This year’s slate of Hall H panels at San Diego Comic-con have been relatively quiet, at least compared to prior years. We’ve seen new looks at what’s to come from The Predator, Glass, Star Trek: Discovery, and The Walking Dead, but the biggest panel by far this year was the Warner Bros. panel, which just showed off the first look at James Wan’s Aquaman.
While Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, human name Arthur Curry, was a highlight of 2016’s Justice League, this is the first time we’ve gotten to see him in action on his own. Highlights in the new trailer include a look at the Marine Marvel’s straw-haired aquatic family, including Nicole Kidman as his mother Queen Atlanna and Patrick Wilson as his warmongering half-brother Orm (AKA Ocean Master), as well as an epic origin-story scene in which a young Arthur Curry (Kaan Guldur) marshals the righteous anger of an aquarium full of sharks. Another highlight is Amber Heard’s Mera, who manages to neg Aquaman — “You do your best thinking when you’re not thinking at all” — and jump out of a plane with no parachute (“Redheads! You gotta love ‘em!”) in the trailer’s two-minute span.
Since Warner Bros. first introduced the character back in Justice League, the studio has backtracked a bit on its DC film franchise in the wake of disappointing reviews. It’s stepping away from its overarching expanded universe in favor of films in the vein of the overwhelmingly successful Wonder Woman — still set in the same world, but not as interconnected as Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. As such, Aquaman will be the first film to test that strategy out, but there’s more on the horizon: Warner Bros. also released a surprise trailer for Shazam, as well as a clip of Wonder Woman 1984 at the panel (which won’t pop up online). There’s also two Joker films on the way — one about Jared Leto’s character, and an origin film from Todd Phillips starring Joaquin Phoenix hitting theaters in the near future. How well Aquaman is received by the box office, critics, and fans will likely have a big impact on the direction of the franchise.
Aquaman hits theaters on December 21st, 2018.