Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom | Reshoot stories “not the reality” says director James Wan

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Director James Wan downplays stories of Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom’s multiple reshoots, saying they were “nothing for a film of this size.”

Following several news stories that the production of Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom has undergone multiple rounds of reshoots, director James Wan has sought to provide his own take on the film’s making.

In an interview with Empire, Wan said that, “This narrative has emerged that is not the reality. The noise is fun to write about, and it gets clicks, but people don’t know the truth.”

The truth, according to Wan, is that while the upcoming Aquaman sequel has indeed had some reshoots, they were far fewer in number – and seemingly less drastic in terms of changes to the plot – than previously suggested. “We probably did seven or eight days,” Wan said, “which is nothing for a movie of this size. It was just spread out because it’s so hard to get your actors back once you’ve finished the initial shoot.”

Wan added elsewhere that the changes made to the film are all part of the “organic” process of production. “I’m not the kind of person that says, ‘This movie has to turn out exactly how I planned it on day one,'” he said. “Your art will never be organic if you’re locked into that mentality.”

In July, reports circulated that Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom had gone through three separate rounds of reshoots, with The Hollywood Reporter suggesting that some “uninspiring test screenings” had prompted some major changes to the film, some made at the behest of studio executives. There were even reports that the sequel was, at one stage, set to feature a cameo appearance from Michael Keaton as Batman, but this was replaced by Ben Affleck’s version of the Dark Knight in a subsequent cut, then a later version of the film removed both cameos altogether.

Even outside the film’s production, there have been wider dramas surrounding Warner Bros and its DC franchise. Bosses, like Walter Hamada, have departed, while the franchise is now being handled by the newly-minted DC Studios, headed up by Peter Safran and James Gunn.

Although Wan doesn’t get into the detail of what exactly was reshot or changed, he has elsewhere downplayed stories that Amber Heard’s role as Mera had been cut down during production.

“I always pitched this to everyone from the get-go,” he told Entertainment Weekly in September. “The first Aquaman was Arthur (Jason Mamoa) and Mera’s journey. The second movie was always going to be Arthur and Orm (Patrick Wilson). So, the first was a romance action-adventure movie, the second one is a bromance action-adventure movie. We’ll leave it at that.”

Reshoots aside, the future of Aquaman remains somewhat up-in-the-air. Will Aquaman as we know it survive James Gunn’s changes to the DC universe, or will it be rebooted? Even Wan isn’t sure.

“I’d be open to doing another [Aquaman] if I got the same freedom I’ve had on these first two,” Wan told Empire. “I’m not sure what direction [Gunn and Safran] are going in, though, so who knows? I’ve learned to never say never.”

Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom is out in UK cinemas on 20th December.

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