Warner Bros. has been left in a tough position surrounding the future of Amber Heard's Mera in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and the DCEU as a whole. With a jury now having determined Heard's abuse accusations against Johnny Depp to have been false, many are eager to see her removed from the sequel, and reports are conflicted on what action Warner Bros. is taking.
Mera has been reported to play a major role in Aquaman 2, with the wife of Jason Mamoa's Arthur Curry set to have a child with the King of Atlantis. Reports have been all over the place surrounding how Warner Bros. intends to handle the situation; some claim she has been removed altogether, and others suggest her screen time to be around ten minutes.
Now, reports from the latest test screening are claiming her role may have even increased in past showings, leading to an outcry from fans.
Aquaman 2 Boycott Goes Viral
A recent rumor from Undercover Audience indicated Amber Heard's Mera saw an expanded role in the latest test screening in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Previous reports claimed her screen time to be close to ten minutes, while the latest rumor now lists her as being in the sequel for 20-25 minutes.
The reports have spurred a viral boycott of the DC sequel, with "#boycottaquaman2" having begun to trend on Twitter - a sign of the viral nature of the protest.
@BeautyBellaReid was one user to share the hashtag, suggesting that "if a woman is an abuser in Hollywood they give you more screen time," while Warner Bros. previously fired Depp from Fantastic Beasts when Heard made accusations against him:
"Ahhh ok….so if a woman is an abuser in Hollywood they give you more screen time…yeah, that makes sense"
@ariana_fsouza offered her hopes for the film to be "the failure of the century:"
"I hope Aquaman 2 be the failure of the century."
@starling_ginger justified the boycott, suggesting that the only way Heard will be removed from the movie is for "all of us to collectively turn our backs on that movie:"
"The only sure way to get [Amber Heard] removed from #Aquaman2 is for all of us to collectively turn our backs on that movie. Movies are a consumer-driven industry, WE are the consumers. Don’t like something; don’t waste your $$."
@annmarie2407 called so fans to "get #boycottaquamn2 trending again" in a push to get Heard removed from the film:
"#Amberheard is still in Aquaman 2, and she has more screen time. We need to get #boycottaquaman2 treading again."
@Tammy_B described her sympathies for Aquaman star Jason Mamoa as he "was caught in the middle of [Heard's] mess:"
"Felt bad for Jason Momoa thinking he was caught in the middle of [Amber Heard's] mess. But after seeing this I don't feel bad for him at all. Liking [Heard's] post"
@IvySyndicate proclaimed to "refused to watch" the movie if Heard appears in any capacity:
"I don't care how much screentime she has. I don't care how many lines she has. I don't care how often she appears in the movie. If Amber Heard is in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, I refuse to watch it."
@ShellyMinutillo called for Warner Bros. to remove Heard, accusing it of "pandering to a spoiled little lying spouse abuser:"
"In the name of fairness, she should be removed. You @wbpictures need to be checked. Your fortunes are thanks to fans, so pandering to a spoiled little lying spouse abuser instead of hearing us, is the ultimate insult. Sorry, Jason. I’d speak up if I were you"
@endless_summie questioned "if [Heard] was male would it be still the case" that she remains in the film:
"I have heard the news [Amber Heard] the abuser remains in #Aquaman2 If [Heard] was male would it be still the case? I watched the whole trial, I won’t be spending my hard-earned cash to watch this film."
@WildcatME1999 pointed out that Warner Bros. removed Depp from Fantastic Beasts but left Heard in the Aquaman sequel:
"So @warnerbros removed Johnny Depp from Fantastic Beasts, but they're allowing Amber Heard to be in Aquaman 2? Wow, you can't get any more delusional than that."
Not everybody looks to be on board with the boycott, such as @PnutButta3, who suggested that "Jason Mamoa doesn't deserve to be penalized for a co-star of whom he is not a fan:"
"I will not #boycottaquaman2 My man Jason Mamoa doesn't deserve to be penalized for a co-star of whom he is not a fan. Find another way to show your displeasure."
Will Amber Heard Be Removed from Aquaman 2?
Just over a week has now passed since Johnny Depp was awarded significant damages by Amber Heard for the verdict in their defamation trial. With Mera having a major role to play in the Aquaman franchise, it's far too soon to expect any action against her to have already been taken on the back of the verdict.
If Warner Bros. is considering reducing her role or cutting it altogether, that will require time and reshoots, not just a simple re-edit. What action the studio intends on taking ought to be clearer in the coming months, as the cut shown at this test screening was likely completed before the verdict was read.
Perhaps the most ironic element of the Heard situation comes down to how Warner Bros. handled the accusations against Depp. As soon as Heard began to take her abuse accusations against her ex-husband public, Depp was removed from his role as Grindlewald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
Now that those claims have been determined in court to be false, amid accusations of Heard having even abused Depp, the studio appears unwilling to take action against the actress. There's no telling whether the legendary actor stands a chance at reclaiming his role in the Harry Potter spin-off, but that seems unlikely with the future of that series up in the air.
With many promising to boycott the sequel for Heard's inclusion, it will be interesting to see how the movement affects the box office performance or even if the protest will survive the nine-month wait until the film even releases. Either way, audiences shouldn't be surprised if Mera plays a minimal role in the marketing and Heard is absent from the interview circuit.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom isn't set to hit theaters until March 17, 2023, so Warner Bros. still has plenty of time to respond to the situation with Heard.