Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom lived through a number of regime changes at DC Studios, including a complete reboot of the DCU under James Gunn and Peter Safran. The film’s director James Wan reveals how this tumultous time affected the sequel.
Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom almost seems cursed. After five years and numerous delays, the follow-up to the billion-dollar Aquaman lived through the rise and fall of half a dozen Warner Bros. regimes, from Walter Hamada to James Gunn and Peter Safran. With the sequel being the final film before the DC Universe reboot, director James Wan admits that he certainly felt the chaos despite it not changing the final product:
“I’m aware of everything that’s happening around me. I mean, I use the analogy that I’m living in a house that’s getting renovated,” Wan told Screen Rant. “It’s hard to not be aware of the renovation that’s happening around me. But the beauty about Aquaman is that we’ve always designed these two films to be within their own world.”
“The advantage of not being hooked into this bigger universe is whatever happens over there doesn’t really affect my movie. This film doesn’t hook into anything. It lives in its own world. That’s what we found worked really well for us on the first film, and we’re doing exactly the same. There’s noise going around, but I’m just in my cocoon, in my underwater kingdom.”
While the core story of Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom likely wasn’t changed too much by James Gunn and Peter Safran’s DC Universe reboot, changes were certainly made. The most well-known of these changes is the removal of any mention of Batman. It’s unclear if the sequel will live up to it’s predecessor at the box office, but as long as it doesn’t bleed money, it’ll be considered a success by DC Studios standards.
The future of the DC Universe
James Gunn and Peter Safran told journalists that their vision for the DC Universe includes locked scripts, wiggle room, and a unified storyline across film, television, animation, and video game projects. The two explained that the DC Universe could bring back elements from previous DC regimes, meaning that their eight-to-year plan is not a full reboot.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods, The Flash, and Blue Beetle have all been released following the announcement of the new DC Universe, with Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom still slated to hit theaters in 2023. Will the characters from those movies make appearances in the new DCU? Only Gunn and Safran know.
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