It looks like it’s a new dawn for the D.C. Extended Universe — one that’s brighter, more colorful, and might finally be putting women front and center.
Or, at the very least, shading them in some more.
Warner Bros. unveiled a second, extended Aquaman trailer at New York Comic Con on Friday. Clocking in at a whopping five minutes, the trailer teases out an all-out war on land and sea, with Jason Momoa’s reluctant yet smartass Aquaman at the heart of it all. But quite notably, this sneak peek also refocuses on the women central to Arthur Curry’s story: Amber Heard’s Mera and Nicole Kidman’s Atlanna as Aquaman’s love interest and mother, respectively.
Yes, we certainly get the standard “We need a hero like you” pep talk from Heard as she encourages a disenchanted Aquaman to rise to the occasion. But the trailer doesn’t just cast Mera and Atlanna as the supportive, patient, and emotionally available foils to a hotheaded and stubborn Curry. They’re showcased as elite warriors and royalty in their own right, outsmarting and outfighting even Aquaman himself as they strive to protect their home. The jury is out on the film itself, of course, but this trailer attempts to make the case that Atlantis is more than just its heir.
In fact, it’s reminiscent of another DCEU property: Wonder Woman, and the Amazons of Themyscira. The Aquaman trailer is brimming with the kind of brightness, optimism, and strong female characters that defined the DCEU’s greatest hit to date — an energy that this franchise quite frankly needs right now.
Next year, DC is releasing Wonder Woman 2 and a Shazam adaptation that looks like a fun, lighthearted, and low-stakes superhero romp. But after that, the future is murky at best. Both Henry Cavill’s Superman and Ben Affleck’s Batman are on the outs, as both actors are reportedly not expected to reprise the roles. An untitled Flash movie has been pushed back numerous times. Rumors of stand-alone Cyborg and Green Lantern Corps films have remained rumors, with both potential movies stuck in pre-production purgatory. And while Batgirl, Harley Quinn, and Joker movies are all in various stages of development, they still stand as big question marks for the franchise. All this, not to mention the lackluster reception most of the DCEU’s existing films have already received.
DC’s single winningest move remains Wonder Woman: a combination of heart, action, and the decision to center women in a superhero’s narrative. And what we can glean from this newest trailer, perhaps Aquaman might just be taking note.
Aquaman is out in the U.S. on December 21.