Ladies and gentlemen, fish of the sea, it's time to rejoice! With the controversy surrounding Suicide Squad, and the excitement building for Justice League, all has been quiet on the Aquaman front. The 2018 James Wan film has been shrouded in mystery regarding its synopsis and casting, but that silence was broken earlier today. Warner Brothers announced this morning that Black Manta would appear as the main villain for Aquaman's solo outing. While this news is extremely satisfying to comic fans, it doesn't come as much of a surprise. Since his first appearance in 1967, Black Manta has been an arch-nemesis to Arthur Curry and his Atlantean throne. Fueled by vengeance, hate and a burning desire to rule the entire ocean, Manta has given Aquaman some of his most dangerous adventures to date. There still isn't much news on what storyline the film will follow, but the addition of such a prominent villain gives DC plenty of options.
Why Make The Announcement So Soon?
The film doesn't release for another couple of years, and Justice League is smack in the middle of production, so why break this news now? Well, I think there are a couple of options here.
First, it's totally possible that there just wasn't enough happening at the moment and DC wanted to bring on some positive news. With all of the negativity that's being brought on David Ayer's Suicide Squad, it would make sense to try and shift people's attention elsewhere. It's a tactic often used by studios, and it makes total sense at the moment.
Second, I think there's a great chance Black Manta may appear in Justice League. The movie may already be a bit crowded, but it looks like we are going to be seeing a ton of Arthur Curry. Many suggest Aquaman will start as a villain to the rest of the Justice League, so a devious plot by Manta could be exactly the push he needs to join Bruce Wayne & Company.
Both of those options are solid, and extremely likely, but it's what's hiding behind door No. 3 that has me most excited. This news coming so close on the heels of the critical bashing of Suicide Squad can only hint towards Black Manta's inclusion in the film's inevitable sequel.
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What Does Black Manta Have To Do With Suicide Squad?
It's no secret that Suicide Squad, while taking the top all-time spot in the August box office, has been mired in controversy and critical destruction since its release last weekend. Instead of shutting down the idea of a sequel, or ignoring the negative comments entirely, I think Geoff Johns is making the necessary changes in order to improve the franchise. I know that Black Manta doesn't seem to help the situation surrounding the Suicide Squad, but let's dig a little further past the surface.
Suicide Squad was based heavily on the comic continuity featured in New 52, and it looks like much of the DCEU will follow suit. Well, following the incredible run of Suicide Squad comics that became a staple of the New 52 universe, the series gave a new villain the chance to take charge of the team. Deadshot started struggling to control his fellow squad members, and Rick Flag was nowhere to be found, so the government brought in Black Manta to lead Task Force X into even more dangerous territory than they had ever previously faced. That's right, Black Manta has become a key member of the Suicide Squad.
Manta's inclusion in the DCEU is big news for Aquaman, no doubt about that, but his long-term effect on the Suicide Squad is what could really help turn around this struggling cinematic universe. The current lineup of characters is a ton of fun, don't get me wrong, but Manta's presence brings about a villain that even the members of the Suicide Squad can't begin to understand. He's more passionate than Deadshot, more on-edge than Harley, more powerful than Killer Croc, and he can manipulate others almost as well as Amanda Waller herself. Long story short, Black Manta is poised to become one of the biggest players in the DC Extended Universe.
Check out some choice bits for true comic book fans in the Justice League trailer breakdown video below and get another look at the badass Arthur Curry:
What did you think of DC's decision to include Black Manta? Are you more excited for Aquaman's solo film? Let us know in the comments below!