While James Wan's Aquaman takes place after the events of 2017's Justice League, the superhero flick has barely any connection to the wider DC Extended Universe. During a chat with i09, the Australian filmmaker explained why he decided to make this more of a standalone feature.
"I could do his solo movie, post-Justice League, but still make it an origin story," he said. "And, obviously, a big part of that is due to the fact that in Justice League, Jason’s character, Arthur, looks so different and has such a different personality to him. I felt that I could actually take him on [t]his character arc for him to realize the hero that he needs to be by the end of the movie, and, henceforth, he becomes the Aquaman as we know it from the comic book. That really is the case. And when you start doing that and start to give him his own journey, literally, his own path that he has to take, he goes to such a different world that doesn’t tie-in with the bigger universe so to speak. It is literally his stand-alone film."
Indeed, Justice League was, despite its very poor reception, a really good diving-in point (pun intended) for Wan in terms of the central character played by Jason Momoa.
"Having Momoa start off as just kind of a loner and a guy that doesn’t want to have anything to do with anyone meant that he starts off in one extreme way, and I could steer him more and more towards the other way," added the director.
You may also notice that Aquaman is bit funnier and sillier than your average DC movie, which tends to be a lot darker than, say, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wan explanation for adding a lighter touch to Arthur Curry and pals is simple:
"I definitely wanted to make a playful, tongue-in-cheek film — serious in spots but not take itself too seriously. I mean, jeez, this movie is about a character who has the ability to communicate with marine life! I tried to have fun with that," he said. "But at the same time, not have people make fun of the character like he has been made fun of the past if that makes sense. So it was a bit of a tightrope I had to walk."
Aquaman makes its U.S. debut this Friday, Dec. 21. The film has made nearly $3 million in early Amazon Prime previews and more than $200 million in foreign markets.