With Justice League in the rearview mirror, fans are now looking to next year’s Aquaman to see what else Warner Bros.’ DCEU will bring to the table. The studio made an inspired choice in hiring James Wan, the filmmaker behind The Conjuring and Furious 7, to direct, and indeed Wan was certainly up to the challenge of bringing one of the more difficult comic book heroes to life. The filmmaker was actually given the choice of directing Aquaman or The Flash, and he chose the more challenging route—though given what he went through on Furious 7, this was probably a cakewalk by comparison.
Aquaman is now in the can, but there’s been speculation that the movie could have up to three villains, which would be a bold choice for an origin story. Patrick Wilson is playing Aquaman’s half-brother Orm (aka the Ocean Master), Abdul-Mateen is playing Black Manta, and Dolph Lundgren has a role in the film as King Nereus. However, speaking with EW, Wan is seeking to calm concerns from fans, confirming there’s only one primary antagonist in the movie:
“This is what I’ll say: I don’t have three villains. I think that’s ridiculous! I would never go into an origin movie with three villains. We don’t even know the main character let alone the world and its antagonist. I believe in taking baby steps… I want to introduce Arthur Curry in a much more emotional and powerful way, and introduce Mera played by Amber Heard, and of course there’s Nicole Kidman and Temuera Morrison playing his parents. We know Black Manta is in there, but I will say this: Patrick Wilson is the main antagonist in this film. I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘villain,’ but he’s the antagonist.”
What’s more likely is that this is very much Arthur Curry’s (Jason Momoa) origin story, with his half-brother serving as the story’s major antagonist—somewhat akin to how Loki was the main antagonist in Thor. This also probably means Black Manta is a sub-antagonist of sorts, someone who Aquaman must defeat in a smaller battle that shows off his skills and introduces audiences to the way Aquaman operates. As for King Nereus, it’s possible that role is quite minor in the scheme of things.
So don’t fret, folks. Wan understands how to make a good movie, and clearly knows trying to tell a character’s origin story with three villains would be a major mistake.