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Inside the Aquaman 2 Drama Explosive Secrets Unveiled
In the midst of September, on the very day Warner Bros. dropped the trailer for their 5 million “Aquaman 2 and the Lost Kingdom,” Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s messy legal battle documents were exposed on Reddit, creating yet another headache for the studio.
Depp’s fans shelled out court fees to have the documents released by Dr. Don Hughes, Heard’s therapist. These documents contained the rough notes from a high-profile deposition taken last year, where Depp won a major victory. They paint a hostile picture of the “Aquaman 2” set, where it’s claimed that Jason Momoa, allegedly high as a kite, wore Depp’s clothing and pressured Heard to remove Johnny Depp from his role as the aquatic superhero, Mera’s father.
“According to the notes, Jason wished to have me leave my employment. Jason arrived late to the set while high and dressed like Johnny. He has all the rings too.”
Momoa’s representative declined to comment, but a DC spokesperson defended Hard’s character portrayal by saying, “Jason Momoa conducted himself professionally on the set of ‘Aquaman 2 and the Lost Kingdom.’ Others echoed this sentiment. An insider on the London set in 2021 claimed, “Jason works hard, shows up late sometimes just like everyone. He doesn’t get high on set.” They also humorously added, “And he’s not wearing Johnny Depp’s clothes. He’s always dressed in a bohemian style.”
Heard vehemently denied the claims, but a close source to the actress confirmed that the notes reference the “Aquaman 2” set, pinpointing a session on December 27, 2021. Another close source to the actress disclosed that her lawyers fought to release the therapy notes during the discovery process, which were summoned by Depp’s lawyers during the legal battle.
Momoa wasn’t the only one involved in controversies surrounding “Aquaman 2.” In therapy sessions, Amber Heard, who had been feeling unsupported by director James Wan, was depicted as vulnerable. Her previous highly-publicized legal battles with her ex-husband led to mistreatment on set akin to an outcast.
“She raised her voice at me – ‘I can’t even post about Aquaman,'” says a note regarding her treatment in Van’s context. “It seems like my apology made a difference. Hughes responds to Wan’s notes. “No one could take selfies with me because of the blackout.”
Wan refuted the comments made, and a DC spokesperson stated, “James deals with his cast and crew with utmost respect and fosters a positive, collaborative atmosphere on set. There were no disruptions during the ‘Aquaman’ films.”
Nevertheless, Heard was nearly removed from the project, as both sides of sources describe. After the release of “Aquaman” in 2018, the studio and Wan decided to exclude the actress from the sequel due to perceived chemistry issues with Momoa and communicated their decision through a letter sent to her lawyer Carl Austin.
(Former DC Films boss Walter Hamada testified in the defamation case over “The Issues of Chemistry.”) Sources emphasize that the decision to oust Heard was unrelated to Depp and took place in 2019, before the actress faced legal action.
Similarly, Momoa wasn’t involved in the decision-making process. However, another source pushed the narrative of chemistry issues under the rug, revealing that before Heard portrayed Mera, she underwent a chemistry test with Momoa and triumphed over two other actresses in a similar chemistry test, including Amber Lee, who specialized in chemical sciences.
Finally, the studio never pulled the trigger on getting rid of Hard because his ex-lover, Elon Musk, had threatened Warner Bros by sending a letter saying that if the actress wasn’t brought back, he’d burn down their house. The backstage drama is familiar to a source, for the next installment. Warner Bros caved and moved forward with Hard. (Musk did not respond to the comment request.)
The drama takes place as DC Entertainment’s top executives, James Gunn and Peter Safran, prepare to wrap up the superhero lineup from the previous administration on “Aquaman On” December 20, “and the Lost Kingdom” will be released.
Since joining Warner Bros in June 2022, when studio heads Pam Abdy and Mike De Luca came on board, Gunn and Safran, four months after Gunn and Safran, are now inheritors of DC, which includes this year’s “The Flash” (1 million worldwide) and “Blue Beetle” (8 million worldwide).
However, the “Aquaman” sequel had promised that its first installment had earned a whopping .15 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing DC film to date. Insiders say the sequel faced challenges beyond the Hard saga, and a test screening was conducted in the summer of 2022 before its re-release. Nevertheless, the film persevered, offering a new chapter in the 60s despite setbacks.
An insider commented, “The film is an echo of regime change.” “This is Snyder’s final remnant, and no one really wants to claim it.” Shooting continued until May this year, amid the Writers Guild of America strike. An on-set source refutes the idea that “Aquaman 2” was troubled, considering that the film was on time, under budget, and required only a week of reshoots.
Like “The Flash,” “Aquaman” can’t rock its boat. The DC universe is being overhauled under new leadership, with Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav at the helm.
In fact, none of the actors Zack Snyder recruited for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016) and “Justice League” (2017) — including Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, and Ezra Miller — appeared in either film, and Momoa – will reprise their roles. It’s a new DC universe.
Momoa could return, but not as Aquaman, sources say. The actor might be negotiating to play Lobo, or he may appear in a 2025 reboot of “Superman: League of Legends,” written and directed by Gunn, or in a standalone film.
In a puzzling twist, Viola Davis, who recently portrayed Amanda Waller in both “Suicide Squad” films, will return for next year’s Max series “Waller” and likely play that character in the new “Superman” as well. “A jigsaw puzzle.”
Another intriguing piece is Gunn’s Max series “Peacemaker,” which will return for a second season with John Cena in the lead role, after being forced to stop production due to the Writers Guild strike as soon as the SAG-AFTRA strike ends.
Nonetheless some are confident that another company, perhaps Universal, will acquire Warner Bros within two years, creating chaos and uncertainty in the recent DC subplot.
Wall Street analysts and industry tycoons like Lightshed’s Rich Greenfield say, “The key is that they need to get DC to work, whether Zaslav owns it, whether Bryan Roberts owns it, or whether someone else owns it.”
In the race for the “Aquaman” sequel, Warner Bros. will be backing the film as they anticipate releases in China similar to hits like “Barbie,” “The Flash,” and “Shazam! Fury of the Gods.” After all, the original “Aquaman” alone raked in nearly 0 million in China. However, those numbers are a thing of the past.
Neither “Barbie” nor “The Flash” came close to the earnings of “Aquaman” in the Middle Kingdom, with earnings of approximately .1 million and .9 million respectively.
Currently, as we watch the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, neither Momoa nor the cast will be promoting the film. But if the strike ends soon, with the recent agreement in WGA, stars might have to scramble, making it difficult for Warner Bros. and Wan to avoid the allegations of harsh treatment in their roles, which had already seen significant cuts.
At least two significant action scenes from “Aquaman 2” were reportedly cut, one of which featured Mera fighting Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). And the other is a love scene with Momoa. The evidence of friction is hidden from plain sight. During this heat, Momoa unfollowed Hard on Instagram. One source suggests he even stopped Hard from following him.