Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is set to debut this weekend, serving as the final installment of the DC Extended Universe before the launch of the new universe in 2025 with Superman: Legacy, helmed by James Gunn and Peter Safran. However, the sequel to the 2018 film Aquaman appears to be receiving lackluster responses, with underwhelming box office predictions and negative reviews, making it one of the lowest-rated movies in the DCEU.
In a recent interview with The Independent, Peter Safran suggested that this sequel could potentially serve as Jason Momoa's "last stand" as the character. While Safran praised Momoa as the definitive Aquaman, he also hinted at the idea that his time portraying the character may be coming to an end, as both films together form a very complete narrative.
When asked if this movie would mark Momoa's final appearance as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Safran didn't provide a definitive answer but alluded to the possibility. He expressed his hope that audiences would support Momoa in what could potentially be his last outing as Aquaman. Safran emphasized Momoa's journey in the role, stating that the actor has redefined the character over the past 11 or 12 years. He pointed out that Momoa was originally known for his role as Khal Drogo, but has now truly become synonymous with Aquaman.
Safran shared his desire for people to rally behind Momoa and his portrayal of Aquaman. He acknowledged that although the journey could come to an end, Momoa's time in the role has meant a great deal to him. Safran praised director James Wan for crafting a second film that feels like a complete story when viewed in conjunction with the first film. He tantalizingly hinted at what may lie beyond this film for Momoa, stating that Jason will always have a home at DC and Warner Bros. He also mentioned Momoa's upcoming projects, including Minecraft and Hand of Dante, set to release in 2024 and 2025 respectively.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, closing out the previous DC Extended Universe era, is anticipated to have an opening weekend box office range of $32 million to $42 million. Despite the uncertain future for Momoa as Aquaman, Safran expressed his hope that audiences will show their support for what could be the actor's final outing in the role. Reflecting on Momoa's transformative journey in the character for over a decade, Safran emphasized his belief that Momoa has defined Aquaman and left an indelible mark.
In December 2018, the first Aquaman film opened to $67.8 million and earned $335 million domestically and a staggering $1.152 billion worldwide, surpassing expectations. Early rumors in September 2022 suggested that Warner Bros. may be abandoning the sequel due to the lack of marketing and absence of a trailer. However, the studio dispelled these speculations by releasing a trailer the following day, confirming the release date and Amber Heard's return as Mera.