Aquaman 2: James Wan Promises More Serious Tone, New Worlds

James Wan and Patrick Wilson tease we’re going to see new worlds in Aquaman 2, and a more serious tone that will be relevant for today.

Photo: Warner Bros.

The sequel always has to go darker, right? After a new hope, the empire needs to strike back. It’s true from The Temple of Doom scaring the PG out of Raiders of the Lost Ark to The Dark Knight snuffing the ray of hope presented in Batman Begins. And it appears to be true in some form with Aquaman 2, judging by what director James Wan teased at DC FanDome.

Speaking at a panel that consisted of Wan and frequent collaborator Patrick Wilson chatting among themselves, the pair traded little scraps of on-set memories before teasing what to expect from the follow-up to 2018’s groovy vibes in Aquaman.

“I’m excited to continue the journeys of our heroes, and antiheroes for that matter, and to continue to expand on the world with number two,” Wan said. “Try to do new things I didn’t get around to on the first film. Try something fresh. And the second one, I would say, is a little more serious, a little more relevant in the world we’re living in today. And I think that’s kind of where it wants to go.”

It makes sense that Wan would want to go for a slightly more somber tone in the sequel since the first one was as light as an inflated raft. This is not necessarily a critique. Aquaman has a cheerful good times aesthetic that looked like the album cover of every hair metal band of the 1980s. But if you’re going to expand this into an ongoing saga, perhaps grounding it a little more as apropos.

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“I’m excited for some new worlds, hopefully,” Wilson agreed. “I’m just throwing that out there, because I know you love world-building. I’d like to see where we could go. There’s a lot of unexplored ocean out there, anyway. We only got five percent of the ocean.”

Wan responded, “I can definitely guarantee new worlds in this next one. And I think you’re going to be excited with what you as an actor are going to play with Orm.”

It’s only the barest tease but it’s promising. In a world where folks are increasingly facing the sobering reality of nature’s unforgiving wrath, a story about occupants of the sea wanting revenge will only get timelier. In any event, it was nice to be reminded again that Wilson’s half-brother to Aquaman (Jason Momoa) will be back, not least of all because of his and Wan’s visible easygoing friendship. Remember they’ve done five movies together, which includes Insidious and The Conjuring.

Aquaman 2 comes out on Dec. 16, 2022.