Aquaman 2 director James Wan has confirmed that Amber Heard will have a reduced role in the upcoming superhero movie. Still, he has a very good reason for sidelining the actor this time around, and it all comes down to his vision for the project.
Heard’s time in the DCU looks likely to end with the Aquaman 2 release date, but it’s nothing personal. In fact, the actor can have very little to grumble about when she sees James Wan’s explanation in the latest issue of Empire magazine. “She wasn’t in my head as I was working on this movie. Actors don’t necessarily know what we [directors] behind the scenes are thinking about. But this was always my plan,” Wan said.
The reason is simple: Wan wanted to make his new movie a very different kind of story from the first Aquaman film. “From the start, I pitched that the first film would be a Romancing The Stone-type thing — an action-adventure romantic comedy — while the second would be an outright buddy comedy. I wanted to do Tango and Cash,” he added.
Heard had previously claimed during her very public defamation trial that Warner Bros “didn’t want to include” her in the movie at all and that she had to “fight” to keep any part of her role. Wan’s latest comments paint a far less malicious situation based on creative preferences rather than any real life issues getting in the way.
It’s totally fair, too. All the best superhero movies give their characters room to develop and evolve, and it sounds like Wan is keen to give Aquaman exactly that. By switching the focus from Arthur and Mera to a comedy movie involving the former’s brother, Orm, the Aquaman journey remains fresh and avoids retreading similar territory to the previous outing.
It’s one of the main reasons I believe the big reset being planned by James Gunn will be a positive thing for the DCU moving forward. For a long time, the whole franchise had been clumsily piecing together a shared vision, whereas Gunn has promised his new roster of filmmakers will be allowed to bring their own “unique sensibilities” to each project in Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters. Wan switching up the tone for Aquaman 2 fits this very smart approach, and it sounds like Mera is, sadly, just a casualty of that.
Hopefully, the DC character still manages to shine despite the limited screen time she will get this time around. We’ll have to wait a little longer to find out, but until then, why not check out our very own rogues’ gallery of the best DC villains or look ahead to Superman Legacy for Gunn’s next venture. If you’re feeling really brave, you could have a go at watching the DC movies in order, but I really recommend you give the last two years’ worth of films a miss.