aquaman james wan

Every superhero is different. Despite this, there are some recurring tropes – in origin stories, for example – that can make the genre seem more formulaic than it actually is. It’s something you have to be aware of as a filmmaker in this day and age, particularly if you’ve been tasked with introducing one of these heroes to a mass audience.

Certainly, it’s something that’s been on James Wan’s mind as he shepherds ‘Aquaman’ to the screen. In fact, you could argue that setting Aquaman apart from the pack may even be more important in this case, given the often divisive response to prior films in the DC Extended Universe. And while audiences were introduced to the cinematic Aquaman in last November’s ‘Justice League, it is Wan who finds himself tasked with fleshing out not only the character but the world that he inhabits. So what is it that differentiates this version of Aquaman from his contemporaries? As Wan explained to during the course of a set visit, the answer to that question is something that’s baked into the way he approached the movie:

“Well, I think firstly one thing I’ve been very cautious about doing is making sure that he isn’t Superman. From a story standpoint there’s a reason why Aquaman ultimately is powerful. He’s strong because, like most Atlanteans, their bodies are built to withstand thousands of pounds of pressure, they live so far down. So when they come up, their body is… they’re not aliens from another planet, but because of the physics of our planet and all that stuff, when they come up to the surface world their body can withstand really strong pressure. And so where bullets literally bounce off the Man of Steel, bullets can graze these guys and maybe break the skin, and break the flesh, but it doesn’t necessarily penetrate because their muscle mass and their body mass is much more dense. Even within the world of superheroes I try to find a reason for why he is the way he is. So he can get beaten up. When he goes up, surface world weapons may have a hard time taking him down, but Atlantean technology can cripple him for sure. It can destroy him.”

The next installment in the DC Extended Universe, ‘Aquaman’ has been helmed by director James Wan and stars Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Temuera Morrison, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Patrick Wilson, and Nicole Kidman. The film is scheduled to arrive in theaters on December 21, 2018.