New York: DC is set to release the sequel to their billion-dollar hit, Aquaman, bringing back Amber Heard as Mera, a figure who has stirred controversy in Hollywood after her divorce from American actor Johnny Depp.
The journey to bring director James Wan’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom to the big screen has been massive. Despite the challenges faced, the film is on the verge of its highly-anticipated premiere in December, with some concerning factors.
Early test screenings left audiences underwhelmed, with some even calling it “unwatchable”. The film also underwent a demanding post-production process, including three rounds of expensive reshoots.
Another major issue is the Aquaman franchise’s association with Amber Heard. The actress, known for her roles in The Rum Diary and 3 Days to Kill, publicly accused her former husband, Johnny Depp, of physical abuse in 2016 during their relationship, alleging he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
This led to Disney and other studios cutting ties with Depp, causing him substantial financial losses in potential movie roles. In response, Depp sued Heard for defamation in 2022, resulting in a high-profile trial where Depp emerged victorious and was awarded over $10 million in damages.
During the Depp vs. Heard legal battle, fans rallied behind Depp, resulting in online harassment directed at Heard. A petition circulated calling for her dismissal from the sequel, with some fans suggesting Emilia Clarke as a replacement.
While DC didn’t entirely remove Heard from the film, reports suggest her role as Mera has been shifted to avoid backlash. However, conflicting sources claim that Heard’s role remains, similar to her presence in the 2018 Aquaman film.
Mera will appear in the sequel, with the storyline possibly revealing that she and Arthur have had a child since the events of the first film. As Warner Bros gears up to promote Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, a teaser trailer offers a glimpse of Heard’s return to the superhero franchise.