- Director James Wan has confirmed that Amber Heard’s role as Mera in Aquaman 2 will be reduced, but not because of a defamation case with Johnny Depp. Wan has an interest in showing a new relationship between Aquaman and another character in the sequel.
- According to Vaughan, the decision to reduce Heard’s role was planned from the beginning. In the first film, Aquaman and Mera’s relationship is the focus, while the second film focuses on the bromance between Aquaman and Orm.
- Although it is unclear whether the controversy surrounding Heard influenced the decision, many fans were unhappy with her character even before the defamation lawsuit. The DCEU is already facing challenges and adding an actor with a tarnished reputation is risky. Additionally, the fatigue of the superhero genre and the desire for something new may affect the success of Aquaman 2.
Amber Heard’s role as Mera in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was called into question in 2022 after being sued for defamation by her ex-husband Johnny Depp. Many wondered if he would star again or downplay his role. When director James Wan confirmed that Heard’s character Mera had been cut, fans were left speechless, though not for the reason they thought.
Vaughn revealed that Hurd won’t have a major role in the upcoming Aquaman sequel, but it has more to do with who he wants to be in the second installment besides Aquaman. Not only that, according to him this is the plan from the beginning.
Vaughan told Variety that the plan for Aquaman was always to spend each film with a different character, so Heard was heavily involved in the first film, but not the second. Vaughn said that he had shared this stuff from the start. The first ‘Aquaman’ was about Arthur and Mera’s journey. The second film was always Arthur and Orm. So, the first was a romance action-adventure film, the second was a romance action-adventure film. We’ll leave it at that.”
Heard played Mera in both Aquaman and Justice League. At first, there was no problem with Meera’s character. However, after a recording of her conversation with Depp surfaced during their wedding in 2020, fans began to turn on her. Even before the defamation lawsuit was filed, online petitions were created to remove Heard from any Aquaman film that became popular. Depp testified during the trial that he helped Heard cast Mira, though Heard denied this when she took the stand. As fans already know, Heard was not a well-known actor before the release of Aquaman.
While Vaughan hasn’t confirmed whether the ongoing controversy surrounding Heard is the reason she wasn’t included in Aquaman 2, fans can’t help but wonder if she hasn’t appeared much. Regardless of who’s side during the Heard-Depp trial, it’s dangerous to include an actor who doesn’t have a good rep to his name. Many fans expressed their feelings through petitions that they were not very happy with Hurd. As seen in Blue Beetle’s office operations, the DCEU is already in dire straits, not getting the financial returns they both want.
Whether or not Heard appears in Aquaman 2, fans of the superhero genre are likely already fed up with the cinematic universe. While DC’s reception isn’t going well overall — the response to the new Aquaman 2 trailer isn’t doing them any favors — Marvel isn’t getting the revenue they used to either. Fans want something new, which shows like The Boys and Invincible can provide these days. If Aquaman 2 doesn’t bring something they’ve never seen before, it’s not promising much, and it won’t be on Hurd’s shoulders.
On December 20, 2023, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will be released in theaters.