For the longest time, Aquaman was the butt of jokes for DC Comics. But thanks to filmmaker James Wan's radical reinvention of the aquatic superhero for his big-screen movie debut, Aquaman has become the DCEU's most successful superhero yet, with a billion+ dollars box-office gross and Aquaman 2 in the works which will have a 'touch of horror', as Wan promised in an excerpt from DC FanDome's Q&A session posted on Twitter.
"I would say yes. Just like the first movie had a touch of my horror sensibility in it, in regards to the Trench sequence, I would say there'll be a little bit of that in this next one. I think it's something that's a big part of who I am, and it just naturally comes out in these kinds of films. And especially a movie like Aquaman, you know where the story takes place in these underwater worlds that can be very scary. So naturally, my love for the horror genre just means that I latch myself to these scenes and try to give them a little bit more of my scary sauce."
Fans of Wan's filmography are well-aware of the filmmaker's horror-inclinations. After bursting onto the Hollywood scene with The Conjuring, Wan established one of the most successful horror movie franchises in history with multiple sequels and spinoffs.
Even the first Aquaman, as James Wan points out, had plenty of horror elements in the midst of all the superhero capering. The famously chilling 'trench' sequence proved so popular that a horror spinoff is being planned centering around the monstrous sea creatures shown in the scene. The part where Aquaman enters the domain of the Karathen to reclaim his ancestor's trident also plays out like a horror movie where a giant, terrifying creature lies hidden and waiting in the shadows.
Considering that the world of Aquaman deals with the seven seas and all the undiscovered monstrosities that could be lurking in their depths, there is plenty of horror material waiting to be mined for the sequel. In the past, Johnson-McGoldrick, who is writing the script for Aquaman 2, had hinted that he looked to silver age comics featuring Black Manta for inspiration.
This means the upcoming film will see Aquaman and Black Manta facing off once again while some unknown sea horror lurks in the background, ready to start wreaking havoc. Patrick Wilson, who played the main villain Orm in the first Aquaman, has also teased big things for the upcoming sequel.
"I'm slightly briefed [on Orm's jurney]. I just throw a little dart here and there. I'll say, 'So, what about this?' and [James Wan will] say, 'Well, this is what I'm thinking.' I can tell you that even his concepts for Aquaman 2 are pushing it even further."
Directed by James Wan, Aquaman 2 will see most of the main cast returning from the original, including Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. The film is slated to arrive in theaters Dec. 16, 2022.