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James Wan hints at a classic look for supervillain Black Manta in Aquaman

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Feb 2, 2018

By the end of the year, we'll all have seen a live-action Aquaman movie, something that seemed so far-fetched just a few years ago that Entourage made it into a major running joke about bad Hollywood decision-making. With the DC Extended Universe in full swing, though, and Jason Momoa's reluctant King of Atlantis proving to be one of the most entertaining parts of Justice League, it now feels like a very good idea indeed. 

Thanks to Justice League, we know exactly what Momoa's Arthur Curry looks like, how he behaves, and what he's capable of. We also have glimpses of Mera (Amber Heard), his wife, who still dwells in the depths. What we haven't seen yet are the film's villains, including Ocean Master (Patrick Wilson), Arthur's power-hungry half-brother, and Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), Aquaman's classic archnemesis.

It's not clear when we'll see photos or footage of either of these characters, particularly since the film is still more than 10 months from release, so a big question has been what exactly they'll look like. Casting Momoa as Aquaman was certainly a departure from Arthur Curry's classic blonde white guy look, and it worked. So, will director James Wan and DC Films dramatically alter the looks of Aquaman's villains as well? Maybe not.

Wan, now in post-production on the film, posted this image of Abdul-Mateen doing vocal loops to Twitter yesterday:

That low-tech method for creating a certain vocal effect definitely tells us that Black Manta will have some version of his classic domed helmet in Aquaman. Now, this still doesn't meant that the character will appear exactly as he does in the comics. The helmet could be modified, reshaped, recolored, even rarely used by the character. Wan's phrasing — "a certain large helmet" — does seem to hint that he is keen on being at least somewhat faithful to the classic Black Manta look. We'll have to wait for photos or footage to know for sure. At the very least, though, we know Black Manta will have a helmet, even if it's not the helmet.

Aquaman hits theaters December 21.