Beware of spoilers to the Aquaman(2018) film, ye who enter here

It’s time to get excited.

Aquaman’s rivalry with Black Manta is one of the best of all time. As the legend goes, Aquaman accidentally kills Manta’s father in retaliation for attacking Aquaman’s father. This leads to Manta’s long-held hatred for the King of Atlantis. Considering Manta’s one of the most vicious villains in the DC roster, and Arthur is one of the most powerful heroes, it’s been fun to read.

It was rather unsurprising then when it was revealed that Black Manta would be a character in the James Wan-directed Aquaman film coming out next year. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will be playing the character, and there’s reason to believe he’s going to do a fantastic job. In an article about 2018’s upcoming films USA Today, James Wan reveals his appreciation for Manta’s “classic revenge story.” Yet another reason to be excited The Conjuring and Saw director is behind DC’s next blockbuster.

The same article may give audiences their first look at Arthur Curry’s arch-nemesis, Black Manta.

Whether he’s wearing armor or simply his own tattoo’s, Jason Momoa looks the part. But is that Black Manta he’s facing? The character seems to be heavily armored, which Manta sort of is. He or she is also holding a lengthy, staff-like weapon of some sort. Black Manta usually has a couple of dark blades or one large staff.

Resembling something like this:

Black Manta by Paul Pelletier

The color works with the photo; the weaponry works too. That looks like Manta alright. But Black Manta won’t be the only villain plaguing the King of Atlantis in his very first film.

A James Wan regular could also be the man behind the shoulders.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Orm, Ocean Master by Ivan Reis

Patrick Wilson, an actor who’s already graced the DC Universe with his presence, will be playing Arthur’s half-brother Orm. As you can see, Orm is often heavily-armored. He is an Atlantean, after all. Not only that but he wields a darker version of Arthur’s trident. Sometimes, he even wields Arthur’s weapon in defiance. Considering the weapon is the symbol of Atlantis it’s no surprise it happens to be Orm’s weapon of choice.

The photo reveals a weaponless Arthur. So the weapon in the hands of the mysterious foe could be Aquaman’s very own trident. Not much is known about the plot of the film. It’s more likely that Wilson’s Orm is the antagonist instead of Abdul-Mateen’s Black Manta. Orm frequently tries to claim the throne by way of his own heritage. So using him as a villain would be a much better way for the 2018 film to teach audiences about it’s under-the-sea kingdom. Having Black Manta’s grudge begin in this film would be a great way to set the villain up for the future.

Especially if he’s going to join the Legion of Doom sometime soon.

There’s a chance that the photo doesn’t reveal anything significant. Momoa’s got a bit of a smirk going, so there’s a chance it’s a photo from an unreleased take or he could be facing an ally. Much like Arthur himself, audiences don’t know much about his world or the characters that inhabit it.

Aquaman likely won’t know friend from foe. But on December 21st, 2018 both audiences and the King of Atlantis are going to learn a thing or two.

  • About The Author

    Daniel Mills
    Batman & DC Writer

    Daniel Mills is a screenwriter and director working in Los Angeles, California. Far too many comics and Forgotten Realms-novels led him to want to tell stories of his own. From articles and opinion pieces to reviews and screenplays, he sees every new opportunity as another new realm waiting to be explored.