Despite sporadic efforts to repair the disastrous and confusing continuity of DC Extended Universe, it was doomed to fail thanks to multiple problems which plagued the shared universe ranging from misinterpretation of source material, interference in creative vision to controversy surrounding actors. The early signs of mismanagement under the contemporary WB regime were apparent during the divisive reception of the first phase of DCEU, and as a result, the universe almost crash-landed after the poor reception of Justice League (Joss Whedon version) back in 2017. However, the one movie that almost single-handedly turned the proverbial tide in the favor of DCEU was James Wan’s Aquaman, which to date stands as the franchise’s most entertaining and highest-grossing entry. In a franchise where a crossover movie of three premier characters couldn’t meet expectations, Aquaman, formerly known as the bottom of ‘Merman’ jokes, became its savior.
It would have made sense for WB to cash in on the success of Aquaman by releasing spin-off movies and series, but as usual, hindered by their own incompetence, all they managed to do was release an animated miniseries and a sequel in the form of the upcoming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom—the last movie of the sinking DCEU. Already marred by the Amber Heard fiasco, the cinematic universe reboot, and DC’s abysmal track record in live-action through the last couple of years, the chances of the sequel repeating the success of Aquaman are fairly slim. However, despite all the odds stacked against them, the trailers released so far have made fans feel hopeful about a memorable farewell. Before bidding adieu to DCEU, let us jog our memory about Aquaman and everything we can expect from the sequel.
Aquaman In Dceu So Far
The first time Aquaman, aka Arthur Curry, appeared in the DCEU was in a cameo in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, as his metahuman identity led Lex Luthor to keep tabs on him along with Wonder Woman, Flash, and Cyborg. Before his solo venture, Aquaman made another major appearance in both versions of Justice League, which also introduced two pivotal characters of the Aquaman lore, Mera and Vulko. The events of Aquaman follow the battle with Steppenwolf in Justice League, and by this time Arthur has found recognition as the superhero Aquaman.
Aquaman takes viewers to the phantasmagorical, submarine world of Atlantis, filled with wonders and the unique flora and fauna of the seven seas. During the antiquities, before the fall, Atlantis was one of the most prosperous, powerful, and technologically advanced nations in the world. At the zenith of their prosperity, Atlantis fell and sank into the ocean due to a power surge created by the Trident of Atlan (the first king), and eventually, the denizens of the kingdom mutated into amphibious humanoids with elevated physiological strength and capabilities. During the movie’s timeline, Atlanna, queen of Atlantis, flees from her kingdom to avoid being forcibly married to King Orvax, her betrothed and gets rescued by a lighthouse keeper, Tom Curry. Atlanna decides to settle in the surface world as the duo falls for each other, and Arthur is born as a half-human, half-Atlantean child.
Orvax’s Atlantean soldiers track down Atlanna in the surface world, and in order to keep her family safe, Atlanna agrees to return, seemingly gets executed for abandoning Atlantean customs. Arthur grows up and develops Atlantean powers, most uniquely the ability to communicate with marine life forms, and is secretly trained by Atlanna’s most trusted Atlantean general, Vulko. Learning about Atlanna’s abandonment and the Atlantean kingdom, Arthur grows to despise them both. In the present timeline, Atlanna’s son from Orvax, Orm, becomes the ruler of Atlantis and vows to take revenge against humankind for destroying the marine ecosystem by uniting the kingdoms of Xebel, Brine, and Fisherman King. The Princess of Xebel, Mera, opposes Orm’s worldview and joins Vulko to secretly aid Arthur. In the meantime, Arthur earns a new enemy in pirate David Kane during his superheroing tenure, as he was responsible for the death of his father.
Orm schemes his way through to make his attack on the surface world legitimate in the eyes of submarine kingdoms, prompting Arthur to pay a visit to Atlantis. As Atlanna’s firstborn, Arthur has a rightful claim on the throne, and as a result, Orm and his loyalists treat him with hostility. After getting beaten by Orm in a trial for kingship, Arthur is rescued by Mera, and under Vulko’s guidance, the duo ventures to find the mystical Trident of Atlantis, gaining knowledge that will irrefutably establish Arthur as the king of Atlantis. While searching for the trident, Arthur faces David Kane, who, now emboldened by the Atlantean tech given by Orm, has adopted the identity of Black Manta. Equipped with a specialized exosuit, Manta proves to be a ferocious opponent but ultimately gets defeated by Arthur.
As Arthur and Mera enter the Trench kingdom, they come across his mother, Atlanna, who is revealed to have survived her execution ordeal, and with her help, he manage to locate the trident, which is revealed to be guarded by a gigantic sentient beast, Karathen. Arthur proves his worth by honestly acknowledging his uncertainty regarding a sense of belongingness, and he is able to wield the Trident of Atlan, which connects him with all marine life at once. In a final battle against his brother, Arthur rallies a huge army of marine creatures against him and eventually defeats him in single combat. Arthur is hailed as the new king of Atlantis, and after learning the news of Queen Atlanna’s survival, Orm accepts his punishment of imprisonment as well.
What Can We Expect From The Sequel?
As the trailers reveal, the second cinematic venture of Aquaman will see the return of Black Manta as the central antagonist of the movie. There has been a significant time jump since the events of the last movie, and Arthur has an even bigger responsibility than serving as the king of the Seven Seas, as he and Mera have become parents. Trouble arises when Black Manta allies himself with Atlantis’ oldest enemies and gains possession of the mystical Black Trident, which threatens the very existence of the submarine kingdom itself. Manta’s spiteful quest for vengeance puts Arthur’s loved ones in harm’s way, and he is prompted to seek help from his imprisoned half-brother, Orm. As the duo goes on an adventure across the seven seas and to the eponymous Lost Kingdom in order to find a deterrent against Manta and his nefarious forces, they probably have to race against time to ensure Atlantis doesn’t fall a second time. This time, Manta is out for blood, and he will be targeting Arthur’s close ones, making the battle Arthur’s most personal conflict. The vibrant, loud underwater spectacle that characterizes Atlantis will make a final return as the movie looks visually gorgeous much like the original, and hopefully, Aquaman’s last adventure in DCEU will leave fans with something worth remembering.