With the recent announcement of Dolph Lundgren joining DCEU’s upcoming Aquaman film, we have a clearer idea of what Aquaman might look like.
The Expendables franchise star is reportedly playing King Nereus. The Xebel native made his comic debut in the amazing Death of a King arc in the New 52 series Aquaman (Read the review for the arc here), a 7 book arc that takes place right after the crossover with Justice League in Throne of Atlantis (Review here). Xebel is one of the 7 kingdoms of Atlantis before all 7 was plunged into the ocean by Atlan. It is also one of the only 3 oceanic kingdoms that still stands (relatively), the others being Atlantis and The Trench. In Death of a King, Mera, a Xebelian by origin, encounters Nereus and his army where it is revealed that she was promised to him before she left to be with Arthur Curry AKA Aquaman. When Atlan, previous King of Atlantis, returned as the Dead King, Nereus submitted himself and his army to Atlan and aided him in this takeover of Atlantis.
About a year ago, I made a blog about the possible arcs that the coming Aquaman film can take inspiration from. Out of all the impressive arcs in the New 52 Aquaman (Vol 7), Death of a King takes the top spot in the list. (You can read the blog here)
While it is clear that they probably will not go full on Death of a King, it’s safe to assume that they intend on introducing Mera’s history and Xebel ties into the DCEU which will would definitely spark an uprising from Atlanteans like it did in the comic books.
Could this be the foundation for Orm’s journey? Possibly. I’m still not confident that the 2018 Aquaman film will be the grounds for Orm’s turn to the dark side. In the New 52, Orm was portrayed a relatively good man and only doing what he thought was best for his people – he even offered to give up his throne back to Arthur and revealed that the only reason he took the throne was because Arthur left. I have a strong feeling that the film would follow this route and properly develop him as a villain rather than just throw him right in as one. In sequel films, Orm could use the Atlantean’s hatred of the Xebelians, and by extension Mera, to launch a coup against Arthur – I’m assuming because he felt that Arthur mishandled the events of the coming film and that made him unworthy to be king.
If you recall, the comics made Orm into a villain because Arthur chose to let the surface dwellers punish him for his crimes in Throne of Atlantis – an act that in his and many atlantean’s eyes was done to protect Atlantis. Given the magnitude of Throne of Atlantis, it is unlikely that they will go this route for the first or second film. It is more likely that this arc be used as inspiration for a third film and would be one of DC’s bigger movies due to the presence of the Justice League. All this is just theory at this point as we aren’t even sure that Warner Bros. is intending to go forward with the trilogy route that Marvel is currently employing for its more successful films.
As great as it is to have Throne of Atlantis be the third film, I’m actually hoping that they explore the Maelstrom arc (Review here). Maelstrom would put Nicole Kidman as the primary antagonist which is something very interesting for an actress not quite pictured as an amazonian-type warrior – now that would be something awesome to witness. Unfortunately, this more unlikely than Throne of Atlantis to happen. If you had read the Maelstrom arc, you would understand why it is not feasible for an arc of that magnitude to work in a film. The main reason would be that it requires an extended knowledge of other parts of the DC universe – for example Gorilla City AKA Katangala. Another reason is that as amazing as the action sequences are for this arc, the focus is more towards bringing Arthur back with his mother something that would be hard to get right especially in a superhero film.
As for the second film, I’m leaning towards a story involving “The Others”. The Others was introduced into the DC Universe in it’s New 52 Aquaman (Vol 7) before spinning off into their own short-lived series titled Aquaman and the Others. Obviously a film titled “Aquaman and the Others” doesn’t particularly sound as an interesting film, so maybe the studio could do something about the name. That aside, the addition of The Others to the Aquaman lore really made series one of the standout titles on the New 52 era. The plot could take inspiration from either the Aquaman arc The Others (Review here) or Legacy of Gold (Review here), the latter is my more preferable choice. Who knows, maybe this will be the story for the first film! Unlikely, but possible.
Regardless of what route they choose to take, Aquaman is certainly shaping up to be one hell of a film!
Aquaman is scheduled to sail into theaters on December 21, 2018.
Credit: Feature image artwork done by Bryan Zap.