Aquaman 2 director James Wan hits back at false ‘narrative’ around reshoots

Director James Wan has spoken out against the “narrative” surrounding the development ofAquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

The film, a sequel to the 2018 superhero blockbuster Aquaman, stars Jason Momoa, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson and Amber Heard.

Responding to reports that the film had undergone extensive reshoots amid a turbulent production process, Wan told Empire magazine: “We probably did seven or eight days [of reshoots], which is nothing for a movie of this size.

“It was just spread out because it’s so hard to get your actors back once you’ve finished the initial shoot.”

Wan also pointed to his previous work on the 2018 horror film The Nun, which involved a substantial amount of re-shot footage being added late in production. “I built an entire franchise from a reshoot,” he said.

“I’m not the kind of person that says, ‘This movie has to turn out exactly how I planned it on day one.’ Your art will never be organic if you’re locked into that mentality.”

A number of rumours have circulated regarding the development of Aquaman 2. The film’s release was delayed as a result of the pandemic as well as an overhaul in leadership at DC Studios, the company producing the film. In October 2022, The Suicide Squad director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran set to oversee a re-launch of the entire DC franchise.

Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson in ‘Aquaman 2′


Reports of reshoots and claims of studio interference were, however, played down by Wan.

“I’ve had to learn to be more Zen in dealing with all the noise around me, for sure,” he said. “I’m a pretty private person. I don’t get on social media and have fights, but it’s difficult because this narrative has emerged that is not the reality.

“The noise is fun to write about and it gets clicks, but people don’t know the truth.”

Speaking about the claims of outside interference, Wan said: “Look, I’m a collaborative filmmaker – I welcome people’s thoughts and opinions. But ultimately, I feel I have more than proven myself. So, it was like, ‘This is the movie I want to make.’”

Last month, Wan addressed claims that Heard’s role in the film had been “pared down” amid her highly publicised defamation trial with ex-husband Johnny Depp.

In the courtroom, Heard testified that her role in the film had been significantly reduced after Depp’s legal team branded her claims of abuse a “hoax”.

Wan, however, stated that the plan had always been to focus more on Aquaman’s relationship with Orm (Patrick Wilson) for the sequel.

“I always pitched this to everyone from the get-go. The first Aquaman was Arthur and [Heard’s character Mera]’s journey. The second movie was always going to be Arthur and Orm,” the director said.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is released in US cinemas on 25 December and in the UK on 29 December.