Director James Wan has officially been tapped to direct the upcoming film adaptation of the DC Comics character Aquaman. The film is part of the major effort set forth by Warner Bros. and DC Comics to establish a superhero cinematic universe akin to rival Marvel. 2013’s Superman reboot Man of Steel, which was directed by Zack Snyder (300) and starred Henry Cavill (The Immortals), anchored the first run of the franchise, will be continued with next spring’s highly anticipated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a multi-functional film that, among many other things, will introduce Arthur Curry (a.k.a. Aquaman), to be played by Jason Momoa (Games of Thrones), to moviegoers.
Wan’s involvement has been rumored for a little while now, yet the billion dollar worldwide grosses for the director’s current release Furious 7 likely spurred even more reassurance among WB and DC heads. Aquaman, slated for release on July 27, 2018, comes from a script written by Kurt Johnstad (300) and puts the underwater superhero and reluctant ruler of Atlantis front and center. The film is slated to focus on Aquaman’s conflict of conscience as he battles pollutants threatening his underwater kingdom and his own sea charges who want to invade the surface. Wan will help develop the movie and has been tasked with overseeing the script. Aquaman is a member of DC’s Justice League and will be featured in Snyder’s Justice League Part One, slated to be released on November 17, 2017. The challenge for the filmmakers is a lofty one, considering the Aquaman character has been camp fodder for some time now. A particularly silly rendering of the DC character in the Super Heroes cartoon series didn’t help, nor did the spoof of a film version in an early season of HBO series Entourage.
Wan began to pique the interest of the fanboy/fangirl crowd with the unexpected sleeper success of the horror film Saw (2004), the director’s second feature film. The director stayed with the horror genre (directing mid-range hits like Death Sentence and Insidious), but reached new heights both critically and commercially with the 2013 smash The Conjuring, an elegantly mounted paranormal tale that starred Oscar- and Emmy- nominated actress Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air, Bates Motel). That same year, Wan also directed Insidious: Chapter 2, which significantly outgrossed its predecessor. The overwhelming success of Furious 7 has since catapulted the Malaysian-born filmmaker into another realm. With that demand, Wan appears to have a busy couple of years ahead of him. Aside from Aquaman duties, he is attached to direct The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, slated for release sometime in 2016, and Robotech, Sony’s planned adaptation of the 1980s anime.
Loads more information will likely surface in the coming months (and years) before Aquaman hits the screen, but the character will debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is set to hit theaters on March 25, 2016. That film, directed by Snyder, finds DC titans Superman (played again by Cavill) and Batman (Ben Affleck) sharing the screen.