Outside the major movie releases from companies like Disney and Warner Bros., almost no story is making its way through the news stream more prominently than the drawn-out defamation court case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. This also ties into the DC Extended Universe due to Heard's upcoming role in next year's Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
When production first started on the sequel to the DCEU's highest-grossing movie to date, Heard shared her excitement for Mera's return on multiple occasions, even as her legal battle against her ex-husband became more public. Multiple crew members from Aquaman 2 even defended her being a part of the movie during production, leading many fans to wonder if Mera's role would stay as big as it was in the original film.
Recently, Heard's trial and the DCEU have become more intertwined with one another as President of DC Films Walter Hamada was present for a three-hour deposition regarding her appearance in the Aquaman sequel. Now, Heard herself has spoken about her upcoming work with Warner Bros., laying out some serious claims against the company behind the interconnected DC franchise.
Amber Heard on Diminished Aquaman 2 Role
In the defamation case proceedings between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, via Sky News and transcribed by u/BatmanNewsChris on Reddit, Heard revealed that her role in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was diminished from what it once was.
During the trial, Heard shared that while she played her role as Mera, it was a "very pared-down version" of the part she was meant to play. Claiming that Warner Bros. didn't want to put her in the movie at all, she told the court that she was given multiple versions of the script that progressively cut many of her action sequences:
Lawyer: "Have you participated in Aquaman 2?"
Heard: “I have. I fought really hard to stay in the movie. They didn’t want to include me in the film.”
Lawyer: "Were you ultimately able to film in Aquaman 2?"
Heard: “A very pared down version of that role, yes.”
Lawyer: "What if anything changed in the script?"
Heard: “I was given a script. Then given new versions of the script that had taken away scenes that had action in it, that depicted my character and another character, without giving spoilers away, two characters fighting with one another. They basically took a bunch out of my role. They just removed a bunch.”
Amber's Feelings Heard on Aquaman 2 Role
With each day that passes in this case, the controversy surrounding Heard becomes more troublesome just under a year ahead of her next DCEU movie. Combine that with other major controversies from Warner Bros., most notably The Flash star Ezra Miller's own legal problems, and it spells out an incredibly uncomfortable situation for the franchise's future.
Regardless of the results of this case, Heard is adamant that Warner Bros. didn't actually want her involved with Aquaman 2 due to the claims against her, saying that her role is a significantly lesser part than what she had expected ahead of filming. It's impossible to tell which version of the story is actually the truth, but considering everything that's come from the case so far, Heard is in a difficult position with this franchise.
The Direct exclusively reported that Heard's Mera will spend most of this movie pregnant with her and Arthur Curry's son as the sequel explores the seven kingdoms of Atlantis. The DCEU is also the only franchise on which Heard is credited for a role, outside 2019's Gully, meaning she likely wants to get as much out of these movies for her own career as she possibly can.
With ten full months until Aquaman 2 debuts in theaters, this case is sure to dominate the headlines as onlookers theorize about Heard's future with the Aquaman franchise. She gained plenty of support from her co-workers during filming, even while Depp has his own support from Marvel star Paul Bettany, and her status with Warner Bros. will certainly be a major topic in the coming weeks and months.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is set to premiere in theaters on March 17, 2023.