Some un-chill news out of Atlantis: Aquaman (Jason Momoa), the bro-iest DC Comics character, will tragically have to face-off against actual bro King Orm (Patrick Wilson) and former bro Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) without the help of his newfound bros from the Justice League. Director James Wan has confirmed that his Aquaman film will not feature the likes of Batman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, or Cyborg.
Speaking to EW, Wan made clear he was focusing solely on Arthur Curry’s emotional return to his underwater homeland:
“I wanted to keep the story to the world of Aquaman and not have to worry about what other characters are doing in their films and how that would affect us. I just thought the simplest way was to keep it clean — keep it simple and let it be an Aquaman story.”
This lines up with what the Furious 7 filmmaker has said in the past about wanting to keep Aquaman as stand-alone as possible. In that same EW interview, though, Wan noted he had to make this clear to Warner Bros. as well:
“I told them I understand and respect that it’s part of a bigger universe but at the end of the day I have to tell the story I want to tell, and I want to develop the character as well. “It was something the studio was respectful about … .in my movie he starts off one way and becomes very different by the end. It’s a classic hero’s journey. I equate our story to The Sword and the Stone, it’s a very Arthurian story about a journey to becoming king.”
Just looking through Warner Bros. brief but eventful DCEU past—let’s called the results varied—I think this move from Wan is the absolute best case scenario. A large part of the problem with these DC movies is just one of baggage. Justice League couldn’t juggle more than a few stories at once and ended up a tone-shifting mess. Suicide Squad was a similar scenario, but picture someone trying to juggle and instead somehow ripping their pants then vomiting. But when Warner Bros. gives a talented director the freedom to tell a singular story—like Patty Jenkins and Wonder Woman—the result is a beautiful, cohesive blockbuster. Let Aquaman be a weird, wonderful, colorful ride to the bottom of the sea on the back of a battle shark, and leave a scuba-diving sad-Batman out of it.