Another DCEU veteran has seemingly avoided Henry Cavill’s fate. Jason Momoa has indicated that he’ll be a part of the DC Film Universe under DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran. In a video he posted in his Instagram stories (and which you can see in the tweet below, courtesy of The Hollywood Handle), Momoa – who played the titular superhero in Aquaman and the upcoming sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom – sang Gunn and Safran’s praises, along with Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, while promising “really good news, great news with Warner Bros.”
Jason Momoa reveals that he has VERY EXCITING news related to DC Studios coming very soon… 👀👀💥 pic.twitter.com/uZ2ACClDrU
— The Hollywood Handle (@HollywoodHandle) January 19, 2023
Immediately, speculation began about whether Momoa would return as Aquaman once the last vestiges of the Snyderverse play themselves out over 2023 or if that rumor was true and he’ll be abandoning the King of Atlantis for the intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo. A later interview with Variety at the Sundance Film Festival seemed to shed light on that.
“I’ll always be Aquaman. Ain’t anyone coming in there and taking shit.”
But then he made things murky again.
“There might be some other characters, too. I can play other things, too. I can be funny and savage and charming.”
It sounds like he’ll still be playing Aquaman once Gunn and Safran get their universe going. But he also suggests playing multiple characters, meaning he could also play Lobo, or someone else entirely. That’s… weird. I can see recasting actors who played one-off characters, like Alfre Woodard playing Mariah Dillard (brilliantly) on Luke Cage and then showing up in what was essentially a cameo in Captain America: Civil War. But Aquaman is a major player in DC and will have two movies to himself by the end of the year, the first of which was a massive hit. I understand sticking with him as Aquaman, even if I don’t care for the portrayal, but putting him in other roles too seems odd.
I’m happy for Momoa, who seems like a nice guy (obnoxious environmentalism aside), but his inclusion is a bit infuriating. If they keep him and some of the other actors from the previous era, this is going to feel like it may as well be a continuation of the Snyderverse, even if the tone is different and the movies are better. Under those circumstances, it’s even stranger that they got rid of Henry Cavill. I can see if they wanted to start over, but if Momoa is still Aquaman and other actors are still their characters, why suddenly decide to go another way with Superman? (Ben Affleck seemed like he wanted out, so I don’t think that was a big deal.) Maybe those rumors were right, and someone was pissed off at Cavill and the Rock for making their play, only it wasn’t Zaslav and Warner Bros. – it was Gunn and Safran. If they keep everyone who wants to stay but those guys, it looks punitive more than a “bold creative direction.” Only don’t tell Gunn that; he’ll whine again.
Speaking of Momoa’s activism and how endearing it isn’t, he also said this about Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom:
“The beautiful thing [about ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’] is me and my partner wrote the first treatment for it and it was about a 55-page treatment, and a lot of it has to deal with me talking to the U.N. about what’s happening with the melting ice caps… There’s no far off galaxy coming to destroy us or aliens from another place. It’s us ruining our planet. We need to get it together and save our home.”
In other words, we’re in for another global warming lecture from people who fly around on private jets and own homes that use more power in a week than you do in six months. This is tiring; Hollywood is learning nothing from people being sick of the barrage of messages in these movies. And there’s nothing subtle about Aquaman addressing the UN about melting polar ice caps, either, so they can stick the word “subtext” wherever it’ll fit. Momoa is at Sundance to promote a documentary he made about global warming called Deep Rising; can’t he leave his pet cause at that and let people have fun when they watch the superhero movie where he plays a fish-man? Evidently not, so prepare to feel your eyes roll when Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom washes ashore (“Just like used water bottles!” -Jason Momoa, probably) in December.
Coincidentally, there’s already a movie called Deep Rising. It’s a sea-faring creature feature throwback set on a sinking luxury liner directed by Stephen Sommers (who also directed The Mummy with Brendan Fraser). I’m willing to bet it’s a lot more fun than the documentary that took its name and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.