James Wan is one of the hottest directors working today. Furious 7 grossed over a billion dollars worldwide despite being an incredibly difficult shoot due to the death of star Paul Walker, and Wan’s sequel to his hit The Conjuring is primed to explode at the box office this weekend. So when he signed on to direct Aquaman, it was a bit of a surprise considering that the hero is the target of so much ridicule. But those low expectations are part of the reason Wan took the gig.
Speaking to Uproxx, Wan revealed that Warner Bros. offered him the choice between Aquaman and The Flash, and he decided to take Aquaman. He explained that while he’s a fan of The Flash, people have already started adapting him while in comparison there’s a lot more freedom with Aquaman:
But the thing that ultimately pushed me more towards Aquaman is I love the possibility of creating a whole new world. I’ve always wanted to do a world creation story and visually create this amazing, incredible, magical kingdom. And also, I love the fact that Aquaman is an underdog character. I love the fact that people like to make fun of him. [Laughs.] I feel the bar is a lot lower and I can have fun with him!
What it allows me to do: I think people are a lot less precious with him than, let’s say, you were doing a Spider-Man or a Batman or whatever.
He makes an excellent and encouraging point. While some filmmakers might see Aquaman as an uphill battle and one where they’ll have to keep defending the character whose superpowers include talking to seafood, Wan sees an opportunity for world building, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.
Aquaman opens July 27, 2018 and stars Jason Momoa and Amber Heard.