Aquaman is now in US theaters, catching up with those around the world, which means that fans finally have a chance to lay eyes on the first solo movie for Jason Momoa’s King of Atlantis. Though it’s not as mandatory for DC as it is with Marvel, it’d still be wise to stay through the initial credits as the film has a mid-credits sequence which goes a long way to setting up a sequel and teasing a couple of characters’ key roles in the follow-up.
While he was much hyped beforehand, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Black Manta is only a supporting player in Aquaman, with Patrick Wilson’s Orm aka Ocean Master taking on central antagonist duties. Still, David Hyde appears in a few scenes throughout which show his rising thirst for vengeance on Arthur Curry, as he blames the Atlantean for his father’s death. During their last battle in Rome, though, Manta is well and truly beaten and left for dead in the sea.
In the post-credits scene, however, we see that Manta has been taken in and nursed back to health by Dr. Stephen Shin (Randall Park), who was briefly introduced in the movie as a crackpot scientist who believes Atlantis is real. He wants to know more about how Hyde acquired his Atlantean armor and weaponry and what else he knows about the underwater society. Manta agrees to tell him, so long as he helps him track down Aquaman so that he can kill him.
It seems a cert that Black Manta will be promoted to main villain if Aquaman 2 comes to pass. Likewise, his partnership with Shin is lifted from the comics, though in the source material, Shin was more of an unwilling participant in his schemes. Perhaps he’ll be redeemed in the sequel then and ultimately ally with Arthur?
As for what Manta’s next move might be, it’s likely that his plans will get a lot bigger than just seeking Aquaman out. Maybe he’ll lay siege to Atlantis itself? Or maybe his next move will be to take inspiration from Orm’s plans to start a war between the surface and underwater worlds and reveal Atlantis’ existence to humanity, using Shin’s media presence to drum up the public view of the Atlanteans as a threat.
Will there even be an Aquaman sequel, though? Well, we haven’t had any confirmation from WB as yet, but Jason Momoa’s very hopeful and says producers have responded positively to his ideas for a second movie. Fingers crossed then that the impressive box office figures so far will convince the studio that there’s more to be explored under the sea.