‘Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom’ star says the DCEU has found its niche

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The DCEU has come a long way since it launched nine years ago with 2013’s Man of Steel. Once known for its grimdark tone, the Warner Bros. franchise is nowadays more likely to release something aiming for crowd-pleasing fun than doom ‘n’ gloom. For instance, 2018’s swashbuckling underwater action/adventure Aquaman was an international sensation and that featured an octopus playing the drums!

With the first one working so well, it seems certain that the upcoming sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will continue in the same vein and not shake up the formula too much. Sure enough, star Patrick Wilson has teased how the follow-up will double-down on what the original film did, voicing his belief that the DCEU has now found its “niche.”

Wilson — who plays Prince Orm/Ocean Master, the warmongering brother to Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) — told Collider:

“So you take those things that you think people responded to, even if it was, ‘Oh my God, can you believe they did that?’ Yeah, we did that. Now we’re going to do more of that. I think we found our niche. I think DC has found their way to understand where each movie can fit, even in a multiverse, which is so overused now, as a term. Clearly the movie went beyond a fanboy demographic, because it made whatever; billion dollars, right? So that affords you a freedom of, ‘You know what? Let’s keep it fun. Let’s make it fun.'”

Wilson’s definitely right that the motto of the DCEU these days is “Let’s make it fun.” The last four theatrically released entries in the franchise have included two movies notable for their bright, optimistic vibes (Shazam! and Wonder Woman 1984) and two R-rated films that had irreverent sensibilities (Birds of Prey and The Suicide Squad). Incoming additions like The Flash, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and Blue Beetle promise to continue that trend.

As Wilson says, the key to the franchise’s flavor is the embracing of the variations of the multiverse, establishing various disconnected timelines, instead of chasing a tightly-connected MCU-like structure. This means that those who want some darker DC content can get that too. This March’s The Batman, for example, is delivering exactly darkness in spades, existing apart from the mainline DCEU.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom swims into theaters on Dec. 16, 2022. Other DC projects on the way this year include Black Adam, Batgirl, and DC League of Super Pets.