Something I touched on last week, and that I mentioned as part of my wish for the DC fandom to unite around Aquaman on the latest episode of The Fanboy Podcast, is the way the film will act as a message to DC Entertainment from fans regarding what they want.
See, the cinematic DC Universe is in a state of flux at the moment, transitioning away from the initial chapter in its saga and moving towards the start of a new era for DC on film.
But they’re still trying to figure out exactly what to keep from the first wave of DC films- which began with 2013’s Man of Steel and concluded with 2017’s Justice League– and what to discard, as they prepare their new slate.
And while there are some within the fandom still licking their wounds from a particularly bruising couple of years that saw Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment aggressively pulling away from the chief architect of the first round of shared universe DC movies, Zack Snyder, there’s actually an important reason for them to support James Wan’s Aquaman.
The fact of the matter is that Snyder’s DC DNA is still very much alive and thriving, thanks to the film- which opens next month. It stars Jason Momoa, who Snyder went out on a limb to cast against type as Arthur Curry. This will mark the third appearance of Momoa as Aquaman, following his introduction in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and his prominent role in last year’s Justice League.
And the studio is keenly interested to see how audiences will take to the film, which began production long before they saw the cold shoulder audiences would go on to show Justice League.
What I’ve been told is that the success of Aquaman will determine how much of Snyder’s legacy will live on in these future films. We already know that Shazam! director David F. Sandberg intends to directly reference Snyder’s films in his movie (something he recently confirmed is still his intention), and that another Snyder seed (Gal Gadot as Diana Prince) will live on when Wonder Woman 1984 arrives in June of 2020, but if Aquaman somehow stumbles in December, that could mark the end of Snyder’s influence on the cinematic DCU.
Essentially, if the film does well (which it has every reason to), they’ll continue to pick and choose which elements from Snyder’s DC films they want to continue expanding upon while ignoring the things they think were rejected by general audiences and continuing to introduce new characters and elements. If it somehow manages to fail, they’ll see that as the final nail in the coffin for Snyder’s canon. It would kill any chance of an Aquaman sequel, dim the chances of us seeing Ezra Miller as The Flash again, and guarantee that the studio completely turns its back on the already unlikely returns of Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill as Batman and Superman.
As I reported on a couple of weeks ago, there had been some recent internal talk of Affleck returning as Batman, a door which The Batman director Matt Reeves slammed shut for his film. So the studio has shown it’s open to reconsidering things, but if Aquaman doesn’t perform the way they hope it will, you can bet they’ll stop entertaining such possibilities.
Therefore if you want the few remaining Snyder fingerprints to live on in future DC films, it’s in your best interest to support Aquaman.
Yes, even if you’re part of the Release The Snyder Cut movement. Because while the studio has no intention of releasing the Snyder Cut of Justice League at this time, Aquaman flopping would assure them that they’ve made the right decision. Because it would mean that audiences really were so put-off by Snyder’s vision that they couldn’t even be bothered to show up for a movie that starred one of his actors- despite how different it looks and feels.
To be clear, I’m not saying that if Aquaman makes a billion that means you’ll get the Snyder Cut, but I’m saying it’ll help your chances. It would communicate to the studio that there is a sizable amount of interest and goodwill out there still for Snyder’s creations. And while, of course, he didn’t create Aquaman, he most certainly is responsible for the versions of Arthur and Mera that we’re going to see next month.
“But what if I’m not a Snyder Cut person?”
There are plenty of fans out there who felt “burned” by DC Entertainment when they invested their time and money into some of the earlier films in this franchise, and who are very much looking forward to this universe moving past Zack Snyder’s building blocks. And to them, I still say it behooves you to support Aquaman.
Why? Because no matter what, the Snyder Era is in the rearview mirror now. While there will be elements that could live on beyond Aquaman, you can rest assured that his overall look and tone are a thing of the past. And if you want DC to continue to push forward into the future, then you’re definitely going to want to show them you support their new direction.
And that’s why unity is the key here.
Whether you’re a DC fan who loves the work of Snyder, or a DC fan happy to move on to the next phase of things, Aquaman is an adventure you’ll want to embark upon. Because for DC, and for its fans, the future is now, and you have the power to show them what you want that future to look like.
That’s assuming, of course, that you’re interested in the film to begin with. I’m not suggesting you see the movie out of some misguided sense of obligation. If you’ve seen the trailers and aren’t sold on it, by all means stay at home. But if you’re planning on skipping it to make some sort of statement, you do so at your own peril because that could sabotage your chances of getting what you want.
In short, if you want DC to thrive on film again, go see Aquaman– no matter what you thought of these last few years of movies and drama.
It’s time to come together.
Thanks for reading,