Here’s the thing about Aquaman – the movie needs to work, and in order to do that, the script needs to have a very specific tone. Producer Zack Snyder captured that tone perfectly with his previously released still of Aquaman star Jason Momoa in full costume – but this doesn’t guarantee that the filmmakers entrusted with executing the project on set will be able to follow through. This is why the hiring of Aquaman writers comes under such scrutiny.
Thus far, we have heard of the involvement of three writers, all allegedly completing their own, individual Aquaman scripts – in much the same way that several Wonder Woman scripts have reportedly been commissioned. The choice of writers has left much to be desired, however. Will Beall is a relative newcomer to the world of screenwriting, having just five episodes of Castle, and the movie Gangster Squad to his name. Jeff Nichols is a writer-director whose body of work is more noteworthy, but still small – with Take Shelter and Mud being two of his three released projects. Kurt Johnstad, meanwhile, wrote Zack Snyder’s break-out hit 300, followed by the lacklustre Act Of Valour and 300: Rise Of An Empire.
Now comes the news that Warner Bros. has hired David Leslie Johnson for the Aquaman project. Johnson has previously co-written Orphan, Red Riding Hood, and Wrath Of The Titans, along with two episodes of The Walking Dead, and two episodes of Mob City. In announcing his joining the project, the writer has been repeatedly referred to as a Warner Bros. favourite, due to Red Riding Hood and Wrath Of The Titans. However, it is almost certainly the fact that he recently performed re-writes on The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist that landed him the job. The Conjuring 2 and Aquaman both have James Wan (Fast And Furious 7) at the helm.
It is currently unconfirmed whether David Leslie Johnson will be adding his own, individual Aquaman script to the growing pile but, given his history as a co-writer, and his performance of re-writes on The Conjuring 2, it is perhaps more likely that he will be attempting to blend the best parts of those already completed and, hopefully, infuse that script with an overall, cohesive and consistent tone.
With a release date still almost three years away – in 2018 – there is thankfully plenty of time to get it right. The mystery of why the studio has not yet hired any women to contribute may never be solved, however.