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After Aquaman exceeded all expectations and became a box office leviathan, a sequel was basically guaranteed, and given the first film’s success, it would be natural to assume that the sequel would be fast-tracked to theaters. But while Aquaman 2 is indeed on the way, it won’t arrive in theaters until 2022, four years after the first film. Aquaman producer Peter Safran explained the reason for the gap between the films, saying:
[Hamada], myself and James Wan always shared the same philosophy, which is: you want to do it right. You don't want to do it fast. You just want to do it right.
Of all the reasons that a film will take a long time to reach theaters, this is basically the most encouraging and the one you want to hear. As Peter Safran told The Hollywood Reporter, he, director James Wan and executive producer and DC Films head Walter Hamada aren’t going to rush Aquaman 2. They aren’t concerned with delivering the film quickly, a move that could be detrimental to the final product. They are purely focused on doing it right.
There is a quote from Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto that says “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” This is the philosophy that Peter Safran is espousing here. Aquaman just came out, so Aquaman 2 isn’t technically delayed, but it was decided to give the movie plenty of time to come together and be the best movie it can be. That way, there's a better chance for it to make the kind of splash that the first film did.
However, the movie business is a business, and Aquaman made over $1 billion at the box office, so you would think that there would be pressure to hurry Aquaman 2 to theaters to capitalize on the momentum from the original. Yet, that is not the case because the producer also told THR that there was no pressure from Warner Bros. to get the sequel done faster.
DC could have rushed Aquaman 2 out after the $1.13 billion grossing original, but as far as Peter Safran is concerned, that shouldn’t be the focus because the ‘what’ is more important than the ‘when.’ DC also has plenty of irons in the fire at the moment, and with the Atlantean now the universe’s crown jewel, it makes sense to protect him and not mess with the desires of the team that made the first one such a hit.
Even though we now have a long four-year wait to see Aquaman 2, that doesn’t mean that we won’t be returning under the sea in the DCEU before that. Peter Safran expects the Aquaman spinoff film The Trench to arrive well before Aquaman 2. That film won’t have Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry or Amber Heard’s Mera in it, but the horror-tinged spinoff will take place after Aquaman and will return audiences to one of the most exciting areas of that film.
We still don’t know if James Wan will return to direct Aquaman 2 because he was only signed on for the first movie, but it is nice to see DC not making a knee-jerk decision to rush Aquaman 2 here. Four years should give the film plenty of time to churn out a great script, shoot and take all the time it needs for the ridiculous amount of visual effects work these films require.
When it arrives, it will again likely own December. There was a question of whether Aquaman 2 was avoiding a December showdown with the Avatar sequels (December really is the new summer), but it seems that the main concern was just doing the film right.
Aquaman 2 dives into theaters on December 16, 2022. That’s a long way off, so to know what you can see before then, check out our 2019 release schedule.