One of the things that struck me the most when watching James Wan‘s Aquaman (besides what a metalocalypse Lisa Frank dream machine it was), was how vast and varied the underwater kingdoms are. Though we get a brief tour of each, there is clearly so much visually and narratively to continue to explore, and I’d be down to see all of it. But given his horror background, it’s no surprise that Wan has chosen The Trench as the setting for a first Aquaman spinoff. We first reported that news in early February, when it was revealed that the wait for Aquaman 2 will be a long one, but that this horror-tinged sequel/spinoff will happen in the meantime.
In speaking with THR, producer Peter Safran noted that he believes The Trench will come out well before Aquaman 2‘s proposed release date of December 16th 2022: “We always, even from the early concept art days, loved the idea of a Trench movie. Then, when audiences embraced it in the movie itself the way they did, particularly that ant farm shot where the camera follows the Trench [creatures] following Arthur and Mera down into the deep, we just knew that we had something very special there and we knew what that movie should be. And consequently, I suspect that that’s one that will come out significantly before Aquaman 2.”
As we noted in the previous piece, neither Arthur (Jason Momoa) nor Mera (Amber Heard) will feature in the spinoff, however Safran did confirm that the film will take place after the events of the first Aquaman movie. He continued, “We’ve definitely taken a page from our Conjuring playbook, which is: You’ve got the mothership, which is Aquaman, but there are so many great stories to tell within that universe of itself, that Atlantean universe.”
Still, fans of the first movie who are anxious to return to its waters are in for a very long, 4-year wait. But Safran said there has been no pressure from Warner Bros to crank out a sequel until they have it the way they want it: “[Head of DC Films Walter Hamada], myself and James Wan always shared the same philosophy, which is: You want to do it right,” Safran said. “You don’t want to do it fast. You just want to do it right.”
As for a potential Justice League sequel, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins has spoken out on her hopes that there is time to see these other DC movies — Aquaman 2, Flash, Birds of Prey, The Batman, and The Suicide Squad — before another team-up. Safran agreed:
“I think that when you’re making really strong stand-alone movies, there’s really no need to bring them together,” he said. “You want to give these characters room to breathe and live, and tell their stories.” […] While Safran thinks it’s great for them to ultimately team up, he calls back to his philosophy of patience. “Wonder Woman has shown what a great stand-alone property that is,” Safran said. “And in Aquaman, we feel the same way. We think that there’s a great sequel and beyond to tell. We introduce seven kingdoms of Atlantis, right? James Wan knows the architecture, the armory, the military, the look, the feel, the general vibe of each of these kingdoms, and I’m sure that there will be an opportunity to explore them in some way later on.”
Hopefully sooner than later, because I am definitely ready to dive back in!