Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom filmmaker James Wan has told EW that he did not oversee extensive reshoots for his superhero sequel. In July, The Hollywood Reporter published an article about the Aquaman sequel which revealed the post-production process had included three rounds of additional photography. While Wan doesn't deny that figure, he insists the number of reshoots was caused by a piecemeal schedule caused by the in-demand status of the film's cast — which includes Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, and Nicole Kidman — rather than any substantial problems with the movie.
"We have big actors in this movie, and everyone's schedule is really hard," he says. "So, we had to break up our shooting schedule into sections. We'll shoot a bit here now, because this actor's available, and then we'll do another shoot now, because this guy's available. People are like, 'Oh, they're doing a whole bunch of different shoots!' No. If we actually combined them all together, it's actually not that many number of days at all."
Wan has mined gold from additional photography before. One of the supernatural antagonists in his 2018 horror film The Conjuring 2 was supposed to be what the director recently described to EW as "this big demon." ("I shot it that way, and then when I got into post-production, it just felt too much.") The director instead created the character of the Demon Nun, played by Bonnie Aarons, amid reshoots. That character would go on to star in her own successful spinoff, 2018's The Nun, as well as its sequel, The Nun II, which is currently the No. 1 film in the country following the film's release last week.
Warner Bros. Pictures Jason Momoa in 'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom'
Today, the director says, for him, "additional photography is never a negative thing." He elaborates, "I find new things and I come up with new ideas. The Conjuring 2 was the perfect example of me putting the whole movie together and then — bing! — a lightbulb went off in my head and I go, 'I know what I need to do.' Same here as well."
The THR article also claimed that Wan's fellow filmmaker James Gunn, who became co-CEO of DC Studios last year, had "weighed in" on Aquaman 2, something else the director doesn't deny while asserting that the end product is very much his vision. "I've known James since way back, right?" Wan says. "We're horror guys, and so I'm definitely open to ideas. But, at the end of the day, this is my movie."
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom stars Momoa as the titular, water-fueled superhero Arthur Curry and Wilson as his scheming half-brother Orm. At the end of 2018's Aquaman, Arthur defeated Orm and became King of Atlantis, while Wilson's character was led away to prison. In Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the feuding siblings form an uneasy partnership to take on another of the first film's big bads, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's Black Manta, a vengeance-seeking and now hugely powerful supervillain in possession of the Black Trident, which gives him the ability to command an ancient evil.
For more exclusive intel on Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, read EW's deep dive into the sequel, which swims into theaters this Dec. 20.