After dismal reactions out of recent test screenings, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is reportedly the subject of major story changes at DC.
Aquaman 2 is set to ring out this era of the DC Universe (DCU) this Christmas, as Jason Momoa's Arthur Curry takes on a personal Earth-based threat rather than "some alien force."
However, news has not been good as of late for the aquatic epic. As the film works through post-production, the Aquaman sequel has not been doing well at test screenings with some audience members calling it "potentially one of the worst DCEU movies."
This "terrible" response has apparently led Momoa to decide to move away from the character, instead taking on a new role within the DCU.
The Aquaman 2 Changes Continue
According to insider KC Walsh, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is in the midst of sweeping changes in post-production.
In a series of tweets, Walsh revealed that "[DC has] completely changed the plot" of the film, and he has heard that the version of the film being shown now is "not even the same movie that tested 4 times prior:"
"Every test screening has had mostly unfinished VFX, and no one walked out, the main issue was they completely changed the plot and villains of the film, it’s not even the same movie that tested 4 times prior."
He noted that the "same villains" are at the center of Aquaman 2, Warner Bros. and DC just continue to swap in a "different story around them."
When asked why these alterations have come this late in the game, Walsh responded with a simple "no clue."
He lamented that the previous story centered around Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's Black Manta being "possessed by an old king via a trident," but did not offer any details into what the changed plot looks like:
"Manta was possessed by an old king via a trident, and they needed royal blood to resurrect his old kingdom."
Speaking on The John Campea Show, another insider Robert Meyer Burnett corroborated Walsh's reports, speculating that he had heard "[WB is] changing a significant plot point."
He remarked that this could be because of "a tonal issue," but nothing specific was mentioned:
“I have heard that they’re doing reshoots. They’re changing a significant plot point… Look, this movie, just like the first one, I’m sure, the potential for goofiness is there… A lot of people don’t dig that… There’s a lot of people where that’s not their thing. So, it might be a tonal issue. It might be something that it’s too fantasy for them. I just don’t buy it until we see the whole film. The problem is, people would rather report on something being bad than good.”
This comes as a pair of Batmen cameos from Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton have reportedly been cut from the movie as well.
What Is Happening With Aquaman 2?
After all of this, it feels like the current era of DC movies is not going to go out on a high note, as all reports point to Aquaman 2 being in shambles.
And all this has fans asking where did the DC sequel go wrong?
The first Aquaman film is considered one of the more successful DCU entries, so Aquaman 2 felt primed to carry on those good vibes.
However, this feels like a case of a movie that was pulled apart and put back together too many times.
When Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was first greenlit it was not set as being the closing of the DCEU chapter. Aquaman 2 has been the victim of constant changes in strategy for the DC Universe as a whole, being in a constant state of flux as things change at both DC and Warner Bros.
This is best exemplified in its shuffling of Batman cameos. The film has gone from having a Michael Keaton cameo to having both Keaton and Ben Affleck pop up to now seemingly having neither.
Whether it was good before these changes or not remains unknown, and probably always will, but it is hard for a movie to succeed when it is being Frankensteined over and over again into things it was never meant to be.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is set to hit theaters on December 25.