- Amber Heard’s limited presence in promotional material for “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is seemingly due to various factors.
- The sequel’s trailer suggests a darker storyline with Aquaman’s family threatened by the villain Black Manta, leaving little room for a prominent role for Mera.
- Director James Wan has confirmed that the focus of the sequel is on the relationship between Aquaman and his half-brother Orm, resulting in a reduced role for Queen Mera. The turmoil behind the scenes, including allegations made during Heard’s court battle with Johnny Depp, may have also played a part.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom promotions have barely featured Amber Heard as Mera, the chief love interest of the titular hero Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa). This has likely created some confusion as to why she’s not more prominently featured and what her role might be in the upcoming DCEU sequel. However, there’s likely a collection of factors behind Heard hardly being seen in what has been showcased so far for the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom cast.
In the first Aquaman movie from Warner Bros and DC Studios, Arthur Curry and Mera reunited after briefly interacting in 2017’s Justice League. Working together to stop Arthur’s half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) from conquering the surface world, Mera and Arthur went on a journey to recover the Trident of Atlan which Arthur used to unite the Seven Kingdoms as its new king. To that end, the trailer for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom implies that Aquaman and Mera took their relationship further, even though Mera herself is barely in the trailer. Here is what’s likely going on with Mera and actress Amber Heard in Aquaman 2.
Amber Heard Was Almost Fired From Aquaman 2
According to sources who spoke to Variety, Amber Heard came close to being fired from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. This was reportedly unrelated to the then-ongoing Johnny Depp V. Amber Heard trial, and instead was due to a lack of chemistry between Jason Momoa and Heard, with the latter’s attorney being contacted about the studio deciding to drop his client for this reason. However, this would not come to fruition, supposedly because Heard’s former boyfriend Elon Musk had a lawyer compose a “scorched-earth letter to Warner Bros. threatening to burn the house down” if Heard was cut from the sequel.
Amber Heard Is Barely In Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom’s Trailer
In the first trailer for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, Arthur Curry is shown in his new status quo as King of the Seven Kingdoms. He’s also featured as a new father with a newborn son, the implication being that he and Mera got married and had Arthur Curry Jr. However, Black Manta has returned with new power, having recovered the cursed Black Trident with the ability to seemingly resurrect the dead who then follow his command. Seeking revenge against Aquaman for the death of his father, Black Manta vows to kill Aquaman’s entire family in the new footage.
As a result, this new trailer features multiple shots of Aquaman’s family including his mother, father, and son. Based on the trailer alone, things are looking particularly bad for Aquaman’s father Tom with the Amnesty Bay lighthouse in flames as Manta rallies his forces with the Black Trident. Furthermore, things definitely don’t look good based on Black Manta’s original comics’ history, having been responsible for the deaths of both Arthur’s father and his son while still a baby. As such, it’s quite possible that Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom could get very dark depending on how closely its story on-screen mirrors what’s been seen on the page.
Aquaman’s half-brother Orm is featured quite prominently as well with Aquaman releasing him from his prison to gain his help against Black Manta and his powerful new trident. As such, it’s quite bizarre that Mera is only featured in a single shot that’s easy to miss in the new trailer, seen striking a window while appearing to be trapped somewhere in Atlantis. While it’s possible that Mera is being kept hidden to avoid a major plot point, some behind-the-scenes details help explain what’s confirmed to be a more limited role for Amber Heard’s Queen Mera compared to her past appearances in the DC Universe.
Why Amber Heard’s Mera Has A Smaller Role In Aquaman 2’s Story
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’s director James Wan recently spoke about Amber Heard and her reduced role in the new movie. According to Wan himself, the DC sequel was always going to have a stronger focus on Aquaman and Orm joining forces as estranged brothers and former rivals rather than Aquaman and Mera teaming as they did in the first movie. Having envisioned the first Aquaman film as “a romance action-adventure movie” for Arthur and Mera, the sequel will reportedly be a “bromance” instead as Arthur and Orm attempt to reconcile their differences to save the Seven Kingdoms.
Apparently, little room has been left for Queen Mera to be involved in the new quest to stop Black Manta, though she is confirmed to have some sort of role (however minimal it may be). Based upon the single shot of the trailer, it does look as though her life will be endangered thanks to Black Manta and his revenge quest against Aquaman. As such, perhaps Mera will be the one to die rather than Tom Curry or Arthur Jr. as a means of subverting expectations for the upcoming DC movie.
The deviation away from Mera likely comes from a desire to focus more on the film’s villain beyond Aquaman’s uneasy alliance with Orm. It certainly looks as though Black Manta in particular will be getting a much bigger spotlight following what many believed wasn’t nearly enough screen time or focus in the first Aquaman. Thanks to the new Black Trident, Black Manta has clearly become far more powerful than he was in the first movie, looking to be more than capable of killing his nemesis and everything he loves (which could certainly include Mera). That being said, actress Amber Heard has argued that her role used to be more substantial.
Amber Heard’s Involvement In Aquaman 2 BTS Strife Explained
Behind the scenes reports add more context for what the behind the scenes Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom turmoil may have looked like. After Depp fans paid court fees for the release of the notes from Amber Heard’s therapist that were submitted as part of the Depp v Heard trial, some of Heard’s perspective on the DC movie and its filming came to light. Some of the most pertinent of these notes covered the idea that the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom set was a hostile environment, that Momoa was reportedly drunk on set and trying to get Heard fired, and that director James Wan grew frustrated with being unable to fully promote the movie due to the ongoing legal battle between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp taking place at that time.
It is worth noting that these notes do not prove any of these allegations definitively true, especially as DC spokespeople have released statements bringing them into contention – notably stating that “Jason Momoa conducted himself in a professional manner at all times on the set of ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.’”, and that “James is known for treating members of his cast and crew with the utmost respect and for fostering a positive, collaborative environment on set — the ‘Aquaman’ films were no exception.” However, what is clear from all of this is that the set of the Aquaman sequel has seen considerable strife and complication, even if the specific details themselves cannot be clear to outside audiences at this time.
Did The Johnny Depp v Amber Heard Case Affect Her Aquaman 2 Role?
During her very public court battle with ex-husband Johnny Depp over allegations of abuse and defamation, Heard claimed her role as Mera in Aquaman 2 was significantly reduced by Warner Bros. in response. Despite the aforementioned comments from James Wan to the contrary and testimony from DC Films president Walter Hamada citing a lack of chemistry with Momoa, Heard believed her role was a “very pared down version” of what it originally was with multiple action scenes having been taken out, implying that it was the result of her ongoing court battle and the allegations being made by both her and Depp regarding each other’s alleged misconduct during their relationship.
By all accounts, it does not seem as though the trial between Heard and Depp had very little to do with Mera’s smaller role in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom compared to the size of her role in the first film. Not only should the comments from Wan and Hamada be taken into account, but it’s also worth noting that filming for the sequel wrapped in January 2022, three months before the beginning of Heard and Depp’s demotion trial. It certainly looks as though Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was always going to have a shifted focus away from Mera long before the lawsuits.