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  • Writer's pictureAaron Fonseca

Aquaman 2 Director Defends Decision to Reduce Amber Heard's Role

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Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom director James Wan defends the decision to significantly reduce Amber Heard's role in the upcoming DC Extended Universe sequel, suggesting it was always the plan.

Speaking with Empire Magazine, Wan spoke about why Heard's reprised role as Mera in the Aquaman sequel was pared down, as confirmed by the actor herself during the much-publicized defamation trial involving her ex-husband Johnny Depp. Wan addressed Heard's statement at the trial, where she claimed Warner Bros. wanted her out of The Lost Kingdom, saying it was "fair," but insisting the plan all along was to feature Mera less and focus on the tense dynamic between Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) and his half-brother Orm Marius (Patrick Wilson). "It’s fair that [Heard] said that [about the character being pared down], because she wasn’t in my head as I was working on this movie. Actors don’t necessarily know what we [directors] behind the scenes are thinking about. But this was always my plan," Wan said.

Speculation about Heard's lessened role in The Lost Kingdom was further ignited following the recent trailer for the sequel, which showed Mera for a short time with no dialogue. Wan, who previously dubbed The Lost Kingdom as a "bromance action adventure," said the holiday season blockbuster will focus less on romance and more on brotherhood, as he intended when pitching the idea. "From the start, I pitched that the first film would be a Romancing The Stone-type thing — an action-adventure romantic comedy — while the second would be an outright buddy comedy. I wanted to do Tango & Cash!" he said.

James Wan Has Denied Reports of Behind-the-Scenes Drama

Mera, the princess of Xebel, featured prominently in Aquaman as Arthur's love interest, showing off her telepathic and hydrokinetic abilities. However, the controversial defamation case with Depp made Heard the subject of scrutiny in the public eye, leading to questions about her feature in The Lost Kingdom and her future in Hollywood. Heard was allegedly ridiculed behind the scenes by Momoa, who dressed up like Depp during filming and wanted her fired. This was one of several behind-the-scenes issues that reportedly plagued production. However, Wan has since denied the claims.

The Lost Kingdom has been mired by reported bad reviews since its initial test screenings, with people walking out of them during particular scenes and disliking its story. However, Wan has teased the film's humor on multiple occasions and believes the sequel is a good setup for a potential Aquaman 3. Whether Momoa will reprise his role as the eponymous Atlantean king in a threequel remains in doubt as he has long been linked to playing Lobo in James Gunn and Peter Safran's new-look DCU.

The Lost Kingdom also stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen III (Black Manta), Nicole Kidman (Atlanna) and Dolph Lundgren (Nereus). Made on a $205 million budget, DC will be hoping the sequel will mirror at least some of the financial success of its 2018 predecessor, which made over $1 billion at the global box office.

Lost Kingdom opens Dec 20th

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