Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Black Manta Aquaman

As part of its in-depth look at this winter’s ‘Aquaman’ film, Entertainment Weekly has revealed the first look at Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as one of the film’s villains, Black Manta.  For whatever reason, in the film, the character’s alter ego will be David Kane, instead of David Hyde, the name from the comics.  Black Manta is Aquaman’s most popular and well-known foe, taking on the Sea King both solo and as a frequent member of the Legion of Doom, the Injustice League, and other sinister groupings.  He murdered Aquaman’s toddler son, Arthur Jr. and sired a child of his own with Mera’s evil sister Siren.  However, that son (Jackson Hyde/Kaldur’ahm) grew up to become the second Aqualad.

But with his mysterious helmet that fires red plasma blasts, Black Manta tends to be a man of mystery and that’s how director James Wan wants to keep it.

“He’s part mercenary but full-time pirate who in his suit will look like some crazy alien from outer space… Black Manta is a really interesting character who is somehow factored into this story but our main story is about Jason and Patrick.”

Yes, the Black Manta is not the main antagonist of the film.  Rather, that honor goes to Patrick Wilson’s King Orm, Aquaman’s half-brother who has seized control of Atlantis following the death of their mother Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman).  In the comics, Orm is also known as Ocean Master, but it’s unknown if he will use that alias in the film.

Jason Momoa plays the film’s hero, Arthur Curry/Aquaman, the son of Atlantean Atlanna, and human Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison).  Amber Heard, who like Momoa, made her major debut in ‘Justice League’ returns as the water controlling Mera.  Dolph Lundgren plays her father King Nereus from the rival kingdom Xebel.  Willem Dafoe plays Atlantean counselor Nuidis Vulko.  Michael Beach plays Jesse Kane, who is obviously a relative of Black Manta’s but we don’t know how they are connected yet.

As for Manta himself, Abdul-Mateen II starred as Cadillac on Netflix series ‘The Get Down’ and has since appeared in ‘Baywatch’ and ‘The Greatest Showman’ and on Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.

Check back for more ‘Aquaman’ revelations as it looks as though they are coming in pretty rapidly!

‘Aquaman’ opens on December 21, 2018.