Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is one of the highly anticipated releases on the DCEU's current slate, but unfortunately, fans will need to wait a little while more due to its recent delay. The sequel will reunite Aquaman director James Wan with lead star Jason Momoa alongside several other actors from the first film, such as Amber Heard and Patrick Wilson.
Lost Kingdom was initially slated for December 16, 2022, the same day as James Cameron's Avatar 2. However, news broke that the sequel, along with other DC movies, shifted its release dates, with the Jason Momoa-led film nabbing a March 2023 release timeline instead.
This comes after Warner Bros. and DC promoted its 2022 slate through an impressive trailer filled with new footage.
Now, Wan revealed the true reason behind the film's latest delay.
James Wan Opens Up About Sequel's Delays
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom director James Wan shared a new Facebook post addressing the newly announced delay of the upcoming DCEU sequel.
Wan revealed that he has been working nonstop for at least 15 hours each day on the director's cut of the film from home. Upon confirming the delay, the veteran filmmaker admitted that he is thankful for the extra time that was given to him while also saying that he is working with "groundbreaking new technology:"
"Working nonstop, day and night (at least 15 hours each day), on my director’s cut from my home set up. Thank god for the big desk!
AQUAMAN and the LOST KINGDOM will be released March 17, 2023.
For a movie that is nearly all visual effects, I’m thankful for the extra time needed to craft this thing right. Working with groundbreaking new technology, I’m blown away by some of the early tests coming in. I’m cautiously optimistic and excited, and can’t wait to share when the time is ready."
In the post's comment section, Collider's Steven Weintraub said that he "figured the release date move" had something to do with VFX. Wan responded by honestly saying that he and the crew couldn't finish the film's post-production in time for its initial December 2022 release, citing the fact that they just finished shooting in January:
Weintraub: “I figured the release date move had to do with VFX. I’ve heard every movie and show is cutting it very very close to release date with final shots.”
Wan: “Honestly, I couldn’t make the December release as much as I love the Christmas slot. I literally just finished shooting 2 months ago in January.”
In a separate report, Deadline shared that the delays for the DCEU films are due to the logjam from many post-production effects houses as productions have ramped up since the pandemic slowed down. The outlet cited that The Flash has 2,500 VFX shots alone.
A Lengthy Post-Production for Aquaman 2
Jason Momoa wrapped filming for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom last December 9, 2021, but Wan's post has confirmed that the sequel's production truly ended last January. While the movie's lead star had already finished its scenes before Christmas, James Wan and the rest of the crew could've done the finishing touches for the sequel that led to the January wrap.
2018's Aquaman was previously confirmed to have just under 2,300 VFX shots. It is unknown how many VFX shots are in the sequel, but there's a chance that this could be surpassed, especially after Wan's reveal of working with "groundbreaking new technology."
That said, this means that the sequel will have a lengthy post-production phase, but it is still comparable to the length of time between the end of production and the theatrical release of the first Aquaman film.
Despite the delay, Wan's tease that he is "blown away" by the early tests of the sequel is a promising update, and this could boost the hype for the movie as its release inches closer in the coming months. Patrick Wilson, who will return as Orm in the film, previously shared that Lost Kingdom is "bigger and better and broader" than its predecessor, which is in line with the director's latest remark.
Meanwhile, Deadline's report further cements the idea that the COVID-19 pandemic is still the culprit behind these aforementioned delays. Although the pandemic has been slowing down in terms of surges across the globe, this series of delays is a fitting reminder that COVID-19 is still around, and everyone should remain cautious to avoid further mishaps in the future.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will now release on March 17, 2023.