Test screening leaks aren’t portending good tidings for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom lately. As they bespeak poor quality of the film, the leakers and fans they communicate to aren’t warm to the prospect it will be any good. Saying that, we still don’t know a whole lot about the sequel beyond who is — or remains — in it.

Jason Momoa as Aquaman in Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021), HBO Max

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Amber Heard is still present, for instance, despite the backlash against her for what occurred in her years-long skirmish with ex-husband Johnny Depp in the press and in courtrooms. That’s one knock against the Lost Kingdom already for many people but, regardless, Patrick Wilson and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II are also reprising their roles and will be as pivotal as ever.

However, it’s not as widely known how each person and piece fits into the grand scheme of things narratively. Until now, that is — while the movie comes out at the end of the year, information is beginning to come in dribs and drabs as the wave behind it reaches the shore. As such, there are new details to share.

Mera (Amber Heard) bids farewell to Arthur (Jason Momoa) in Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021), Warner Bros. Pictures via Blu-ray

Mera (Amber Heard) bids farewell to Arthur (Jason Momoa) in Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021), Warner Bros. Pictures via Blu-ray

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As a disclaimer, this intel is alleged at this point without complete confirmation so use caution. In any case, well before the landfall, YouTuber Warstu submitted a few things he’s heard from his sources and these minor spoilers mean big things for the parties mentioned earlier (minus Depp). Heard’s importance becomes clearer as does Mateen’s but more so.

Warstu says Black Manta returns with a vengeance and with the help of a gang of unidentified bad guys. Besides bringing some extra muscle, he adds to his arsenal an enchanted trident which causes him to become possessed by the spirit of an ancient and lost king of the deep – hence the film’s title. Finally back, this king has plans.

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Using Manta and his resources, he aims to restore his lost — and probably fallen — kingdom to whatever former and forgotten glory. The rub is he needs the sacrifice of royal Atlantean blood to achieve that. Aquaman, Mera, and Orm would never volunteer or go without a fight so Manta goes ahead and kidnaps the former two’s newborn son.

Since Mera gives birth at the beginning, that’s one way Heard fits into the picture but the scene won’t take that long and doesn’t amount to the bulk of her screen time. She will have more to do and perhaps say though Warstu doesn’t go into great detail as to what. Judging by Heard’s testimony in court last year, fight scenes are out.

Black Manta talks to watery Orm

Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen) talks to Orm (Patrick Wilson) in Aquaman (2018)

Warstu adds there is a buddy-cop-film dynamic at play between Orm and Arthur which has previously been reported. Likewise, the main subplot with Black Manta coheres with hints from screenwriter David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick that the script would borrow from the Silver Age. James Wan may then lean more into camp than last time which could explain the current negative feedback.

What do you make of this rumor regarding Black Manta’s role in the film?

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