Listen. I know that the DC Cinematic Universe gets a lot of criticism for its dour visuals and themes, but let’s give credit where credit is due: Jason Momoa’s Aquaman is really shaping up like the sleeper hit of the whole endeavor. With a visual aesthetic stolen directly from an episode of Sons of Anarchy — and perhaps the most talented director of the Warner Bros. slate behind the camera — this is shaping up to be the best movie about people who talk to fish since Disney’s animated adaptation of The Little Mermaid.
While he was da foe of Peter Parker in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, when Willem Dafoe joined the cast of Justice League, his role was, at first, kept a mystery. We later learned over the summer that he’d be playing Nuidis Vulko, one of the Aquaman comics’ mainstays, and now Dafoe has confirmed it himself, with a few interesting facts about his involvement in the Aquaman and Justice League movies.
The ages-old query of “So, who were your influences on the film?” still appears regularly in interviews following a big-name movie’s release. But in recent years, directors have started to name the films they drew from before the premiere as a way of drumming up anticipatory buzz. At the Star Wars Celebration in London earlier this year, Episode VIII director Rian Johnson name-checked Bridge on the River Kwai, Three Outlaw Samurai, Letter Never Sent, and 12 O’Clock High as points of reference for the next Star Wars picture. The initial public response went along the lines of “lol what the hell are you talking about,” but eventually cooled into “Alright, can’t front, that sounds pretty awesome.”
Just yesterday, Warner Bros. revealed a new heavy metal logo for Justice League, which — as I pointed out — looked like exactly the sort of thing that Jason Momoa’s Aquaman could get behind. Is Ben Affleck’s Batman recruiting a team of superheroes, or assembling a heavy metal supergroup? Thanks to this new set photo, we have an answer.
The DC Extended Universe has some slam dunks (Justice League!) and some real risks. I would put Aquaman in the latter category. Previously best known as the guy on Super Friends who talks to fish, and so goofy a hero he was the butt of an extended joke about dumb Hollywood movies on Entourage, the King of the Seven Seas will headline his own movie in 2018 after he gets a proper introduction in next year’s Justice League. (Showing up on Wonder Woman’s computer screen in Batman v Superman doesn’t count.)
Last fall, it was reported that Warner Bros. had hired The Conjuring 2 scribe David Leslie Johnson to write the screenplay for Aquaman, which would reunite him with director James Wan. It looks like that didn’t exactly work out, as WB has now tapped Gangster Squad writer Will Beal to pen the screenplay based on a story treatment by Wan and DC’s Geoff Johns.
It was big news last week when Dope director Rick Famuyiwa was tapped to make the big-screen adaptation of DC Comics’ The Flash. Famuyiwa replaced Seth Grahame-Smith, who was originally supposed to make his directorial debut on the project, but later dropped out over “creative differences” with Warner Bros. But this whole scenario may not have played out if not for a decision made by a third filmmaker a few years ago.
There’s been a lot of chatter surrounding recent changes at Warner Bros. regarding their DC Extended Cinematic Universe. Following the underwhelming debut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice this past March, despite racking in $871 million worldwide, reports surfaced about executive shake-ups at the studio. Warner established a dedicated division called ‘DC Films,’ which is now spearheaded by DC Comics chief creative officer Geoff Johns. But that didn’t seem to be the last of it. Last week, the New York Post reported that Warner Bros. would be undergoing even more management changes over the next six months.
NBC’s half-baked DC comedy Powerless won’t officially make its impact until sometime at midseason, but the full trailer managed to make its way online ahead of schedule. Get it while it’s hot, as DC namedrops galore rain down on the superhero insurance comedy!
The rumors of James Wan’s production squabbles on the set of Aquaman have been greatly exaggerated. An item about the DC superhero film universe posted over the weekend on Birth.Movies.Death cited “multiple, reliable sources” as claiming that director James Wan has been having some misgivings about the process, and may depart the project entirely if the friction between him and studio brass doesn't clear up. Writer Devin Faraci’s exact words were “a tremendous amount of trepidation,” speculating that the Jason Momoa-led Aquaman needs Wan much more than he needs the movie, having already laid claim to Warner Bros.’ summer slate with The Conjuring 2 and Lights Out, the latter of which he produced.