Home News

‘This is my movie’: James Wan downplays James Gunn’s influence on ‘Aquaman 2’

James Wan is still making a James Wan movie, thank you very much.

aquaman and the lost kingdom
Image via Warner Bros.

If you believe the rumors, few films have been delayed and reshot as much as James Wan’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the follow-up to 2018’s billion-dollar-earning Aquaman.

The sequel was originally supposed to hit theaters last December, but it lost the release date following a swell of delays caused by COVID-19 and the reshuffling of DC’s superhero slate under new co-bosses Peter Safran and James Gunn.

Lost Kingdom was originally supposed to release ahead of Warner Bros. Discovery’s The Flash. However, with The Flash coming and going from theaters this past June faster than — well, you know — all eyes are on this coming December, when Aquaman will finally ride a giant tortoise into theaters and see if he can catch another billion dollars with his goofy trident.

The shuffling of the release date as well as new input from Safran and Gunn necessitated a fair amount of reshoots. However, Wan told Entertainment Weekly recently that the reshoots didn’t change the core story or his initial approach to the material — and frankly are par for the course for any big-budget tentpole these days, even without a pandemic or a production house going through an identity crisis.

Wan explained:

“The beauty of this movie, this Aquaman world, is that, very early on, we always said that we are our own separate universe. My goal was always: If we could spin off a Seven Kingdoms universe, that would be my ideal dream. So, what we do, ultimately, doesn’t get affected by all that stuff, all that noise.”

The director openly discussed his collaborative process with Gunn once the filmmaker was brought aboard as one of the new heads of DC. Wan assured fans that the end product is still his original vision:

“I’ve known James [Gunn] since way back, right?” he says. “We’re horror guys, and so I’m definitely open to ideas. But, at the end of the day, this is my movie.”

Wan also addressed rumors that he was forced to separately film footage of Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton for a planned Batman appearance in the film, noting, “The tricky thing early on was not knowing whether Aquaman would come out first or come out after [The Flash]. So, we just had to be prepared.”

As for all the presumptive negativity surrounding the reshoots? Wan basically suggested that everyone calm down. In fact, that’s when the director gets some of his best ideas, he told EW.

Apparently, Wan didn’t come up with the idea for the popular Demon Nun in the Conjuring Universe until he was doing reshoots on Conjuring 2. The director initially shot the Nun sequences for a “big demon,” but he eventually decided that it was “too much.”

Of course, the Nun went on to star in her own spinoff films, one of which is playing in cinemas right now. According to Wan:

“I find new things and I come up with new ideas. The Conjuring 2 was the perfect example of me putting the whole movie together and then  bing!  a lightbulb went off in my head and I go, ‘I know what I need to do.'”

He summarized, “[A]dditional photography is never a negative thing.”

We’re willing to give Wan the benefit of the doubt here, especially since his first Aquaman easily overcame its stale script to become one of the most gorgeous, most ridiculous action romps in recent memory.

Consider our seat reserved when Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom arrives in theaters fashionably late, on Dec. 20.

Matt Wayt
About the author

Matt Wayt

Matt lives in Hollywood and enjoys writing about art and the business that tries to kill it. He loves Tsukamoto and Roger Rabbit. letterboxd: wayt_what