The cinematic universe model can be a burden to its individual films at least as often as it is a benefit, and this can be seen in Warner Bros.’ DCEU, where each new entry has to share its continuity with a whole load of less-than-beloved flicks, the most recent of the bunch being last year’s commercially underwhelming Justice League.
Nonetheless, while director James Wan has previously suggested that he didn’t want the new Aquaman to have too much overlap with the franchise’s previous installments, he at least acknowledges that his movie is one part of a wider superhero saga.
In an interview with CinemaBlend, the filmmaker explained that he regards his feature’s connections within the DCEU to be important, but was really looking to tell his own standalone story:
“It’s definitely something that’s important, because you’ve got to understand that you’re a movie that’s part of a bigger umbrella storyline. It was something that I wanted to be respectful of. But then, also, realize that I’m telling a standalone film. And what that allows me is that it allows me to tell the story that I wanted to tell, without being too beholden to what is happening somewhere else, and vice versa.”
This sounds like a reasonable approach, not just because a lot of viewers aren’t feeling too enthusiastic about events elsewhere in the DCEU, but also because Wan shouldn’t feel obligated to continue the overarching narrative of the saga if he has a vision of his own. The director even mentioned earlier this year that he talked Zack Snyder out of introducing Atlantis in Justice League, giving himself more of a blank canvas to work with when he told his first story in the underwater environment.
It’s still a couple of weeks until we can judge for ourselves if Wan’s particular section of the DC universe will be worth revisiting, but early buzz has been strong, and the box office projections have reportedly been promising enough for Warner to already begin sequel talks. We’ll find out if Aquaman is as big a hit as the studio is expecting when the film hits theaters on December 21st.