Dolph Lundregn recently told ComicBook.com that a “really good” original cut of “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” exists, but it’s not the one that fans got to see when the DC sequel opened in theaters over Christmas. To date, the sequel has earned $109 million at the domestic box office and $375 million worldwide — a far cry from the $1 billion the original “Aquaman” crossed to become the highest-grossing DC Universe film.
Lundregn appears in the “Aquaman” films as Nereus, the king of the Atlantean tribe of Xebel who also happens to be the father of Aquaman’s love interest Mera (Amber Heard). Mera’s role was drastically reduced for the sequel. Lundgren said that choice also resulted in him losing screen time since his character is so linked to hers.
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“I just realized that it was some kind of corporate decision that they try to limit Amber Heard and then I’m playing her dad and went along with it,” Lundgren explained. “I was just disappointed for the moviegoers, because I thought the original script was great and the original cut — I saw a little bit of it, it was really good. So I didn’t see any reason to start reshooting and reshaping the story, which obviously led to disappointment in the moviegoers and not just me.”
Heard claimed in court during her 2022 defamation trial involving Johnny Depp that Warner Bros. “didn’t want to include me” in the “Aquaman” sequel due to the fallout from her divorce from Depp. She said her role in the sequel was “pared down” and action scenes were “taken away” as a result.
However, director James Wan stressed last year that the film was never meant to focus on Mera and Aquaman like the first movie did. Wan told Entertainment Weekly that “Aquaman 2” always prioritized Aquaman’s relationship to his villainous half-brother, Orm (Patrick Wilson), over his one to Mera.
“I always pitched this to everyone from the get-go,” Wan said. “The first ‘Aquaman’ was Arthur and Mera’s journey. The second movie was always going to be Arthur and Orm. So, the first was a romance action-adventure movie, the second one is a bromance action-adventure movie. We’ll leave it at that.”
“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” was also plagued by reports of massive reshoots, but Wan insisted to EW that such reshoots were no different than any other major Hollywood tentpole.
“We have big actors in this movie, and everyone’s schedule is really hard,” he said. “So, we had to break up our shooting schedule into sections. We’ll shoot a bit here now, because this actor’s available, and then we’ll do another shoot now, because this guy’s available. People are like, ‘Oh, they’re doing a whole bunch of different shoots!’ No. If we actually combined them all together, it’s actually not that many number of days at all.”
“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” continues playing in theaters nationwide from Warner Bros.
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