Whatever your stance on the genre, superhero movies are doing phenomenal business. Raking in billions at the box office and changing the lives of comic book readers all around the world, modern technology has allowed millions of people to see their heroes come to life on the cinema screen. With such a genre comes the massive appeal: actors and actresses want to feature in these movies and want to star as the hero or heroine who brightened up their childhood, the characters who injected some magic into their youth, teenage years, and adulthood.
It’s the same for directors, too.
Directors are the unique visionaries behind the movies, the people responsible for either impressing or disappointing the life-long fans on premiere day. However, not many directors can admit to being offered two huge superhero franchises, and this is exactly what happened to James Wan. The director was not only given the choice between Aquaman and The Flash, two incoming installments in DC’s Justice League series, but he was also asked to choose the one he preferred. As fate would have it, he would go on to pick Aquaman, a decision that somewhat confused the fans, and Wan has finally revealed the reasons why.
During an interview with Uproxx, James Wan spoke about his strange superhero twist of fate and revealed that he was offered both franchises by Warner Bros. He selected Aquaman for one specific reason: creativity. He explained his decision, confirming that taking on the movie appealed to him more as a director.
“They asked me which of the two characters I’d be interested in, and it was between The Flash and Aquaman. But the thing that ultimately pushed me more towards Aquaman is I love the possibility of creating a whole new world. I’ve always wanted to do a world creation story and visually create this amazing, incredible, magical kingdom. And also, I love the fact that Aquaman is an underdog character. I love the fact that people like to make fun of him. [Laughs.] I feel the bar is a lot lower and I can have fun with him!”
He also felt that he had more freedom with the Aquaman universe, since the character is the lesser-known of the two superheroes. The Flash has featured in multiple TV shows, both in the ’90s and on the CW currently, and Wan feels that these previous incarnations would restrict his creativity somewhat. With Aquaman — not so much.
“Everyone makes fun of him! And I actually don’t mind that! What it allows me to do: I think people are a lot less precious with him than, let’s say, you were doing a Spider-Man or a Batman or whatever. I felt like it allows me the freedom to just tell the story of the character I wanted to tell.”
The news will come as somewhat of a relief to Warner Bros. and the fans who actually want to see Aquaman appear on the big screen. Although the character featured in an impressive cameo in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier this year, James Wan was actually reconsidering his future and his attachment to the project just a month ago, as revealed by Cinema Blend. Directing a superhero movie is one of the coolest jobs in Hollywood, but it’s not without its stress. However, it seems that these recent comments may have smoothed over any potential cracks.
And fans have a reason to be happy. Wan’s enthusiasm for the project, and the character as a whole, is always his priority when discussing the film with the press. The director is looking to bring a new version of the much-mocked character to the screen, one who will not only fit into the dark, brooding universe of DC but also one that fans can appreciate and support. With a clean slate and huge creative input at his disposal, Wan has a huge task ahead of him, but it’s one he is looking forward to tackling.
Sure, it would have been fun to see him direct The Flash, but if Saw and The Conjuring have taught us anything, James Wan works better with a clean slate, which usually results in massive box-office success and stark originality. If he can bring an ounce of this to Aquaman, DC and Warner Bros. are all set.
Directed by James Wan, and starring Jason Momoa and Amber Heard, Aquaman is currently scheduled for a U.S. release on July 27, 2018. A UK date is yet to be confirmed.
[Image via Warner Bros. Pictures]