Usually, in the superhero genre, a sequel movie will ditch the villains from the first film and introduce some fresh enemies for the hero to fight. In the case of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, however, both of Arthur Curry’s nemeses from his 2018 origins flick are returning. Namely, his war-hungry half-brother Prince Orm/Ocean Master (Patrick Wilson) and vengeful pirate David Kane/Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).
In the case of Orm, there’s the chance of a redemption arc, but Black Manta is unlikely to forgive Jason Momoa’s Atlantean any time soon. Aquaman‘s post-credits scene saw him recuperating from a debilitating defeat at Arthur’s hands in Sicily, under the care of Atlantis-obsessed scientist Dr. Stephen Shin (Randall Park). This humiliated Kane, prompting Shin to visit the underwater kingdom so that he may get his revenge on its new monarch.
Abdul-Mateen II has now teased that Black Manta will be a more fully-developed character in the next movie. While speaking with Variety to promote his latest high-profile project, horror remake Candyman, the Watchmen star described Kane as “more mature” in the second installment, which will explore his “values” and “motives” with more depth in the sequel.
“Now, we have a character who’s more mature, who has more time to breathe. And we get to understand him and some of his values and some of his motives,” Mateen said. “Hopefully in Aquaman 2, we can present a more well-rounded version of David Kane.”
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The actor went on to explain that, while Aquaman focused more on his Black Manta persona, The Lost Kingdom will better define who David Kane is underneath his oversized helmet.
“In the first film, we sort of got to meet him, but mostly it was about Black Manta,” he added. “And this one, my hope is that we can meet David Kane a bit more and find out what makes him tick, and some of the things that he wants and struggles with. It’s a bit more mature of an experience for me, and I’m looking forward to bringing that to the screen.”
James Wan is returning to helm the follow-up, which is currently shooting in London. With story details being kept tightly under wraps, Mateen’s comments offer some of our first hints at what we can expect from the plot. Though Aquaman grossed over $1 billion worldwide, it did receive criticism for its screenplay, which many considered underdeveloped, so Mateen’s promise that the characters will be better-defined in the sequel is very encouraging.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom swims into cinemas on December 16th, 2022.