Following Aquaman‘s phenomenal box office performance over Christmas 2018, it was quickly announced that Warner Bros. had commissioned director James Wan to helm a spinoff. Titled The Trench, the film was said to be a horror-themed outing based around the vicious creatures that dwell in the deepest parts of the ocean, as introduced in the first film.
While maybe not the most thrilling of concepts for comic book readers, The Trench nevertheless seemed like a smart move as it would both expand the Aquaverse and allow Wan to bring some of his horror expertise to the DCEU. As it happened, though, the spinoff was ultimately drowned in development hell. But this may not be the end of the story, as Wan has teased that it’s possible the ideas he had planned for it could evolve into something new.
When asked by ComicBook.com if The Trench could still have (sea)legs, the Saw veteran admitted that he often likes to revisit discarded ideas, so nothing is off the table.
“Listen, I feel like everything I come up with, everything I do, if I come up with something that I don’t end up using, that doesn’t mean that I cannot be inspired to use that in a different way. That’s my problem, is I come up with a lot of ideas and I have so many ideas just percolating, but obviously, I can’t use all of them. So I would say of all the different thoughts and ideas I’ve come up with, I end up using maybe 20-30% of them in my work, and so I do have a drawer full of ideas that could develop into something else.”
We don’t know much about what Wan’s “drawer full of ideas” for The Trench consisted of, but the filmmaker has previously teased that it might’ve actually featured a popular Aquaman character in a major role. Wan let slip in an Instagram post last fall that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Black Manta was supposed to have a leading presence in the movie, which might be why the studio greenlit the curious project in the first place.
While The Trench may have sunk without a trace, however, the Aquaverse continues with Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Jason Momoa is back as King of Atlantis Arthur Curry, with Abdul-Mateen II returning alongside Amber Heard, although she’ll have a reduced role as Mera (as you may already be aware). After being pushed back from its planned December 2022 release, the sequel swims into cinemas on March 17, 2023.