AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM Director Defends Decision To Scale Back Amber Heard’s Role As Mera

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will be the final DC Extended Universe movie and, after Shazam! Fury of the Gods, The Flash, and Blue Beetle all bombed, the hope now is that the sequel will send this franchise out on a high. 

Whether the follow-up to 2018’s Aquaman (which grossed over $1.1 billion) will sink or swim remains to be seen. However, it’s no secret the movie has faced its fair share of challenges behind the scenes, including multiple rounds of reshoots and what sound like disastrous test screenings. 

Another problem it’s had to contend with is actress Amber Heard. As a result of her well-publicised court battle with Johnny Depp, it seems the decision was made to cut down Mera’s role in the sequel, sidelining a character who was originally set up as a key part of Arthur Curry’s story. 

Talking to Empire Magazine, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom director James Wan didn’t directly respond to Heard’s courtroom claims that Warner Bros. “didn’t want to include [her] in the film,” but defended the decision by doubling down on this having always been the plan. 

“It’s fair that [Heard] said that [about the character being pared down], because she wasn’t in my head as I was working on this movie,” the filmmaker says. “Actors don’t necessarily know what we [directors] behind the scenes are thinking about. But this was always my plan.”

“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 & Cash!'”

True or not, that’s the narrative everyone is going with and we only expect Mera to get a few minutes of screentime before she’s likely killed off (if that happens off-screen, then we know Wan isn’t being entirely truthful). 

A new still from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has also surfaced:

New still from Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom
byu/Proof-Watercress-931 inDCEUleaks

Director James Wan and Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa – along with Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Nicole Kidman – return in the sequel to the highest-grossing DC film of all time: Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

Having failed to defeat Aquaman the first time, Black Manta, still driven by the need to avenge his father’s death, will stop at nothing to take Aquaman down once and for all. This time Black Manta is more formidable than ever before, wielding the power of the mythic Black Trident, which unleashes an ancient and malevolent force. To defeat him, Aquaman will turn to his imprisoned brother Orm, the former King of Atlantis, to forge an unlikely alliance. Together, they must set aside their differences in order to protect their kingdom and save Aquaman’s family, and the world, from irreversible destruction.

All returning to the roles they originated, Jason Momoa plays Arthur Curry/Aquaman, now balancing his duties as both the King of Atlantis and a new father; Patrick Wilson is Orm, Aquaman’s half-brother and his nemesis, who must now step into a new role as his brother’s reluctant ally; Amber Heard is Mera, Atlantis’ Queen and mother of the heir to the throne; Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is Black Manta, committed more than ever to avenge his father’s death by destroying Aquaman, his family and Atlantis; and Nicole Kidman as Atlanna, a fierce leader and mother with the heart of a warrior. Also reprising their roles are Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus and Randall Park as Dr. Stephen Shin.

The screenplay is by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, from a story by James Wan & David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Jason Momoa & Thomas Pa’a Sibbett.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will be released on December 20.