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Peter Jackson turned down the same DC superhero twice

The DC movie franchise could have looked very, very different if Peter Jackson hadn't rejected the chance to direct one of its adventures.

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Over the past few decades, the DC movies have been helmed by some incredibly talented directors. We’re thinking Christopher Nolan, James Gunn, Matt Reeves, Zack Snyder, and James Wan. Each of these directors, and others, have brought their vision to the franchise.

But, not all directors jump at the chance to step into the world inhabited by Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. In fact, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson was so against the idea that he rejected the DC Extended Universe (soon to become the DCU, under Gunn’s stewardship) twice for the same film: Aquaman. You can be almost certain he won’t be a part of Gunn’s team to reboot the franchise with Chapter 1 Gods and Monsters.

Recalling a conversation he’d had with former Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara, Jackson told Empire: “He said, ‘Are you a fan of Aquaman?’ I said, ‘No.’ Six months later: ‘Peter, are you a fan of Aquaman?’ I said, ’No, Kevin, I already told you this.'” Jackson’s reasoning was straightforward, too: to make his best movies, he needs passion, and the director has no passion for superhero stories.

“I’m not a superhero guy. I read Tintin… Look, films are hard. I only want to make something that I have a deep passion for,” he concluded.

While we’d never dream of faulting Jackson for following his gut and interests rather than simply taking every opportunity he’s offered, we can’t help but mourn for the Aquaman movie we could have got if he’d been willing to take it on.

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Now, 2018’s Aquaman, directed by Wan, is a marvel. The film became an enormous blockbuster and one of DC’s biggest financial successes, as well as succeeding in being hugely entertaining. When you’re rewatching the DC movies in order, it’s a major highlight. But…

Can you imagine what the film could have been like with Jackson at the wheel? The director created the best fantasy movies of all time, as well as the fantastic adventure epic King Kong. He’s a master of scale but always has one eye on keeping his movies character-driven and emotionally grounded, too. If he’d wanted to, we think Jackson might have been able to create one of the best superhero movies of all time. Aquaman seems like it would suit his approach and style perfectly.

With that being said, having no Peter Jackson Aquaman movie is far, far superior to having a half-hearted Peter Jackson Aquaman movie. We’ve seen now on several occasions how bland and uninteresting the genre can be when a director lacks passion, interest, or effort.

So, while Jackson might seem like the prime candidate to take on some mega-franchises like DC or Star Wars, we’re happy for him to just keep on making new movies his way. Whether that’s more documentaries or more blockbusters, Jackson can do no wrong.

For more on DC, check out our guide to the upcoming DC movies, including Aquaman 2. You can also see our picks for the best DC characters and find out why Aquaman 2 is making the character’s goofiest trick awesome.