Aquaman: King of Atlantis premieres tonight on HBO Max and looks set to realize the undersea world of Arthur Curry through striking and colorful animation. The show consists of three 45-minute specials, with the story showing us Aquaman’s first days on the (slippery) throne, his battles with Ocean Master, and his friendship with advisors Mera and Vulko.
Aquaman director James Wan is on board as executive producer, but the creative leads are ThunderCats Roar!‘s Victor Courtright and Marly Halpern-Glaser. They both spoke to Comicbook about the show and indicated this will be very similar to their take on Lion-O and pals. Courtright said:
The visual style of this thing is from all over the place — old monster movies, old animation, our experience on ThunderCats. We worked with a lot of the same design team, and some of the board artists, and a lot of our crew from ThunderCats as well. We really just kind of pulled from all over the place, and that’s one of the things I love about the Aquaman world is that so many different things can fit together. It was just such a good starting point, such a good inspiration for creating new things that feel fun and strange.
Halpern-Glaser admitted that there are differences between the two projects but:
One of the things that Aquaman and ThunderCats have in common is they both have always had a mixture of magic and sci-fi, all in the same world. The Atlanteans have a lot of super science, but what Mera is doing is definitely magic, controlling water like that. There’s always both things side by side in Aquaman, and that’s really fun to play with.
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In addition, James Wan gave feedback on getting Atlantis right, with him and his team at Atomic Monster trying to ensure that the show stays relatively grounded and doesn’t completely spiral off into craziness.
The jury is still very much out on the show. It’s safe to say that ThunderCats Roar! wasn’t warmly received by fans, though its intended audience of children seemed to enjoy it. Judging by the YouTube reaction to the Aquaman: King of Atlantis trailer, opinion is evenly split with 5.2k upvotes and 4.6k downvotes.
But the proof will be in the pudding. It’s curious that after so long assuring audiences that Aquaman is a character to take seriously DC is happy to make him a figure of fun once again, but the involvement of Wan gives me hope that this will be a worthy watch.
Aquaman: King of Atlantis debuts today on HBO Max, with the next two chapters released on October 21 and October 28. The show will also air on Cartoon Network as part of the ACME Night block.