom."

When Aquaman was announced as the next superhero from the DC pages to get his own film over half a decade ago, you could almost hear the collective groan from comic fans. Let's face it, Arthur Curry had never really been given much of a chance in mainstream media. Diehard fans knew of his potential, but the casual comic fan only saw the blonde hero skiing in on the backs of dolphins. What we got instead was a Khal Drogo-style Jason Mamoa in a movie helmed by horror guru Wan ("Saw," "Insidious," "The Conjuring"). It turned out to be one of the more loved installments in the DC Extended Universe, and we've been eagerly awaiting more information on the sequel.

Warner Bros. listened, as they came up big with some updates that will get Aqua-fans salivating for the release. Here is what the new footage of the sequel reveals about the next movie taking place deep underwater.

The main villain is a bigger and badder Black Manta

One of the most dynamic characters of "Aquaman" is David Kane, a.k.a. Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). He is introduced early in the film when Arthur Curry stops him and his father from hijacking a Russian submarine. When the elder Kane is killed in the confrontation, Abdul-Mateen II's character vows revenge.

Even though the film's version of the character ignores one of the comic counterpart's traits that would have made him a revolutionary addition to the superhero genre (he has autism in the comics), Abdul-Mateen II's version is still arguably the most intriguing part of the film. What starts as a run-of-the-mill revenge story builds up to a surface battle in a Sicilian sea town, which consists of soldiers bashing through walls and destroying everything in their paths and remains one of the better battles of the DCEU. At CinemaCon, James Wan revealed we're about to see an even bigger and badder version of the character.

Germain Lussier took to Twitter to relay what he saw in the footage, saying, "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom footage showed Black Manta leading what looks like an army. He's at the helm of some big ship." An upgraded Black Manta sounds promising for comic book fans everywhere. Regardless of the muted version of Black Manta we got in the first film, the follow-up looks to make good on one of Aquaman's deadliest enemies.

The enemy of my enemy

In some ways, Aquaman in the DCEU feels like the Warner Bros. equivalent to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Thor. He is a risen king from a mythical kingdom thrust into a battle for the safety of Earth. One other similarity that Aquaman has with Thor is the peskiness of his brother and the complicated relationship between them.

In "Aquaman," King Orm (Patrick Wilson) sits in Arthur's rightful place on the throne and is ready to bring war to the surface world in response to humans militarizing and polluting the ocean. The first film ends with a battle of epic proportions for the throne, during which Arthur Curry seizes his destiny to be crowned king. Wilson's portrayal of Orm played well off of Jason Mamoa, and their chemistry as estranged brothers is promised to evolve in the follow-up. Erik Davis gave his reaction to James Wan's footage on Twitter, writing, "James Wan just dropped a new featurette for #AquamanAndTheLostKingdom, which looked rad. Aquaman & King Orm must work together to take down a Black Manta who has evolved & is way more dangerous than before. Jason Momoa says it'll be the biggest film of 2023." 

The revelation that Orm and Curry will be teaming up to take on a more dangerous enemy gives us serious "Thor: Dark World" vibes, as the villainous brother embarks on a road of redemption by helping take down the enemy. Another parallel to the MCU villain — could we be primed for another antihero that will stick around for the entirety of the DCEU? With Wan at the helm again and the main cast returning, "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" is shaping up to be a sequel worthy of a king.