Warner Bros.’ new DC film Aquaman has yet to hit theaters, but the studio is bullish enough on the movie that they’ve begun very preliminary discussions about Aquaman 2. This isn’t entirely uncommon—Aquaman is obviously meant to launch a franchise, and studios like to be able to strike while the iron is hot. But Aquaman is also a unique case given how significantly Warner Bros. has refocused its approach to DC Comics adaptations, so Aquaman 2 was certainly not guaranteed.
To be fair, it still isn’t. The film still needs to perform well enough to warrant the follow-up, but in THR’s profile on co-star Amber Heard—who plays Mera in the comic book adaptation—the outlet reports that early box office tacking gave Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich “enough confidence to begin talks on a sequel.” To be clear, a writer hasn’t yet been commissioned, but it appears internal deliberations have begun as to how Aquaman 2 might fit into their upcoming slate.
Those tracking numbers have the film opening at $65 million domestic, which would be the lowest opening for one of these new DC films, but also a promising start for A. A “silly” new superhero not named Superman or Wonder Woman and B. Opening in the midst of the holiday season. Indeed, the film’s December release date means WB will be paying close attention to the film’s performance in the weeks following its opening, since families tend to flock to theaters throughout the Christmas/New Year’s frame.
Aquaman itself marks something of the end of an era for DC Films. As we know, Zack Snyder was initially spearheading the whole shebang, directing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, as well as producing and co-writing Wonder Woman and helping guide early development on Aquaman and The Flash. That’s about as far as he got, however, as Snyder was removed from Justice League during post-production in early 2017 and Warner Bros. has been attempting to course-correct ever since.
When James Wan came on to direct Aquaman, he reworked the story himself and brought in his own collaborator David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick to co-write the script. Indeed, Wan even has a “Story by” credit on Aquaman, so this is clearly his film. Still, Snyder first cast Momoa and likely had some input in the early days of the film’s development, so Aquaman is one of the last Warner Bros. DC films being released that Snyder at least had a hand in putting on the slate. Other future films like Birds of Prey and Joker were developed after Snyder left.
So this is good news. As opposed to Justice League, which Warner Bros. is essentially now going to pretend never happened (RIP those Darkseid plans for Justice League 2), it appears Aquaman turned out well enough that they’d like to make a sequel—again, if the box office numbers justify it. We’ll find out soon enough when the movie hits theaters on December 21st.