What is the reality behind the situation involving Amber Heard, Aquaman, and the Lost Kingdom? Was her previously rumored main role in the film diminished due to a lack of chemistry with Jason Momoa’s character, the king of Atlantis? Or was it a result of the media frenzy surrounding her legal disputes with Johnny Depp, as she stated during her trial in May of last year?
Regardless, it is confirmed that the second Aquaman solo film will not primarily feature Heard’s character, Mera. Instead, the focus appears to be on a forced and awkward relationship between Aquaman and his half-brother, Orm, played by Patrick Wilson. This storyline is peculiar, considering the two spent much of the previous movie at odds with each other. However, this does not necessarily indicate that the change was made solely to remove Heard from the film. There have been reports of reshoots for Aquaman, but it seems unlikely that they would completely alter the plot of the movie.
In an interview with Empire magazine before the sequel’s release in December, director James Wan reiterated the studio’s stance on Amber Heard’s reduced role. Responding to her statements about originally having a larger part in the follow-up to Aquaman, which grossed $1 billion in 2018, the director of Saw stated that he had always planned for the sequel to take a different direction.
Wan diplomatically acknowledged, “It is justifiable that she [Heard] expressed her opinion, as she was not privy to my thoughts during the making of this film. Actors are not always aware of the ideas and plans we have behind the scenes. However, my intention was always clear. I presented my initial pitch for the first film to be a blend of Romancing the Stone with action, adventure, and comedy, while the sequel would be a full-fledged buddy comedy. I was inspired by Tango & Cash!”
The director stated that Jason portrays Arthur in an exaggerated manner while Patrick plays the serious character. This dynamic is similar to the roles of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men In Black.
Where does the truth lie? Even those who are die-hard fans of Heard would have a difficult time arguing that her performance in the original Aquaman was anything but lackluster; a computer-generated, empty portrayal. However, it is debatable whether this was solely the fault of the actor, as she was meant to serve as a contrast to Momoa’s energetic heroics rather than have a significant role. Additionally, if subpar performances in Wan’s film automatically resulted in cast members being replaced for the sequel, it is curious that the equally wooden Kidman and Morrison are both set to reprise their roles as Aquaman’s parents. Despite the impressive financial success of Aquaman, it is not typically praised for its acting performances.
According to Variety, Warner expressed a desire to remove Heard from the sequel due to her perceived lack of chemistry with Momoa. In 2019, they sent a letter to her lawyer communicating this intention, providing some support for the claim. Former DC Films leader Walter Hamada also stated in the 2022 defamation case that there were concerns about their chemistry.
However, no other individuals associated with the highly successful film Aquaman have faced the same level of scrutiny from the media. Only one person has been publicly criticized and humiliated, largely due to the actions of fans of their former spouse. Regardless of your stance on the conflict between Heard and Depp, there is a sense of unease surrounding the situation. It may be understandable given the sensitive nature of the issue, but there is definitely something questionable happening.