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Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Aquaman Movie

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Andrew Tejada

There’s an ocean of trivia surrounding the Atlantean king’s solo debut. For this list, we're looking at the most interesting trivia and behind-the-scenes tidbits we know about DC’s under-the-sea adventure. Join WatchMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Aquaman Movie.

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Script written by Andrew Tejada

Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Aquaman Movie


There’s an ocean of trivia surrounding the Atlantean king’s solo debut. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Aquaman Movie.

For this list, we're looking at the most interesting trivia and behind-the-scenes tidbits we know about DC’s under-the-sea adventure.

#10: Inspired by the New 52

From his squeaky clean “Super Friends” portrayal to his gritty 90s reboot, there’ve been many interpretations of Aquaman over the years. The writers of his solo film will base their version of the hero on his thrilling New 52 incarnation. Trailers have suggested that story details such as Aquaman’s parentage and the vicious Trench villains will be ripped straight from the pages of the comics. But since the writers are remixing elements like Mera’s backstory, the movie won’t be an exact retread of what fans have read before. Whether they borrow a little or a lot, the writers will be taking cues from a strong foundation.

#9: Michael Beach Played Black Manta… Sort of

“Aquaman” would’ve featured two different actors who played the same villain... if it wasn’t for the Warner Bros. network. While Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will play David Kane, aka Black Manta, Michael Beach will portray his father, Jesse Kane. In the early 2000s, Beach was going to voice Black Manta in “Justice League Unlimited.” But when the Warner Bros. started developing a live-action “Aquaman” show, they pulled the rights to the villain. As a result, Beach’s Black Manta role was renamed to the legally safe Devil Ray. In an ironic twist of fate, Beach’s Devil Ray was featured in multiple episodes, while the “Aquaman” pilot never surfaced on TV.

#8: There Were Multiple Scripts

The DC Extended Universe has made some weird writing choices, but this movie’s scriptwriting process might’ve been stranger than the infamous peach tea line. Warner Bros. chose two writers to work on separate “Aquaman” scripts: Will Beall of “Gangster Squad” fame, and Kurt Johnstad, who worked on “300.” Then they hired David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, who wrote for “The Walking Dead,” to try his hand too. The final script was a new draft by Bealle, with Johnson-McGoldrick providing rewrites. While this approach sounds unconventional, hopefully it led to a winning script.

#7: The Underwater Filming Process

While a large portion of the movie takes place underwater, the set was pretty dry during filming. James Wan opted to put the actors into harnesses for most scenes so they could move like they were swimming without getting wet. When water was added in post-production, the editors spent time focusing on small details like hair movement. Lead actor Jason Momoa reported that the combination of practical and CG effects will make watching underwater scenes “feel like you’re in space.” Although there are some obvious differences between “Aquaman” and “Gravity,” it’s clear that plenty of effort went into taking us to Atlantis.

#6: Orm’s Grudge with Humanity

Aquaman’s half-brother Orm, aka Ocean Master, has been built up as the film’s main villain. In the New 52 comics, he leads his followers in a war against humanity. Orm’s actor, Patrick Wilson, has confirmed the villain wants to attack humans to stop them from polluting the sea. Given that his comic counterpart once tried to sink American cities, we can expect Wilson’s Orm to go to crazy lengths for the oceans. Although his methods might be extreme, his motivations are the most relatable we’ve seen from a DC Extended Universe villain. Orm wants to make the world a better place... even if humanity must pay the price.

#5: Wan and Wilson’s Fifth Team-Up

Since we’re already talking about Patrick Wilson, let’s discuss his history with director James Wan. The pair teamed up for the first time with the commercially successful horror hit “Insidious.” They proceeded to work together on the sequel and two “Conjuring” films. Over time, Wilson became so confident in the director’s abilities that he signed up for “Aquaman” without reading the script because Wan was directing it. If their track record together doesn’t get you excited, consider this: the director of the action-packed “Furious 7” is working with Nite Owl from “Watchmen” on a superhero film. Their fifth collaboration might be the charm for DC.

#4: Nicole Kidman Was Always a Frontrunner

Nicole Kidman isn’t the first Oscar-winning actress to appear in a DCEU film. However, seeing as her last superhero film was “Batman Forever,” her casting as “Queen Atlanna” was a little surprising. Kidman explained that James Wan had always intended for her to take the role. He even used her face for Atlanna’s concept art before formally reaching out. Luckily for Wan, Kidman was a fan of her fellow Australians’ work and his pitch that she’d play a royal warrior. Although Kidman doesn’t have a leading role, the fact that Atlanna is Aquaman’s mother makes her crucial to the story.

#3: “Aquaman” Went by “Ahab”

During filming, studios can use working titles to conceal details about their film projects. In “Aquaman’s” case, Warner Bros. went with “Ahab.” If you weren’t forced to read “Moby Dick” in high school, you might miss this reference. In the novel, Captain Ahab becomes obsessed with hunting the whale that took his leg. When he finally encounters the creature, it ends up killing him. While it’s doubtful that we’ll see anyone obsessed with a whale in “Aquaman,” “Ahab” could refer to King Orm’s arc after Aquaman returns to take the throne from him. Either that, or maybe an executive just thought it sounded cool.

#2: Bubbles Aren’t Needed for Dialogue

In 2017’s “Justice League,” a simple Atlantis scene left fans baffled. When Mera wanted to speak to Aquaman underwater, she summoned a ridiculous looking air bubble around them. This raised concerns that all the dialogue in Atlantis would have to hold for bubbles. Fortunately, director James Wan was quick to assure fans on Twitter and in interviews that conversations would look a lot more natural in “Aquaman.” To create the look of underwater dialogue, we’ll see something like soundwaves coming from character’s mouths. The choice to pop these magical bubbles will help keep the pace moving and make it easier to take conversations seriously.

#1: Wan Raced to “Aquaman” Instead of “Flash”

As we stated earlier, James Wan knows how to handle speedy action. Yet, when Wan was offered the chance to direct “Flash,” he chose to dive into Atlantis instead. In an interview, Wan said he liked the idea of pioneering a place that hadn’t been seen on film before. He also felt that bringing the lesser known Aquaman to life gave him more room to play with the character than if he adapted someone more popular like The Flash. Ultimately, Wan’s directing decision seemed to be motivated by creative freedom and his enthusiasm. Those elements are what “Aquaman” deserves and what the DCEU needs right now.

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