Among the many modifications to the Justice League theatrical cut released were numerous connections to Aquaman's solo film that were removed.
The Justice League theatrical cut made numerous connections to the Aquaman film directed by James Wan. More than two and a half years after its theatrical release, the rewrites and changes the Justice League underwent following Zack Snyder's departure remain one of the most infamous last-minute changes in recent Hollywood history. This only draws even more attention with the subsequent campaign to make the Snyder Cut possible, which will premiere on HBO Max sometime in 2021.
Although Aquaman became a critical and box office hit in 2018, the time frame of its release also brought with it a visible increase in public awareness of the Snyder Cut. This occurred primarily through announcements made by Jason Momoa during the film's press tour. While it was clear by then that the Justice League version seen in theaters the year before was not the movie Snyder had set out to create, Momoa would offer an even clearer picture of how different the two versions were.
2019 would also see the revelation of even more Aquaman footage removed from the Justice League that was further developing its role in the movie. Furthermore, this material would also provide more elements for the Aquaman story. Here we collect all the Aquaman connections that were removed from the Justice League final cut.
The dead king
A subtle connection point between the two films can be seen in the statue of the late Atlatean king, glimpsed in images released by Snyder on social media before his departure while the film was in post-production. This image still appears in the movie version, albeit with the king statue replaced by a dead Atlantean soldier when Steppenwolf arrived to steal the Mother Box from the Atlantean outpost. As a result, this would have served to fuel Arthur's solo film.
Aquaman entered the history of Atlantis before it sank, while introducing King Atlan in his history lesson. Arthur himself would also have an Arthurian moment from "The Sword in the Stone" as he had to retrieve the Trident of Atlan from a statue of the dead king. The similar statue to be seen in the Justice League underwater battle would have served to link the two films throughout the history of Atlantis, and this was just the first link they shared.
Willem Dafoe's Vulko plays the role of Arthur's ally and mentor in Aquaman, and was one of the main supporting actors in the film, yet he was also one of the many characters left out of the Justice League. While it's not entirely clear how big his role was in the Snyder Cut, there are some hints in Aquaman of his importance in this cut.
When Arthur first meets Mera in Aquaman, he can already see her intention in recruiting him to stop Orm's impending war on the surface. Arthur wastes no time in rejecting his request as he had with "that rusty starfish Vulko." This specific exchange in dialogue would be based on Arthur's ending in Justice League, while it has also become clear that Mera's abilities and general character received a more prominent presentation in the Snyder cut.
The fight between Steppenwolf and Mera was longer
During Steppenwolf's attack on the Atlantean outpost, Mera is involved in trying to prevent him from retrieving the Mother Box when Arthur arrives later to help. Despite their efforts they cannot stop Steppenwolf from running away with the Box. Among the many revelations Zack Snyder shared about his court over the years, the leaked preview images would also demonstrate that the sequence would have offered a more complete view of the scope of Mera's powers.
The preview images show Mera using her hydrokinetic abilities to drain fluid from Steppenwolf's body, an ability she would later show at first in Aquaman to resurrect Thomas Curry after the first tidal wave sent to the surface by Orm. This would have established Mera from the start as Arthur's full equal, rather than just another Atlantean he runs into. Looking even deeper at what is known about the Snyder Cut, Arthur's brief involvement with Mera and the Atlatean soldiers at the cut released in theaters had another component that was revealed through Snyder's social media posts.
How Aquaman gets his armor and trident
Despite rejecting Bruce Wayne in their first encounter, the theatrical cut finally sees Aquaman join the League in full Atlantean battle armor and wielding a five-pointed trident. However we couldn't see how it was done with these elements and we could only see Arthur saying to Mera that "I'm going to need something from you" after his first encounter with Steppenwolf. Snyder would later fill in this blank on social media.
In November 2019, Snyder released a collection of images showing Arthur, Mera, and Vulko together. Image from the movie point of when Arthur acquired his armor and the trident to join the League to defeat Steppenwolf. While this would provide more clarity on this aspect of Arthur's role in the Snyder Cut, both Snyder and Jason Momoa would shed light on their relationship with Aquaman during that film's press tour.
The final scene served as a preview for his solo film
The final montage of Justice League was uneventful for Aquaman. However, as the Snyder Cut theme began to gain traction, Jason Momoa was asked about Aquaman's place within the DCEU continuity in the lead-up to the film's release in December 2018. Momoa would reveal that Aquaman follows on the expulsion of Arthur "in the court of Zack".
Momoa went on to explain that this ending implied that Arthur rejected Mera and Vulko's request for their help in an upcoming conflict in Atlantis, telling them "I'm going home to see my father."
Snyder, in turn, would reveal an image of that scene in Vero, captioned with the quote provided by Momoa. This would not be the last time the Snyder Cut theme would come up during the Aquaman press tour, with Momoa openly declaring “Yes, f-k yes, I want to see it! When asked by Josh Horowitz of MTV News about the cut directly.
While all of the above story points have only been glimpsed through social media posts, each one will be seen in its full context when the Snyder Cut arrives next year, and will bring with it the full essence of the presence. Aquaman's planned in the movie.
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