Aquaman Director James Wan Previews The Movie | SYFY WIRE

Aquaman director James Wan on design inspiration for Atlantis, specific comics inspiration, and his scariest scene ever

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Jul 21, 2018, 7:08 PM EDT (Updated)

It was inevitable that Aquaman would look a whole lot different than any of the many, many superhero movies that came before it, simply because it is the first comic book flick to be largely set underwater. That key difference gave director James Wan the license — and impetus — to explore new ideas and imprint his own horror-tinged aesthetic on the movie.

"It gave me the opportunity as a filmmaker to design really interesting places that we haven't quite seen before, places that are very magical and detailed," Wan told SYFY WIRE at San Diego Comic-Con, adding that the Jason Momoa-starring blockbuster was more of a "fantasy movie" than an action film.

Wan's unique creative vision was not the only force driving the development of the film. long-time fans of the D.C. character, there will still be plenty of familiar images to be found on screen. In particular, he was heavily influenced by the short New 52 run of Aquaman, which was written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis. In fact, he turned to Reis's work so often that he ultimately had the artist come aboard and help the film with visual development and concept art. In particular, Reis was very involved in the design of Atlantis.

Wan also spoke about his horror work, and under some pressure, named the scariest scene he'd ever directed. Anyone who has seen Joey King's performance in the first Conjuring movie will agree with his choice.

"She wakes up in the middle of the night and she thinks there's someone in her room with her hiding in the darkness," Wan said. "I really love that sequence because you don't really see anything at all; it's all in the tone and feel and atmosphere and the incredible performance."