A lot of people were surprised when Aquaman earned over $1.1 billion at the box office to become the highest-grossing DC adaptation ever made, posting the kind of numbers that the studio were expecting from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice or Justice League. To put it into perspective how big of a deal that is, out of the ten biggest live-action hits the genre has ever seen, James Wan’s underwater epic is the only one that isn’t part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The sequel isn’t set to arrive until December 2022, so while we’re a long way off from hearing about any major new additions to the cast, a lot of the talk surrounding Aquaman 2 has centered on the involvement of one of the stars of the first movie. Following her highly-publicized and messy divorce from Johnny Depp, a series of revelations surrounding Amber Heard’s behavior has resulted in huge backlash against the actress, and a petition to have her removed from her role as Mera has amassed well over 400,000 signatures.
Obviously, the studios don’t tend to pay a lot of attention to the majority of these online campaigns, but given that Depp reportedly lost his high-paying gig as the star of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise as a result of the divorce battle, Warner Bros. are no doubt keen to avoid any sort of backlash or controversy surrounding the sequel to one of their most profitable enterprises.
There’s been a lot of support behind the idea of Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke replacing Heard as Mera, but new fan art from Aitesam Farooq imagines Blake Lively in the role instead, which you can check out below.
Nobody knows for sure whether Amber Heard will end up returning for Aquaman 2 until the studio gives a definitive answer, but Blake Lively would certainly make a decent replacement. That being said, she did play the female lead in Green Lantern, and we all know how her husband Ryan Reynolds feels about effects-heavy DC blockbusters.