Aquaman’s Controversial Amber Heard Changes Have 1 Subtle Silver Lining

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Summary

  • Despite the legal battle, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom cuts down Amber Heard’s role, which could lead to more intriguing storylines for Arthur Curry.
  • Director James Wan already reduced Heard’s role before the trial, focusing more on Arthur and Orm’s bromance. Two scenes involving Heard were cut, including a fight and a love scene.
  • Although there are behind-the-scenes issues and negative early test screening reviews, the film holds promise with its narrative, featuring Aquaman as a parent and the team-up between Aquaman and Orm. However, early reactions suggest it may not meet expectations.


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Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has made several changes to Amber Heard’s role in the upcoming DC film, and there are a few positives to take from Mera’s reduced role. Heard’s name has been in headlines in recent years due to the legal battle between her and ex-husband, Johnny Depp. Heard wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in 2018 in which she indirectly accused Depp of domestic violence. Depp sued Heard for defamation, leading to a highly publicized trial in 2022. The court sided with Depp.

Following the trial, it was unclear if the proceedings would have any impact on Heard’s role as Mera in Aquaman 2. The film had finished shooting already, so recasting her would have been an expensive and lengthy process. However, a report from Variety suggests multiple scenes involving Heard were cut from the film, and her role was significantly reduced, despite previous comments suggesting no changes were made. Still, her reduced role could lead to more interesting storylines with Arthur Curry.

Aquaman’s Romance Cuts Makes Its Hero Family Story More Interesting

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Questions have surrounded Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom regarding how much of Heard’s character would be in the film. Director James Wan told Entertainment Weekly that Heard’s role was already reduced before the trial, saying he wanted to focus more on Arthur and Orm, describing the sequel as “a bromance action-adventure movie.” There might be more to the story because Variety shared that “at least two Heard scenes” were cut. One was reportedly a fight between Mera and Black Manta, while the other was a love scene between her and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman.

While Mera was a prominent character in the first film, her secondary role here may benefit its main hero. In the trailer, it’s revealed that Arthur is now a father, in addition to being a husband and the King of Atlantis. With Mera being sidelined, it could lead to Arthur taking on parental duties by himself, leading to an intriguing arc for his characters. He used to run from responsibility, and he now has to approach it head-on as a father and king. Without Mera, this gives him more independence and opportunities to prove his heroism.

Why Aquaman 2’s Story Intrigue Makes Its Early Reception Sadder

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Unfortunately, the production for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has been anything but smooth sailing, as there are many stories about behind-the-scenes issues. Additionally, the reactions to early test screenings haven’t been promising. According to The Direct, which gathered various early screening reviews, the early consensus for this film is that it’s “boring, not as good as the first, and potentially one of the worst DCEU movies.” Of course, early screening reactions don’t always match wider public opinion.

This is disappointing, especially since there is a lot of promise regarding this film’s narrative. Not only is there the concept of Aquaman as a parent, there is the unlikely team-up between Aquaman and Orm, who will learn to work as brothers, rather than enemies. Additionally, there is also the return of Black Manta, who is seeking vengeance on Arthur and now wields the Black Trident. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom could be a potentially great send-off for the DCEU, but early reactions suggest it could be dead in the water.

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