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.

Speaking with The Guardian about Paul Schrader’s new film Dog Eat Dog (which is even stranger than you think it is), Dafoe explained that his role in both films may be more than just a small cameo.

Well, Justice League is very particular because it’s an ensemble movie and my character is being introduced here in order to be a principal role in Aquaman. These films are a different experience. They have different responsibilities, different resources and different intentions. It’s nice to go between those worlds if you can. They serve different impulses.

Vulko is one of the classic Aquaman characters whose involvement in the comics dates as far back as the sixties. He’s a scientist and politician mostly loyal to Atlantis with a few missteps here and there, but his role is usually acting as regent for Aquaman after he ascends the Atlantean throne. Being in the Justice League, Aquaman is away on business a lot so it’s often up to Vulko to run the kingdom, and it sounds like that’s where Dafoe’s role is headed in the movies.

Dafoe also had some nice things to say about Raimi’s Spider-Man and how it compares to the way Warner Bros. is orchestrating the new DC films:

And that was interesting because, as big as that film was, Sam Raimi didn’t have a formula. And I think with Justice League I think they’re trying to play around with the formula. Zac Snyder certainly has a heavy stamp on it. But Spider-Man was a very personal film to Sam. He really believed in the story. It was dear to him. It was fun to see a big studio film like that be so personal. I mean, nothing’s perfect, but it’s a good film.

The DC cinematic universe hasn’t had the most auspicious of beginnings, so we’ll see how Warner Bros.’ formula tinkering works for Justice League and beyond.

Justice League hits theaters November 17, 2017, and Aquaman will follow on July 27, 2018.

More From ScreenCrush