Amber Heard has seen her reputation take a battering during her high profile divorce battle with Johnny Depp, with a series of explosive and widely-publicized revelations seeing the majority of the public side with her ex-husband in recent months. Of course, Depp lost the biggest payday of his career when he was dropped from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise due to the negative press, although recent developments may eventually see him reinstated as the iconic Captain Jack Sparrow.
Heard is also the star of a billion dollar franchise though, having played the female lead in the DCEU’s Aquaman, but that hasn’t stopped fans from demanding that she be fired from her role as Mera, with petitions for her removal amassing hundreds of thousands of signatures, while another one openly called for Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke to be named as her replacement.
Aquaman 2 isn’t expected to start shooting until next year, so the studio still has plenty of time to make a decision, but we’ve now heard from our sources – the same ones who told us both National Treasure 3 and Aladdin 2 were in development long before they were confirmed – that Warner Bros. are exploring all of their options regarding Heard, and that includes both firing her from the film or significantly reducing her screentime.
We previously reported that getting rid of her completely was definitely an option, but according to our latest intel, Warner Bros. are now leaning more in the direction of simply using her character in a much smaller capacity, similar to how Evangeline Lilly’s Coronavirus comments could end up having a drastic effect on her involvement in Ant-Man 3. In other words, instead of being a co-lead, Heard may just be more of a supporting player now.
The script hasn’t been finalized yet, so it would be a relatively straightforward task for the writers to work around it and explain why Mera isn’t featured as prominently anymore, which we’re told could potentially involve a much bigger role for Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s returning Black Manta. After all, the last thing movie studios want is bad press about their stars when there are billions of dollars at stake, and at this stage it seems unlikely that Amber Heard’s role in Aquaman 2 is going to be anywhere near as prominent as it was the first time around.