‘Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom’ Director James Wan Addresses Numerous Aquaman Rumors, Admits He’s Unclear About What James Gunn’s DCU Plan Is
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom director James Wan is the latest to admit he does not know what direction James Gunn plans to take DC moving forward while he addresses numerous rumors regarding the latest Aquaman film.
Wan recently spoke about the upcoming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom film with Empire where he first bemoaned the narrative surrounding the film.
He said, “I’ve had to learn to be more Zen in dealing with all the noise around me, for sure.”
“I’m a pretty private person. I don’t get on social media and have fights, but it’s difficult because this narrative has emerged that is not the reality,” he said. “The noise is fun to write about, and it gets clicks, but people don’t know the truth.”
It’s unclear what narrative Wan is referring to when it comes to Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. There have been numerous rumors that the quality of the film is not up to par and that’s why the film has undergone numerous reshoots.
Scooper ViewerAnon posted in a now-deleted tweet, “I’ll be honest, we’re half a dozen test screening in and it’s not looking great. I’ve consistently heard over the last half ear or so that it’s boring, not as good as the first, and potentially one of the worst DCEU movies.”
This was echoed by fellow scooper Big Screen Leaks who wrote, ““There’s a reason I’ve been avoiding any questions about AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM but since ViewerAnon put it out there, It brings me no joy to back him up and tell you that test screenings for this film have not been good.”
“Really hoping Wan fixes his movie before December,” the scooper added.
Hot Mic co-host Jeff Sneider also reported, “I hear it’s terrible and that’s why Momoa is gonna be Lobo going forward. But they can’t say that yet because then it would be a lame duck… and DC is hoping to wring another billion out of the box office. First one was awful too, so not a huge surprise.”
Not only were there rumors about the film doing poorly with test screenings, but The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit reported in July the film had undergone a third round of reshoots and declared it “an almost unprecedented number.”
Kit’s report also claimed early test screenings did not go well, “While a timeline is not clear, from summer 2022 to the beginning of 2023, The Lost Kingdom underwent two rounds of reshoots and held several uninspiring test screenings.”
From there his report claims that Michael DeLuca and Pam Abdy got involved with the film following Walter Hamada and Toby Emmerich’s exits. In fact, it claims that a cut heavily influenced by Abdy tested poorly than previous versions. Thus another round of reshoots was called for. As to the main problem, Kit said one source informed him “the issue of story clarity has been an ongoing concern.”
Wan himself crafted a narrative that the film’s story was constantly changing due to all of the changes that happened during its production at Warner Bros.
He told The Hollywood Reporter in June, “I’ve had to make adjustments all along the way. The DCU has been through lots of different versions, and one of the things that was challenging about this film was keeping track of what’s going on.”
Wan would then seemingly contradict himself adding, “Fortunately, the Aquaman universe is pretty far removed from the rest of the world. We’re going to many different underwater kingdoms that are not necessarily related to what’s happening with the other movies and characters, so we’re stand-alone in that respect. So I can just tell my story on its own without being affected too much, but at the same time, I have to be mindful of what’s been happening.”
More recently it’s been reported that both Wan and Momoa wanted to remove Amber Heard from the film based on notes taken by Heard’s therapist Dr. Dawn Hughes.
One note from from Hughes about Wan states, “Even director of Aquaman II couldn’t acct + he raised his voice @ me — ‘I can’t even post about Aquaman’ — made it like it was my fault – I said ‘I’m sorry.’”
The note about Momoa also claims that he wanted her fired. It reads, “Then Jason said he wanted me fired as well…but on set Jason drink late on set, dressing up like Johnny – has all the rings too.”
Ironically, these therapy notes contradict one of Amber Heard’s witnesses during the trail between her and Johnny Depp.
Kathryn Arnold, an entertainment industry consultant testified, “Jason Momoa, the star, and James Wan, the director, committed to her in an email saying if we are involved in this movie you will be…”
After an objection, she added, “Jason Momoa and the director were adamant that she was in the film, worked hard to be in the film.”
Later she was asked on the witness stand, “And what if anything did you in all the record evidence did you see that the producer or Jason Momoa did not want Amber Heard in Aquaman 2?”
She responded, “I did not see any evidence of that.” When asked, “In fact, the opposite, correct?” Arnold replied, “Correct, again.”
Regardless, Wan did seem to indicate he might be referencing a narrative about studio interference as he informed Empire, “Look, I’m a collaborative filmmaker — I welcome people’s thoughts and opinions.”
“But ultimately, I feel I have more than proven myself. So, it was like: ‘This is the movie I want to make,'” he added.
As for the rumors about reshoots Wan stated, “We probably did seven or eight days which is nothing for a movie of this size. It was just spread out because it’s so hard to get your actors back once you’ve finished the initial shoot.”
Wan even declared, “I built an entire franchise from a reshoot!” He’s referencing The Nun, which came out of The Conjuring 2.
As for moving forward with James Gunn and Aquaman, Wan commented, “I haven’t directed a third movie [in a series] before, so I’d be open to doing another [Aquaman] if I got the same freedom I’ve had on these first two.”
“I’m not sure what direction [Gunn and Safran] are going in, though, so who knows? I’ve learned to never say never,” he concluded.
Wan is not the only one who does not know what’s going on with the DCU. Long-time DCEU producer Charles Roven admitted he was confused about Gunn’s plans back in August.
Roven told The Hollywood Reporter, ““Right now, they’re really rebooting everything, and it’s a little bit unclear to me exactly how finite their desire is to use or not use any DCEU actors in the same roles. So I’m not really sure, but at the moment, we’re not really having any discussions.”
What do you make of Wan’s comments regarding Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and James Gunn’s DCU?