Now set pretty firmly in the world of the New 52, DC’s animated Justice League films are beginning to serve two purposes: first, to present what is becoming an ongoing arc of sorts, and, second, to put the spotlight on characters who don’t normally have it shined on them.
It began with The Flash in a prequel of sorts to the new approach, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox; continued with Cyborg in Justice League: War and will be represented early in 2015 with Aquaman in Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis.
In this film, following the Justice League’s battle with Darkseid and minions of Apokalips in War, Orm and Black Manta make their move against the surface world because of harm caused to Atlantis.
The Queen of Atlantis begins a search for her other son, Orm’s half-brother, Arthur, who is living on the surface world with growing powers he doesn’t understand. In the end, Arthur Curry must embrace his destiny as Aquaman, teaming with the Justice League to unite the people of the world.
“We wanted to ground Aquaman and make him a different Aquaman,” offers writer Heath Corson.
“This is ‘Aquaman Begins.’ This is an Aquaman who’s unaware of his heritage, unaware of his Atlantean background. He’s a guy who doesn’t feel comfortable where he is right now. He lives in a lighthouse with his father, who he’s just lost.
“He finds himself drawn to the water, but he doesn’t have any idea of who he really is and what he wants to be. And he’s angry about it. It was a really interesting place to start as we brought him to the position of being the King of Atlantis.”
Adds producer James Tucker, “People ridicule the character solely based on Super Friends, and on that show they didn’t provide any kind of depth. It was a young kid’s show and Aquaman kind of got singled out for being lame. It was called Super Friends, so it was all lame, but it’s all we had and we loved it.
“What we’ve been trying to do at DC Animation through the years is bring Aquaman back by giving him spotlight roles in different series. We had him on Superman: The Animated Series, we used him as a guest star on Justice League and on Batman: Brave And The Bold we used him as much as possible, because he was a break-out character.
“This is a guy who has all of these powers that some people think is weird, but he likes himself. He’s not one of these guys who’s all navel-gazing and tortured. He likes being Aquaman. He likes his responsibility of being king of the sea.”
On the latter point, actor Matt Lanter, who voices the character, actually sees things a bit differently as he recognises quite a bit of similarity between Arthur Curry/Aquaman and his recent stint as Anakin Skywalker on the Star Wars animated series, Clone Wars.
“Anakin is torn between being a Jedi and having a disdain for the Jedi,” he says.
“There’s a lot of similarity there. Arthur Curry is dealing with demons internally. Anakin is, too. He’s got secrets, things he’s trying to deal with. There are tragedies in his life like Arthur Curry, so there are a lot of things that the two characters have in common, and that was exciting to play.
“Anytime someone calls you to be a superhero, you say, ‘Yeah!’,” laughs Lanter. “To be a part of the Justice League and to jump into the DC world, which I’d not really had a whole lot of experience with, has been awesome. I think it’s been a fun challenge to make Aquaman cool again. I think this film really does it, and hopefully fans will think so, too. It’s a cool time where we can change the perception of who these characters are.”
Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2015. To learn more abount the comics that inspired this, pick up our 100 All-Time Greatest Comics bookazine now!