Exclusive: Rumored villain for Aquaman, Mera's role, & diversity in the DCEU
Before you head off for your Thanksgiving holiday, I thought I'd add an extra "scoop" of information to your plate (obviously, you see what I did there) that you can digest and mull over your (hopefully) long weekend. My usual word of caution is in effect, as well as my advisements about the information that follows: Ever-so-slight on the spoilers and naturally to be treated as rumor since these are developing projects. Take that as you will. Now, let's dig in.
Many comic fans commonly reference Black Manta as Aquaman's primary villain (a la Batman's Joker), but it's actually someone much closer to him in more ways than one. I'm told that OCEAN MASTER aka Orm Marius/Curry aka Aquaman's half brother is the villain that's currently being developed to square off with the King of Atlantis in his first solo outing, which is said to be reminiscent of the comic struggles of the duo in a brother-vs-brother fight for the throne of Atlantis, but as Charles Roven told Collider yesterday, they're just getting into the screenplay, so the details of the story are still developing...
"We're very early days. Were just starting with the screenplay. Hes making The Conjuring 2 now, so hes had his hand in the creation of lets just call it a working document from which to write. But hes directing that film [and] hes got his hand ever so slightly in the development, but hes really gonna throw himself into it after he finishes shooting Conjuring 2. And were planning on it being his film after Conjuring 2. He is a serious Aquaman fan."
Mera's role in AQUAMAN
While casting is still ongoing for Mera, we do have some information about the plans for her character in AQUAMAN, her role in the DCEU, and what WB is looking for to fill the role. First off, Mera has previously been referenced as "Khaleesi of the Sea" via Heroic Hollywood (who also mentioned she may make her first appearance in JUSTICE LEAGUE - PART 1) and that's about right. Mera, much like her comic book persona, will not be a Queen walking around in gowns and waiting on her man. Mera will be a force to be reckoned with and will share the screen with AQUAMAN in very much the same way that Max and Furiosa did in MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, making her every bit a hero of the film (and the DCEU) as the titular character.
I've also heard that the studio is currently looking to cast a "non-white" actress in the role, which would match up with lead Jason Momoa's mixed race status (part Native Hawaiian/German, Irish, Native American). What does that mean for Mera's physical appearance in the DCEU? Well, it would certainly be a deviation from her comic book origins, where she is traditionally caucasion with red hair, but then again, Momoa is most certainly not caucasion, clean cut, and blonde, so that direct translation from page to screen has already been nipped in the bud there. So, at this point, don't expect a Jessica Chastain or Bryce Dallas Howard as Mera, which seems like fairly obvious choices for the role given her current comics appearance.
Diversity in casting/characters in the DCEU
No, I'm not talking about an old, old wooden ship used during the Civil War era, but rather the keyword that gets tossed around more and more, especially in my Twitter feed. With the comic book movie genre continuing its stranglehold over the box office, both Marvel and DC are under pressure to diversify their superheroes in order to appeal to a broader audience, which is partly where the AQUAMAN casting is coming from. Beyond that film, you can expect to see the DCEU attempt to win the edge over the MCU in that department as they push to create more opportunities for diverse casting and representation of women/minorities in their burgeoning universe. What this means is more team-up films, rather than solo ones, where they can create a more even spread of representation. We've already seen Marvel begin to take this turn with a few like-minded films on the calendar (BLACK PANTHER, CAPTAIN MARVEL, and ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, not to mention the jam-packed CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR) and we've already got some of that kicking off in BATMAN V SUPERMAN with the inclusion of WONDER WOMAN (who is shooting a solo venture now) and SUICIDE SQUAD bringing in a fairly mixed cast already.
WB is currently looking at a number of ways to expand on that trend, including a possible BIRDS OF PREY movie (recently reported by Latino Review) that would feature an all-female team of superheroes led by the previously reported Black Canary (lining up to be a major player in the DCEU) as well as Batgirl/Oracle, amongst others. A TEEN TITANS film (possibly merged with the CYBORG film in lieu of a solo pic) is also under consideration, as well as the already announced GREEN LANTERN CORPS, which we're told is Hal Jordan and John Stewart in a "Lethal Weapon in space" team-up. There is also discussion about including a gay superhero in the DCEU ranks, although according to my sources it's not something set in stone, but definitely under serious consideration for at least one major character. Any way you slice it, it appears that WB is ready to compete with Marvel in more ways than one, with a diverse universe being a key component.
So, there you have it. Plenty to chew on over this Thanksgiving holiday. Remember, these are all projects still in development so much of this could change going forward, but this is the current direction for the aforementioned projects and the DCEU as a whole, which Ben Affleck recently summed up perfectly, saying:
"Youll see next year they are going to have a great year, they are now developing probably the single greatest under-exploited IP asset in the entertainment business, the DC comic world. And now they have started to exploit that and you are going to see that blossom. And, when it does, its going to be massive."
He ain't joking.
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