Warner Bros. has released the official trailer for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the oft-delayed sequel to 2018’s Aquaman, which introduced the world to Jason Momoa as the exiled heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis. This time around, we find Aquaman juggling domestic duties while battling an existential threat to Atlantis in the form of an old foe bent on exacting revenge.
(Spoilers for 2018’s Aquaman below.)
When it was first announced, Aquaman initially struck me as an odd choice for a superhero movie. After all, that was the role—deemed ripe for satire—that Entourage‘s fictional actor Vincent Chase took on, with James Cameron supposedly directing for purposes of the plot. Then early images appeared with Jason Momoa in all his Aquaman glory, and many people changed their tune. The finished film wasn’t a slam dunk with critics—I enjoyed it well enough but thought the plot was an unholy mess—but you sure couldn’t argue with that box office return. Aquaman grossed a whopping $1.15 billion worldwide, the highest-grossing film in the DCEU.
A brief refresher: Aquaman gave us the origin story of Arthur Curry (Momoa), son of Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), former queen of Atlantis and human lighthouse keeper. He grows up on land, near the sea, and when he comes of age, he’s trained to use his innate gifts by his mother’s most trusted advisor, Nuidis Vulka (Willem Dafoe). Arthur makes an enemy of a pirate’s son named David (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who blames Arthur for his father’s death.
Then Arthur’s Atlantean half-brother, Orm (Patrick Wilson), now king, declares war on the surface world, and Arthur must stop him. David teams up with Orm and becomes the Black Manta, thanks to the gift of an Atlantean battlesuit. Arthur saves the day, of course, and even wins over Orm’s followers, thanks to acquiring the Trident of Atlan, first ruler of Atlantis. Arthur becomes king, and Orm is imprisoned for his crimes.
That’s where we left off, but director James Wan was keen to explore the world of the seven underwater kingdoms further, and Momoa was on board as well. Wan was also keen to make Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom more of a “buddy comedy,” exploring the relationship between Arthur and Orm. Per the official premise:
Having failed to defeat Aquaman the first time, Black Manta, still driven by the need to avenge his father’s death, will stop at nothing to take Aquaman down once and for all. This time, Black Manta is more formidable than ever before, wielding the power of the mythic Black Trident, which unleashes an ancient and malevolent force. To defeat him, Aquaman will turn to his imprisoned brother Orm, the former King of Atlantis, to forge an unlikely alliance. Together, they must set aside their differences in order to protect their kingdom and save Aquaman’s family, and the world, from irreversible destruction.