Crafting an engaging, coherent, crowd-pleasing superhero blockbuster is an incredibly difficult task, calling for a complicated cocktail of story, casting, directing, editing, score and a whole lotta luck. So it's no huge surprise that James Wan's Aquaman movie, in the wake of heavy criticism of Batman v Superman, has decided to ash-can its current screenplay drafts and start over with only one writer, Will Beall (Gangster Squad), an early contributer to Aquaman and the Justice League project. With Warner Bros. brass anxiously monitoring any seismic shift in fan reactions, much money is being fronted for this first solo appearance of the King of Atlantis, and nobody wants to make one false move.
Calling to mind the old expression "Too many cooks spoil the broth," director James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring) and DC Films chief Geoff Johns have abandoned Justice League director Zack Snyder's somewhat lame-brained idea to "dual-track" the screenplay process, a controversial concept, which, theoretically, allows for multiple drafts of a script to be developed simultaneously by individual writers, then condensed down into a final "best of" draft bringing all the strongest elements together. Beall was one of three writers working on separate drafts of Aquaman, with Kurt Johnstad (300: Rise of an Empire) and David Leslie Johnson (Conjuring 2) contributing their heroic words.
Without a singular vision, the narrative function of a movie blueprint can quickly derail, and cooler heads at the studio are committed to bringing the best story possible to the screen. This has all turned into a tangled mess that will no doubt be arbitrated later down the line by WGA representatives as shards of former scripts get invariably spliced into the finshed product, with writers demanding their fair share of compensation for previous efforts. With the Aquaman story locked and Beall working his solo magic on a one-man screenplay, it seems this is a positive development for the mega-budgeted film project that can only lead to a more cohesive, compelling narrative. (We hope!)
Jason Momoa is already set to star and Amber Heard has been cast as Mera, so there's still plenty of time to whip out a decent screenplay as Aquaman's official release date of July 27, 2018 looms closer. What do you think of this screenplay salvage job and are you excited to see the King of the Seven Seas in underwater action?