Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics character Aquaman. Produced by DC Films, The Safran Company, and Atomic Monster Productions, and set for distribution by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is intended to be the sequel to Aquaman (2018) and the thirteenth film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The film will be directed by James Wan from a screenplay written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, and stars Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry / Aquaman alongside Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
|Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom|
|Directed by||James Wan|
|Screenplay by||David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick|
from DC Comics
|Music by||Rupert Gregson-Williams|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
Momoa pitched a story for an Aquaman sequel during production of the first film, but Wan did not want to rush the next film. He agreed to oversee development of the sequel in January 2019, with Johnson-McGoldrick signed to write the screenplay a month later. Wan was confirmed to be directing the film in August 2020, and said it would expand on the worldbuilding of the first Aquaman. He announced the title for the sequel in June 2021, with filming beginning later that month in London.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is scheduled to be released on December 16, 2022.
- Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry / Aquaman: The half-Atlantean/half-human king of Atlantis who can swim at supersonic speeds and communicate with aquatic life.
- Amber Heard as Mera: The princess of Xebel and daughter of King Nereus. She can control water with hydrokinesis and communicate with other Atlanteans telepathically.
- Patrick Wilson as Orm Marius / Ocean Master: Arthur's Atlantean half-brother and the former king of Atlantis.
- Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus: The king of Xebel and Mera's father.
- Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as David Kane / Black Manta: A ruthless pirate and high-seas mercenary who uses an Atlantean-powered suit. Kane wants to kill Aquaman as revenge for the death of his father.
- Temuera Morrison as Thomas Curry: Arthur's father, a lighthouse keeper.
Also appearing are Randall Park as Dr. Stephen Shin, a marine biologist obsessed with finding Atlantis; Vincent Regan as Atlan, the first king of Atlantis; Jani Zhao as Stingray; Indya Moore as Karshon; and Pilou Asbæk in an undisclosed role.
During the making of Aquaman (2018), star Jason Momoa developed a story pitch for a sequel that he gave to Warner Bros. Entertainment chairman Toby Emmerich and producer Peter Safran. In October 2018, before the film's release, Momoa said he would be more involved in the development of a potential sequel and expected filming to begin in 2019. Director James Wan said there were several storylines that could spin out from Aquaman, with that film introducing seven underwater kingdoms that had yet to be explored fully. By early December, Emmerich had enough confidence in box office projections for the film to begin discussing a sequel, and by the end of January, when Aquaman was set to become the highest-grossing film based on a single DC Comics character, Warner Bros. was in negotiations with Wan to oversee the development and writing of a sequel with the potential to return as director. Geoff Boucher of Deadline Hollywood noted that Wan had been very protective of sequels to his previous films Insidious (2010) and The Conjuring (2013), and was "deeply invested" in the worldbuilding of Aquaman, which he had compared to Middle-earth, the Star Wars galaxy, and the Wizarding World.
Warner Bros. hired Noah Gardner and Aidan Fitzgerald in early February 2019 to write the script for an Aquaman spin-off film titled The Trench, based on one of the kingdoms introduced in the first film. The film was expected to have a smaller budget and not feature the main cast of Aquaman, with Wan and Safran producing. Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter reported then that there had not yet been serious discussions about a direct sequel to Aquaman between the studio, Wan, and Momoa, due to them wanting to have a "breather" first, but several days later he reported that active development on a sequel was getting underway with the first film's co-writer, and frequent Wan collaborator, David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick signing on to write the screenplay. Wan and Safran were set to produce the sequel, though it was still unclear if Wan would direct it. At the end of February, Warner Bros. scheduled Aquaman 2 for release on December 16, 2022. In March, Safran explained that he and Wan did not want to rush a sequel, and Warner Bros. had been supportive of that which is why the film's release was scheduled for four years after the first film. He added that they were approaching the Aquaman franchise in a similar way to the Conjuring Universe, with spin-offs like The Trench exploring stories about the underwater kingdoms alongside the "mothership" films starring Aquaman. Safran noted that Wan knew "the architecture, the armory, the military, the look, the feel, the general vibe" of each of the seven kingdoms and wanted to explore them all in future projects.
In July 2019, Wan was set to direct the film Malignant (2021) before beginning work on Aquaman 2. Patrick Wilson said in November that he had discussed plans for the sequel with Wan and indicated that he would be reprising his role as Orm Marius / Ocean Master from the first film. A month later, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II confirmed that he was returning as David Kane / Black Manta, and was looking to flesh out the character's personality and journey. Johnson-McGoldrick stated in March 2020 that the sequel would not be based on a specific comic book, but was taking inspiration from the Aquaman stories of the Silver Age of Comic Books that featured Black Manta as the villain. Wan was confirmed to be directing the sequel at the virtual DC FanDome event in August, when he said it would be more serious than the first film and feature themes that were more relevant to the real world. He added that it would include more worldbuilding and exploration of the underwater kingdoms, and would feature some horror elements similar to the Trench sequence in the first film. Being able to expand on the worldbuilding of the first film was one of the key reasons that Wan chose to direct the sequel, along with Johnson-McGoldrick's script which Wan felt had a "really cool story to bring all these characters back, and then growing them in a big way, and taking them to the next level or the next chapter of their lives."
Amber Heard debunked rumors in November that she would not be reprising her role as Mera from the first film following allegations of domestic abuse made against her by her ex-husband Johnny Depp. That month, a petition to have Heard fired from the franchise received more than 1.5 million signatures, and came after Warner Bros. decided to remove Depp from Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022) when allegations of abuse made by The Sun were ruled to be "substantially true". Safran said Heard's return was right for the film and they never considered making it without her. He added that they would not react to the "pure fan pressure" of the petition and other social media conversations.
Dolph Lundgren said in February 2021 that he was reprising his role as King Nereus in the sequel, with filming expected to begin later that year in London. A month later, the planned start date for filming was revealed to be in June, though there was potential for this to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, Warner Bros. and DC announced that development on The Trench was no longer moving forward, with the studios not having room for the spin-off on their slate of films and believing Aquaman 2 to be enough of an expansion of the franchise for the time being. Later that month, Pilou Asbæk entered talks to join the film's cast. Momoa said in May that he would begin filming in July, and Wan announced a month later that the sequel was titled Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, with Temuera Morrison confirming his return as Aquaman's father Thomas Curry.
Principal photography began on June 28, 2021, in London under the working title Necrus. Don Burgess returned as cinematographer from the first film.[better source needed] In August, Wan said the sequel was strongly influenced by the film Planet of the Vampires (1965). Filming took place at Saunton Sands beach, Devon, in early September. Later that month, Asbæk's casting was confirmed; Randall Park was revealed to be returning from the first film as Dr. Stephen Shin; Vincent Regan had been cast as the ancient king Atlan, replacing Graham McTavish who briefly portrayed the character in the first film; Jani Zhao was set to portray Stingray, an original character for the film, in her first English-language feature role; and Indya Moore was revealed to be portraying Karshon in the sequel.
Wan and Wilson teased plans for the film in a panel at the virtual DC FanDome event in August 2020. A year later, at DC FanDome 2021, concept art and behind-the-scenes footage from filming was revealed.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is scheduled to be released in the United States on December 16, 2022.
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