Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, Aquaman director James Wan has been talking about trouble under the depths — or, rather, teasing the mystery villains that’ll appear in the 2018 movie based on the undersea superhero.
“I gotta say, one thing I love about the Aquaman world is all the really different, really interesting characters,” Wan told CinemaBlend. “They are interesting characters, including the villains – I’m not going to tell you which villains I’m going to play with! [laughs] But they’re super cool. They’re very larger than life, but they’re unique.”
Villains, plural? That might come as a surprise to non-comic book fans who would be hard-pressed to name even two threats that DC’s king of Atlantis faces on a regular basis. For those wondering just which super cool bad guys Want might be referring to, here’s a brief run down of five likely causes of cinematic mischief that Aquaman might have to deal with.
Arguably the Joker to Aquaman’s Batman, only one thing about Black Manta — another character whose true identity and origins remain a mystery to this day, with multiple contradictory versions having been given since the character’s 1967 debut in Aquaman Vol. 1 No. 35 — is known for sure: he’s a very dangerous man who’ll stop at nothing to ruin the underwater hero’s life. Including, it turns out, killing babies: one of the major storylines involving the villain saw him murder Aquaman’s toddler son, an unusually dark storyline when it ran in Adventure Comics in 1977.
Named after the sea monster of Greek mythology — and later renamed “Pirahna Man,” in an impressively banal moment of rebranding — this villain, who first appeared in 1993’s Aquaman Vol. 5 No. 1, was an international terrorist whose attempt to steal Aquaman’s powers backfired, resulting in his ultimately becoming part-man, part-piranha. The character does have an unlikely claim to fame, however; his debut appearance included his robbing Aquaman of his telepathic powers and then forcing a group of piranhas to eat the hero’s left hand, a strange status quo that remained for the next 17 years.
Although his origins have been revised a number of times, Ocean Master has always remained a half-brother of Aquaman, although the question of on which side has become somewhat complicated; originally a full human jealous of Aquaman’s powers as seen in his 1966 debut in Aquaman No. 29, he has since become a full Atlantean who wants the throne of Atlantis for himself. No matter which version of the character exists, however, he remains an untrustworthy opponent who’ll use magic to get his way. And then, of course, there’s that ego problem — after all, would anyone who wasn’t impressively arrogant really call themselves “Ocean Master“?
A relatively recent addition to Aquaman’s rogues gallery, the Trench isn’t a “who,” but a what — it’s a race of seemingly mindless, unstoppable creatures that live under the sea and exist to serve their king and queen, attacking humanity in order to find food. Imagine undersea zombies who are fast, strong and have teeth that can rip through steel, and you’ve pretty much got it. They debuted in 2011’s Aquaman Vol. 7 No. 1, and are named after the location of where they enter into “our world” from their seeming-underground dwelling.
The Deep Six
Unusually enough, this group of aquatic aliens aren’t traditionally an Aquaman threat, although they have faced off against the character on at least one occasion. Instead, the Deep Six — a group of six fish-like aliens with names like “Kurin,” “Trok” and “Shaligo, the Flying Finback” — come from the Fourth World comic book mythology created by Jack Kirby (They debuted in New Gods No. 2 in 1971), which is also the home to Darkseid, the Mother Box and a whole host of other concepts that have either appeared or been heavily hinted at in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. If Aquaman is going to tie directly into what’s going on in other DC Entertainment movie properties, this might be the easiest way to do it.