Despite delays, and a couple of fun horror excursions, James Wan is back helming the king of Atlantis in a brand new film.
Aquaman was one of DC’s more successful film with audiences and critics, mixing big action with a fun, adventure tone and the occasional jump scare to remind us Wan is also a great horror filmmaker.
Read more: Every upcoming DC movie
So far, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom appears to be the final DCEU film before the new slate of the DCU comes into play.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom release date
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is set to be released in UK cinemas on 29 December, hoping to get into people’s hearts over the Christmas holidays.
Originally slated for released at Christmas 2022, the film has been delayed a number of times: first to March 2023, then to December 2023.
There’s still a lot of time between now and December and no word has been released on the film's runtime.
Is there a trailer for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom?
"I'm gonna kill Aquaman and destroy everything he holds dear..." fumes Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's Black Manta in the first full trailer for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom - and it sounds like he means business.
After delays, release date shuffles and plenty of trending water, DC fans finally got to dip their toes into Wan's Aquaman sequel in mid-September when the studio dropped its debut trailer.
In it, we find Mamoa's Arthur Curry settling into his new life - one that has finally been given purpose since he embraced his destiny as the new king of Atlantis. However, as with most comic book utopias, peace times don't last too long and before long, a new evil emerges - one that'll force Curry to reunite with old enemies in order to beat.
Watch the first trailer for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom below:
Despite the film's release date looming, other than one image of the new Aquaman suit, a title and new logo, audiences hadn't seen much in terms of clips and trailers for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom — so this trailer was a welcome addition.
Before it arrived, a teaser trailer for the trailer was revealed on Monday, 11 September which showed brief glimpses of the war that will break out over the course of the superhero movie.
Watch the teaser trailer below:
During Las Vegas' CinemaCon in late April 2023, attendees were treated to the debut airing of the film's first footage. In the debut trailer, reports suggest we see Momoa's Arthur Curry juggling dual lives as a father on land and royalty under the sea.
While Heard's Mera is apparently only seen in fleeting glimpses, some sites have theorised that her character may perish early on, forcing Curry to join forces with his half-brother Orm (Wilson), to face a new foe who has gained control of the Black Trident, Black Manta (Abdul-Mateen II).
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom cast
Aquaman’s sequel would feel empty without Aquaman so luckily Jason Momoa is back as half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur Curry, the king of Atlantis.
Also returning from the first film is Amber Heard as Xebel kingdom Princess — and love interest — Mera.
Also returning is Willem Dafoe as royal vizier Nuidis Vulko, Patrick Wilson as Curry’s half-brother and enemy Orm Marius.
Dolph Lundgren returns as Xebel king Nereus, Mera’s father, while Abdul-Mateen II returns as pirate enemy David Kane who adopts an armoured suit making him the Black Manta.
Temuera Morrison and Nicole Kidman reprise their roles as Arthur’s parents Thomas and Atlanna respectively, while Randall Park is back as Atlantis obsessive science Dr Stephen Shin.
Pilou Asbæk has been cast in an undisclosed role, while Vincent Regan will play Atlan, the first king of Atlantis and Ben Affleck will reportedly cameo as Bruce Wayne / Batman.
Indya Moore will portray Karshon, and Jani Zhao will play Stingray.
What is the plot of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom?
The plot is being kept under wraps at the moment, but will see Arthur don a new sleek black suit for his adventure.
Given Momoa has had a hand in the story writing process of the film, there is every chance that the film will be able to keep the fun and exciting tone of the first while moving it into more confidently darker territory like the Trench sequence in the first film.
Former DC Studios exec Walter Hamada described the film as "a buddy comedy" between Momoa's Aquaman and Patrick Wilson's King Orm.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom's journey to screen
As referenced in The Hollywood Reporter, Wan’s Aquaman sequel will be the only DC movie to have endured three different power changes at Warner Bros. The article also confirmed that a new batch of reshoots had taken place in New Zealand during mid-June that involved Momoa and Wilson. This marks the film’s third return in front of the camera to capture more scenes.
According to the same sources, multiple uninspiring test screenings were to blame for these new reshoots, with clarity surrounding the film's core storyline emerging as particular sticking points.
The presence of Batman was also a key area of focus. Originally, Michael Keaton’s Dark Knight was reportedly due to play a role “akin to Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury in the Marvel movies,” popping up in the since-shelved Batgirl alongside an appearance in Aquaman 2.
Release date shifts messed this up slightly, as The Lost Kingdom was originally due to arrive before The Flash, which also included the big return of Keaton’s Bruce Wayne. To fix this issue, previous Warners bosses Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy invited Ben Affleck’s Batman to replace Keaton but now that The Lost Kingdom will definitely be released after The Flash, it is believed that that scene has since been ditched too.
The Hollywood Reporter claims this decision was made by new DCEU bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran who “do not want to promise a movie universe that will not come to fruition, nor tie it down excessively to past failures.”
According to an anonymous source, it’s all “pretty chaotic.”
Despite all this, Warner Bros.' dedication to dishing out even more reshoots could suggest they have a lot of faith in the movie, with Wan apparently completing his five days of freshly allotted reshoots in just four.
Speaking of Wan, he also teased a bit more about the film’s plot by saying: “This movie has something to talk about [climate change], but it’s still a fun action-fantasy movie.”
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will be released on 29 December, 2023.