James Wan’s ‘Aquaman’ will bring a swashbuckling spirit to the DC movies


The DC cinematic universe is currently shrouded in a thematic darkness of director Zack Snyder’s making. Both “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman” had equally dark tones and forced their heroes to grapple with death and murder. And we can only assume that this serious emphasis will extend to Snyder’s next movie, “The Justice League (Part 1).” But what about the rest of the DC universe, and specifically, what about the typically lighter character of Aquaman, the superhero who can control fish?

“Aquaman” director James Wan, who was at the Los Angeles Convention Center promoting his upcoming horror flicks, “The Conjuring 2” and “Lights Out,” discussed the DC theme in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

And while he wasn’t ready to give away too many details about the feature film that stars Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Amber Heard as Mera, Wan did let us know that “Aquaman” will have a “high-seas adventures” kind of feel.


Zack Snyder has said this is a filmmaker-run franchise. When he says that, and then sets a tone like he did in “Batman v Superman” and states that the Flash on TV is not how the cinematic universe is going to do it, how does Snyder’s tone influence your tone?

James Wan: I definitely think they’ve separated the two separate worlds, the feature world of DC and the TV world of DC. They don’t run in the same universe. I think in a lot of ways that actually frees up the filmmakers, in both mediums, to just do what they want to do and not have to worry about, “Oh wait this has the tone of what we did there, this has the tone of what happened in this other movie over here.” And they actually just free you up to just tell the film you want to tell.

But how does his film tone influence your film’s tone?

Well, like Zack said, from Day One, Warner has always said to me that we are a filmmaker-driven studio and we want each of the DC characters to have the stamp and the trademark of the filmmakers that they’ve picked to come shepherd it. As I’ve always said, whether it’s at Marvel or at DC, they have that sandbox. That sandbox is in place. So you have to come in there and play within their sandbox. But the key here is to build your own sandcastle. And make that sandcastle yours.

So what does your sandcastle look like?

It’s too early to speak of at this point.

Because Aquaman is a fun character. There are comic book covers of him patching up an octopus.


I would love to capture the fun spirit of high-sea adventures, treasure hunts, sea monsters. That’s the spirit that I’m going for. Swashbuckling.


So perhaps the DC cinematic universe isn’t entirely lost in darkness. After all, when I inquired if the walrus sidekick, Tusky, would be involved in the movie production, Wan replied: “You’ll find out.” Then again, who knows what’s lurking at the bottom of the ocean.

“Aquaman” is schedule for release July 27, 2018.

Twitter: @MdellW