Director James Wan promises a more serious tone and greater relevance to modern times in the forthcoming sequel to 2018’s Aquaman.

Wan and Ocean Master actor Patrick Wilson took part in an Aquaman 2 panel at DC FanDome over the weekend. There they discussed the direction the film will go.

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“I think the second one is a little bit more serious, a little bit more relevant in the world we are living in today,” Wan said. “I think that’s where it wants to go.”

Wilson replied he would like to see more “world-building” in the “unexplored ocean.” “I know [Wan] loves world-building and I’d like to see some of that,” he said. “I know you’re going to push that ocean. There’s a lot of unexplored ocean!”

Wan responded he “can definitely guarantee you new worlds in this next one and I think you’re going to be very excited as an actor.”

Orm will return and Wilson asked if he will wear handcuffs most of the time since he’s probably in a dungeon. He then joked the restraints could be seaweed he can easily rip.

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The actor does believe we’ll see Orm locked up. “I don’t think Orm ends up in Belle Reve like he does in the New 52,” he said in 2019. “I assume they’re gonna keep him in some kind of jail below the surface.”

Wilson also shared last year there are ideas for Orm in Aquaman 2 but didn’t reveal them. “I can tell you that even [Wan’s] concepts for Aquaman 2 are pushing it even further,” he said to The Hollywood Reporter.

He added, “I have a few ideas of where Orm fits in, but I’m not gonna talk about them.” We know he won’t be the main villain. That duty belongs instead to Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen).

According to screenwriter David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Manta’s the Big Bad and the script will borrow heavily from the Silver Age; though no specific comic story is being adapted.

Screenshot-McGoldrick Aquaman2

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The sequel will also be darker, said James Wan in a recent Instagram Q&A. It will display more horror elements like those of The Trench, which is in the filmmaker’s blood.

“Just like the first movie had a touch of my horror sensibility in it in regards to the Trench sequence I would say that there will be a little bit of that in this next one,” he said.

Aquaman 2 is still set to make its splash in theaters in Dec. 2022.