Warner Brothers Discovery's presentation at CinemaCon 2023 gave us our first look at Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the sequel to 2018’s box office hit, Aquaman. In this trailer (which is not online) Aquaman and Orm team up to take on Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Black Manta, a villain from the first film.

In the first film Jason Momoa was accompanied by Amber Heard’s Mera as not only his eventual love interest, but as a fellow superhero helping Aquaman save the day. However, after the controversy regarding Heard and Johnny Depp’s very public split and televised lawsuit, it would appear (at least based on this CinemaCon footage) that DC has decided to take the character out of the spotlight.

The Mera character didn’t have a single speaking part in the entire trailer; and the few glimpses we got of her were brief. Orm, played by Patrick Wilson, appears to be filling those shoes and taking on the role of Aquaman’s “assist” as opposed to being the film’s villain.

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This role reversal reminded me a lot of Thor: The Dark World; in the first Thor film we see Loki as the main antagonist, as well as in The Avengers. But then in The Dark World we see Loki broken out of prison by Thor so that he can help him fight a greater threat. And that’s exactly what happens in this Lost Kingdom trailer.

In both Aquaman and Thor’s first solo films, we saw brothers battling over the throne. And now in The Lost Kingdom trailer, we see Aquaman releases his brother from prison so that he can help him take on Black Manta, who is now in possession of a powerful new weapon, the black trident.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is currently scheduled to open in theaters on December 20.

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