James Wan Confronts ‘Aquaman 2’ Reshoot Rumors and Amber Heard Claiming Her Role Was ‘Pared Down’: The Sequel Never Prioritized Mera

Ahead of the official trailer for “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” launching Sept. 14, director James Wan spoke to Entertainment Weekly about many of the rumors circulating the DC sequel. The tentpole has been plagued by reports of a disastrous post-production that allegedly included three rounds of reshoots as the film got caught in the middle of the executive overhaul at DC Studios, which is now run by James Gunn and Peter Safran. The two co-CEOs are spearheading a new DC Universe outside of the one “Aquaman 2” was conceived for.

“The tricky thing early on was not knowing whether ‘Aquaman’ would come out first or come out after [‘The Flash’]. So, we just had to be prepared,” Wan said. “At the end of the day, the best thing I would say about this movie is that it is not connected in any way to any of those films. That’s the bottom line.”

Reports claimed that Batman actors such as Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton were brought in for “Aquaman 2” reshoots, but they also appeared in “The Flash.” Does that mean Wan didn’t need to utilize Batman after all since “The Flash” first? “That’s a ‘no comment,’ right now,” he said. “You’re going to have to wait for the movie to come out.”

According to Entertainment Weekly, Wan did not dispute a claim that Gunn “weighed in” on the “Aquaman” sequel now that he’s in charge of DC Studios, but Wan added, “I’ve known James since way back, right? We’re horror guys, and so I’m definitely open to ideas. But, at the end of the day, this is my movie.”

Wan also insisted that reshoots on “Aquaman 2” were no different than any other major Hollywood tentpole.

“We have big actors in this movie, and everyone’s schedule is really hard,” he said. “So, we had to break up our shooting schedule into sections. We’ll shoot a bit here now, because this actor’s available, and then we’ll do another shoot now, because this guy’s available. People are like, ‘Oh, they’re doing a whole bunch of different shoots!’ No. If we actually combined them all together, it’s actually not that many number of days at all.”

Wan was also asked about Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the comic book film franchise. During her 2022 defamation trial involving Johnny Depp, Heard claimed in court that Warner Bros. “didn’t want to include me” in the “Aquaman” sequel due to the fallout of her divorce from Depp. She said her role in the sequel was “pared down” and action scenes were “taken away.”

According to Wan, however, the sequel was never meant to focus on Mera and Aquaman the way the first movie did in 2018. He said “Aquaman 2” always prioritized Aquaman’s relationship to his villainous half-brother, Orm (Patrick Wilson), over his one to Mera.

“I always pitched this to everyone from the get-go,” Wan said. “The first ‘Aquaman’ was Arthur and Mera’s journey. The second movie was always going to be Arthur and Orm. So, the first was a romance action-adventure movie, the second one is a bromance action-adventure movie. We’ll leave it at that.”

As for a potential third “Aquaman” movie, Wan confirmed that “we’ve set up certain things in a good place in the second movie that you can definitely draw upon in a third.” However, Wan stressed that he has no plans or stories for “Aquaman 3” at this time. Would he direct? “I don’t know,” he said. “This film has taken up so, so much of my life, so much of my time, all I can think about now is taking a long break.”

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is set to open in theaters Dec. 20 from Warner Bros.

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