Jeff Nichols Levels On His Decision To Pass Up Aquaman


Before closing a deal to ensure James Wan’s place at the helm, Midnight Special director Jeff Nichols had been attached to direct Jason Momoa in Warner Bros.’ Aquaman standalone flick, and today Nichols has shed light on why he passed up the chance to oversee Atlantis and the seven seas.

Word comes by way of Screen Crush, where the filmmaker compared working under Warner Bros. for Midnight Special with a tentpole production in the vein of Aquaman.


As a matter of fact, considering that the studio has mapped out an overview for the DC Extended Universe on screen, Nichols compared his decision to “trying to jump on a moving train.”

The trick with ‘Midnight Special’ is even though it was made at the studio, they gave me a lot of control over the process. And I don’t just mean control over final cut, but it felt like we were making one of my movies. I had my team. I had my family there. My crew. We made the movie we all wanted to make. With the DC universe, so many parts of it had been activated and so many decisions had already been made that it felt more and more — and Warner Bros. agreed — that it was me trying to jump on a moving train. That’s not so much what I’m good at. I’m more of a ground up kinda guy.

Designed as a piece of a larger puzzle, it’s clear Nichols’ vision for the Aquaman origins tale was markedly different than what Warner is aiming for, ultimately resulting in an amicable parting of ways. Here, the director offers new details on just how interconnected the DCEU is at a granular level.

It’s all a connected universe. And it should be. And I was an advocate of that. The decisions that Zack (Snyder) is going to make in Batman vs. Superman, those all connect to things that are going to happen in Justice League and all that. And I was a huge comic book nerd, so I know all these characters and they all need to be beautifully webbed together. I was just far enough on the outside that I could develop things in a vacuum all day long but it wasn’t going to line up with everything they had planned.

Aquaman has plotted course to dock in theaters on July 27, 2018. Long before Wan’s feature film surfaces, though, Jeff Nichols will dabble with a decidedly different breed of superpowers when Midnight Special releases on March 18.