James Wan on the set of Aquaman
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Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Aquaman got 'thumbs up' from Zack Snyder after seeing James Wan's director's cut

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Jan 2, 2019

Aquaman has followed in Wonder Woman’s footsteps as a financial and critical hit for the DC universe, finding plenty of joy in the undersea silliness of Arthur Curry’s antics. But how did the DCEU old guard react to such a vibrant, weird film? Well, when James Wan sat down to show the film to Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director (and DC mega-producer) Zack Snyder, he heard the latter’s unfiltered thoughts.

In the same interview with Collider that Wan explained how he snuck in an Easter egg for Scott Pilgrim director Edgar Wright, the first-time superhero director explained how Snyder reacted to seeing Aquaman for the first time. It’s got to be intimidating for a director primarily known for horror to show off his fantastical creation to the man that defined much of the DCEU’s aesthetic as it arrived to rival Marvel’s on-screen offerings, but it sounds like everything went just fine.

"Yeah, I showed Zack my director's cut pretty much right after I finished it and he gave me his thumbs up," Wan said. "He was really complementary about it and basically gave his blessing to me to go finish the movie, because he knew how huge of an undertaking I had with the visual effects.” That’s because at this early stage of the film, the vast number of special effects put in through post-production simply hadn’t been done yet. And in a film where two people talking to each other means plenty of water effects, costumery, and background wonderment, effects mean a lot.

“What he saw was a lot of blue screen, a lot of pre-viz, and a lot of storyboards,” Wan explained. “You photograph your storyboards and you cut it into the film and so it was very very rough and crude. But, I think the human element is there that played and I think he and [Snyder’s producing partner and wife] Debbie were very complimentary about it. They gave us their blessing."

With battle-hardened superhero filmmakers behind him, riding that endorsement through special effects and the film’s release was certainly much easier — and that positivity has so far been reflected by fans. Perhaps this is the new direction the DCEU needed. Aquaman is in theaters now.

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