Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will swim its way into theater screens later this year, after a long and troubled production process.
But the franchise could be going out on a high note. Aquaman was the DCEU’s only billion-dollar earner, and it seems as though many (if not all) of the pieces that made that film work will be back for the sequel.
Aquaman 2 Will Be Missing One Major Character
According to Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom director James Wan, the upcoming sequel will omit Willem Dafoe's character from the first movie.
Wan revealed the information as a part of an interview with Entertainment Weekly, letting slip that Dafoe's Nuidis Volko was "not in this one:"
"Willem is not in this one, no. Part of the reason was because his schedule did not work out for us."
While some may wonder what Jason Momoa's Arthur Curry is going to do without his mentor, Wan remarked that Vulko's absence allowed him to "expand on Atlanna's role," with Atlanna actress Nicole Kidman set to return in the upcoming sequel:
"But what that allowed me to do was expand on Atlanna's role. Atlanna in this one ultimately becomes Arthur's advisor. Because Arthur's not from this world, she helps him better understand the world and the politics of how things work."
Can Aquaman 2 Succeed Without Willem Dafoe?
While Willem Dafoe's Aquaman character was important to the plot of the first movie, helping to train Arthur into the hero he ultimately became, it is not the end of the world if the character is not back in the sequel.
This is not the first time a major actor/character has not reprised their comic book role after playing a major part in a prior film, with Marvel having just experienced this last year with Daniel Kaluuya in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Dafoe's DC story will ultimately end up being a hanging thread for the franchise (even more so as Aquaman 2 marks the end of the DCU as fans know it), but that might be okay.
There are so many other familiar faces coming back for The Lost Kingdom that fans will surely get their fill.
Plus, this will allow Nicole Kidman's Atlanna to fill the void left behind by Dafoe, and be an even bigger part of this aquatic adventure than she would have previously.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is set to hit theaters on December 20.