The release of “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” signifies a transition in DC Comics’ film history. This sequel will conclude the DC Extended Universe era before James Gunn and Peter Safran embark on a new vision with the Gods and Monsters initiative. Reactions to the first trailer have been mixed, with some fans excited to see Jason Momoa return as Arthur Curry and the focus on the rivalry with Black Manta. However, there’s a subset of fans calling for a boycott with the hashtag #BoycottAquaman2.
This movement primarily revolves around Amber Heard, who plays Princess Mera, and her involvement in a contentious trial with ex-husband Johnny Depp. Some fans demanded her recasting, even starting petitions for Emilia Clarke to take over the role. However, Heard appears in the trailer, indicating she will be part of the film’s storyline. The level of vitriol directed at Heard has been notable, and while controversies have surrounded other DC actors, the intensity here is particularly striking.
Another aspect of the boycott campaign is a belief that a box office failure for “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” will lead Warner Bros. to reinstate Zack Snyder as a director for the franchise. This sentiment stems from the ongoing support for Snyder’s vision, especially after the release of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League.” However, Warner Bros. has already moved in a different direction with Gunn and Safran overseeing DC Studios, and Snyder has his own projects with Netflix. The idea of Warner Bros. collaborating with Netflix for further DC work is more of a fan-driven hope than a likely reality.
Furthermore, it’s important to acknowledge that Zack Snyder’s original vision for “Justice League” would have been a trilogy, and certain characters were swapped out in the released version. Snyder’s cut represented a compromise between his vision and studio constraints, as is often the case in blockbuster filmmaking.
Ultimately, the #BoycottAquaman2 campaign is rooted in a mix of valid concerns and misplaced hopes. While fans have strong emotional connections to these franchises, it’s important to recognize that the direction of DC Films has already shifted, and the new projects should be evaluated on their own merits.