A few months back, James Wan teased some "unique" and "super cool" villains for his Aquaman movie and now, we may know the identity of the main one. According to The Wrap, Jason Momoa's King of the Seven Seas will face off against one of his deadliest and most popular rivals from the comics in his standalone movie. It's Black Manta!
The iconic supervillain has appeared in the pages of DC Comics since 1967. Over the years, the character has had a number of different origin stories, as well as a distinct set of powers and abilities.
While he is basically a highly intelligent guy in a suit, who relies more on technology and strategic planning, Black Manta has often been depicted as one with some degree of enhanced strength and endurance.
In the comics, Black Manta has been in Belle Reve Prison, and Amanda Waller has tried to get him to join Task Force X. After Common was signed for David Ayer's Suicide Squad, there were rumors that the rapper-turned-actor might portray the supervillain.
But those were eventually debunked, and we know he is playing Monster T, one of The Joker's associates.
As one would expect, Warner Bros. declined to comment on the matter. The Aquaman movie isn't rolling into theaters before July 27, 2018, so there's no way the studio would start giving away such pivotal details this early.
That's what the director himself says too. In a recent interview with IGN, when he is asked whether Black Manta is the lead villain in Aquaman movie, he says:
Dude, you know I can’t tell you that! [Laughs] Come on! As much as I want to share this with you, I can’t do that this early on.
During the interview, Wan shares that he really loves Geoff Johns' version of Aquaman in the comics. He thinks that the writer took a character who "had become the joke of the superhero world" and made him "frickin' cool again". The director admires the character, and considers that as his "leaping off point".
This seems to align with a recent report that claimed that Gangster Squad scribe Will Beall was hired by the studio to work off "a detailed treatment" from Wan and Johns.
While speaking about Jason Momoa's Aquaman, the director compares the superhero with the most popular mutant in Marvel Comics, Wolverine. James Wan explains:
I look at him, he’s kind of the Wolverine in some respect. He’s the outsider who gets pulled into this world and he kind of doesn’t want to belong and he was doing his own thing. And he prided freedom above everything else. That kind of plays nicely into who his character is. He’s like a reluctant superhero, right? He’s the reluctant king, basically, or would-be king.