The ongoing situation between Aquaman star Amber Heard and her ex-husband Johnny Depp has been unraveling for nearly half a decade. Just 13 months after the two were married in April 2015, Heard filed for a divorce and obtained a temporary restraining order against Depp. Heard alleged that Depp had been both "verbally and physically abusive" to her throughout their marriage, while Depp claimed that the allegations were due to Heard receiving "negative media attention" following the divorce filing.
Flash forward to June 2018, and Depp himself filed a libel case against The Sun for publishing an article that labeled him as a "wife-beater." Shortly following this article, Depp announced that he had been asked to resign from his role as Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Depp would lose that libel case. Despite cries for Warner Bros. to recast Heard's role of Mera for Aquaman 2, the studio brought her back for the sequel.
Depp then motioned to bring Heard to court once again in early 2019, suing his ex-wife for defamation following her Washington Post op-ed about her history of abusive relationships. Depp claimed that Heard, not him, was a "perpetrator," and the constant allegations were an "elaborate hoax" to generate positive publicity for Heard.
This month, the case has been brought to trial in Fairfax County, Virginia.
DC Films President Testifies Against Amber Heard
Johnny Depp's defamation case against Amber Heard is ongoing this week.
According to a report from Puck News, President of DC Films Walter Hamada was present for a "three-hour deposition" to testify on the subject of Heard's presence in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. While Heard was ultimately brought back for the March 2023 release, her option was initially declined.
As heard in Hamada's testimony, the initial decline was due to chemistry concerns with leading man Jason Momoa. Issues between Momoa and Heard have been publicly referenced in the past.
Despite being brought back, Heard accused Warner Bros. in her 2018 op-ed of reluctantly bringing her back for the sequel due to the ongoing Depp scandal.
"Friends and advisers told me I would never again work as an actress — that I would be blacklisted. A movie I was attached to recast my role. I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me. Questions arose as to whether I would be able to keep my role of Mera in the movies Justice League and Aquaman."
Heard's case continued, as she claimed she has been the victim of "direct financial consequence" and has been unable to book "additional lucrative roles or endorsements" due to the Depp situation.
Heard's current counterclaim to Team Depp is seeking as much as $100 million.
DCEU Casting Woes Continue
Unfortunately for the DC Extended Universe's 2023 releases, this is not the only actively controversial actor they have in a leading role. The Flash star Ezra Miller was arrested on harassment charges last month, and was given a temporary restraining order from the couple that he threatened. This led to Warner "discussing options" for the future of that June 2023 release.
Aside from an ensemble role in 2019's Gully, Heard's only film credits since 2018 have been in the DCEU as Mera. Considering this role roots her in a franchise, Heard's insistence on not being recast is likely due to the Aquaman franchise being her only guaranteed work at the moment.
There's no word on what will come of Arthur Curry and company following The Lost Kingdom. The sequel to 2018's billion-dollar hit was green lit just two months after Aquaman hit theaters, meaning plans for a threequel are conducive on Aquaman 2's box office.
It was later revealed during Amber Heard's cross-examination that she was cut from multiple scenes in Aquaman 2.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is scheduled for a theatrical release on March 17, 2023.