Below is my pitch for an Aquaman that follows a first Justice League film or precedes it, to me it could be either. Aquaman should be treated with care because it could very easily fall into the cheesy and absurd, but I think it would be awesome if it had a mood similar to that of Game of Thrones. We should get a true origin story since Aquaman hasn’t hit the big screen yet and it should fit the format that DC is setting up for their New 52 line. A prince who protects the seas. Here it is. Some parts are more detailed than others:
We open on a small boy, in a dark, cold prison cell. He doesn’t know where he is, or why he is there, but he is deeply deeply disturbed. We see him subjected to some experimental, if not violent treatment at the hands of several doctors. He screams every night while being put to bed, then, when an experiment subjects him to water, an unexplainable calm comes over him. His home is in the water, he feels comforted by its envelopment. Then the doctors pull him out, and the boy attacks and kills one of the doctors. He escapes from the facility, which we now see is a special wing of Arkham Asylum, when the home for the insane was in it’s early days. Years later: Majestic, amazing and shining bright at the bottom of the ocean, Atlantis, the lost city is a utopia. Here we find the king of Atlantis, Atlan, comforting his wife, Atlanna as they covet their son Orin.
A soldier bursts into the room, warning Atlan of an attack, by who, they do not know, but it must be beaten down immediately. Altan leaves his family behind exiting onto the steps of his palace to find a large invading force lead by a mysterious man in a unique diving suit. Structures burst and remnants float to the surface, the invading force kill everything in their path, Atlan and the other soldier fight, blood is spilled on both sides. In the mess of the battle, Atlan and the mysterious man find each other, Atlan asks what it is he wants. The man says that the city of Atlantis now belongs to the Black Manta, and all Atlanteans will perish. He and Atlan fight, Atlan’s trident is his main weapon, but during the fight, The Manta manages to grasp it, and impale Atlan with it. Atlanna hands Orin to a soldier, and tells him to get him to Mercy Reef, he will live among the humans, better he live than die here with her. The Black Manta and his forces enter the palace, the Manta now wields the trident. Atlanna stands before the throne. The Manta tells her it is over. She closes her eyes and mutters something to herself. The manta tells her that Atlantis is now under his control. She says that is not true so long as she is alive. He moves to kill her but just then a host of sharks swim in swiftly and consume a number of Manta’s forces. Atlanna tells him not to think Atlantis will be taken over so easily. He approaches her and tells her that her line will be broken and no Atlantean will ever claim the throne again. He fights and kills her. Manta looks to Orin’s small bed, then to his remaining men. Whoever took her son couldn’t have gotten far, find him. Manta walks to the throne and sits, triumphant.
We cut to a lighthouse, on a shore, an overcast evening with rough seas. A man in his forties, Tom Curry, leaves his small home and walks the grueling steps to the top of the lighthouse. He lights the lantern and walks to the balcony to make sure the light is carried. Then his eyes drift to the rocky shore below a cliff, where he sees a small bundle, moving. He rushes down to it and picks up the child, taking him in and becoming his caregiver.
In Atlantis, Manta’s forces approach, saying the boy wasn’t found. Manta tells him to comb nearby shores, they will find him. A few years later Arthur Curry, the adopted son of Tom is now a young boy. He is out playing on the rocks one day when his father tells him to slow down or he might slip and fall in. He doesn’t obey, he continue running then- slips and falls in the water. The riptide sucks him out and he is forced underwater, after a moment of panic, he comes to a calm part of the water. He drifts and finds he can breathe normally, he looks around and then starts swimming, when he finally comes up for air, he is a mile from the cliff. He starts swimming back. Tom is amazed that he is alive. He brings him in and warms him up. Arthur explains everything that happened to him. Tom tells him it is time to let him know that he found him on the cliffs when he was a baby, and Tom’s belief in world beyond theirs, beneath the depths, had never been so apparent to him. Arthur doesn’t know what to think, all his life he has been Tom’s son, and now, he doesn’t know where he came from. Tom pulls out a blanket from a locked cupboard, it is ornate with gold and green and yellow. He tells him this is what he was wrapped in, it does not hold water, and it is always warm, kingly. Arthur takes it and inspects it.
