Along with a new image of star Jason Momoa from Aquaman comes some insight from director James Wan into what drives the hero’s enemy Black Manta.
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Portrayed by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, the classic DC Comics villain is buoyed by something “very primal,” the filmmaker told USA Today, “that classic revenge story.” “I love the simplicity of that human drive,” he said.
Wan also painted a picture of Momoa’s Arthur Curry as someone who’s torn between the surface and the underwater kingdom of Atlantis. “He doesn’t quite fit in, but as the story progresses, he realizes he’s the best of both worlds,” he explained. “Circumstances allow him to grow as a human being and then realize the bigger picture of it all and what it means to have these abilities.”
Earlier this month Wan dismissed the notion that Aquaman will feature three villains, Black Manta, Patrick Wilson’s Ocean Master and Dolph Lundgren’s Nereus. “This is what I’ll say: I don’t have three villains,” he said. “I think that’s ridiculous! I would never go into an origin movie with three villains. We don’t even know the main character let alone the world and its antagonist. I believe in taking baby steps.”
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Momoa’s hero was only glimpsed in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, before assuming a prominent role in Justice League, alongside Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg and Superman. Aquaman has been described as a high-seas adventure, with Momoa adding that it’s a “big road movie, because we travel all over the world.”
“It’s got that Star Wars quality of gigantic ships and guys riding sharks,” he said. “It’s going to be this whole world you’ve never seen before. You’re going to see him start as this guy who probably rides bikes, works on cars. You get to see him this one way as kind of a dirty, dark, drunkard, and then turn into this regal king.”
Debuting Dec. 21, 2018, Aquaman stars Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Amber Heard as Mera, Patrick Wilson as Ocean Master, Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, Temuera Morrison as Thomas Curry and Dolph Lundgren as Nereus.