CUT TO a beach, it is sparse, there aren’t any vacationers, it is gloomy, it is overcast and raining. Then out of the water, several of Manta’s lieutenants walk out, and look down the coast to a light house. One of them tells two to check out what’s ahead, he will check out the lighthouse. Arthur wants to know where it is he came from, but his Tom tells him he must wait until he is older to go looking, he fears if someone left him on the rocks, they were saving him from some awful tragedy. Then a knock on the door and Tom goes to answer. The door is burst open and Manta’s lieutenant enters. Arthur flees to the cliff and drops the blanket, which the lieutenant picks up and knows he has come to the right place. Arthur is backed to the edge of the cliff by the man, who addresses him as Orin, he tells him he is here to take him back home, Arthur gets a bad feeling about him but looks down to the water and instead, jumps far above the water down into the depths, the lieutenant turns to see Tom, who tries to fight him, but the lieutenant stabs Tom with a knife, then follows Arthur over the cliff without hesitating. Arthur uses his newfound powers to manipulate the waters and attempt to drown the man, but the man’s suit helps him to breathe underwater. He catches up to Arthur in the water and grabs him, Arthur, being choked to death finally lets out one word: Help! Just then, two sharks swim out of nowhere and devour the lieutenant, then swim away, leaving arthur unharmed. He swims to the surface, then looks over to the lighthouse. Arthur comes upon Tom, dying, clutching the blanket. Tom tells him to find his home, but to wait until he is strong. Tom dies. Arthur grabs the blanket and stands, he runs away from the lighthouse.
Years Later Arthur is now in his late 20s, strong, lean, and bearded. He stands on the bow of a boat and looks to the sea. The boat drifts in the middle of the ocean, choppy water, light rain falls. He is looking for his home.
Over the course of Act 2:
Arthur looks for his home, he finds clues to the existence of Atlantis and Manta sends more forces after those those that had never returned. Those men track Arthur, and come into contact with him at a pier where he at last demonstrates his power over the seas. He defeats the men and asks them where he might find the city that they have come from. One man tells him. Arthur returns to Atlantis to find the city still in ruins, and then is quickly taken prisoner. Arthur and Manta meet face to face for the first time. Manta tells him that he is welcome back and that he hopes they can enjoy the kingdom of Atlantis together, but Arthur knows that he is there for power over the underwater city. He knows that the people are oppressed, those that remain, and that it is his tyranny that has condemned the city. Manta tells him he had a chance to live in peace among the remainder of his people, but instead he will be condemned to die. Manta’s men try to subdue Arthur but he takes them out, then fights Manta himself who almost too easily takes him down. Manta tells Arthur he is wrong if he thinks that he is the only one made to live in the water. He can think of no greater home than beneath the waves, the silent calm that envelopes all, and he will not give it up so easily. Air and emptiness haunts him, and it is Atlantis that is the only place for him. Manta has Arthur locked away. In the prison, Arthur meets others who know who he is, he is told of his family legacy and why the Manta wanted him dead, so that no Atlantean shall ever possess the throne. He learns that Manta is a human and is fallible. Together they craft an escape plan.
The prison cells are guarded by three guards, Arthur tells them that he needs weapons if he is to fight Manta, he is strong and the water gives him more strength with the suit of his. They tell him there is an old armory, where the weapons used to be housed, it has been locked and sealed with the armor of his father and the army. As they talk, he says that they need the key to unlock the cells, Arthur mutters under his breath, then says for them all to get back to the back of their cells. Suddenly and quickly, a shark passes and one of three guards is gone. Then another, leaving one remaining. The last has his back turned as a massive shark grabs him and drives him hard into the row of cells. Arthur reaches through the bars and grabs the guard’s keys as the shark pulls his life lifeless body down into the abyss. Arthur gets everyone out of their cells.
They sneak through Atlantis, until they come to the sealed door of the old armory. A keyhole is the only way to see into the dark room. Arthur asks everyone to stand back, he forces more water into the keyhole and builds pressure inside the room, the door starts to creak and the doors hinges burst, opening the sealed door. Inside is a golden, ornate trident and a set of yellow and green scaly armour, the armour of his father, Atlan. He dons the armour and the others pick up weapons. What follows is a siege of the city not only by the remaining Atlanteans but also by a host of sharks, whales and deadly giant squid that Arthur has take guards in the middle of battle. He wields the trident and is deadly accurate and quick with it. At the end he finds Manta in front of the golden throne, waiting for him. They have a quick exchange, Manta is an evil force that killed many people and for what? His selfish reasons have driven millions out of their home and now Arthur will allow it no more.
They fight, and Arthur spears Manta to the throne, and pulls off the helmet to his suit, finding a perfect face but the side of his head is riddled with scars, his attempts to make artificial gills, a sign of his obsession with living under the ocean. Manta dies. Arthur takes up the throne and claims protection of the seas. Atlantis is being rebuilt and one of the women in the cells who fought with him officially introduces herself as Mera, a fierce warrior and a beautiful woman. They shake hands.
On shore, at the abandoned lighthouse, Arthur places flowers at a marker beside the cliff where Tom died.
In the distance, a small fishing vessel is capsized by a rogue wave, Arthur sheds his clothes, underneath, Atlan’s armour. Aquaman jumps from the cliff down into the water and swims away to save them.
So what do you think? Could an Aquaman movie work? Let me know below! Also check out my pitches for Wonder Woman and Batman vs. Superman. Also more discussions about film at www.hmdfilms.com/podcast.
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