Creating a new franchise is challenging enough, but the difficulty increases significantly when doing so within a larger cinematic universe. It’s a balancing act that usually leans in favor of the film at hand, just as it should. Director James Wan was certainly more concerned with building Atlantis than the rest of the DCEU in Aquaman.
“It’s a hard movie to do because it’s an origin of a character people don’t know as well,” Wan told The Hollywood Reporter. “You have a lot to cram in there. A lot of characters to set up, you’ve got to set up the emotional stuff here and there.”
There are luxuries some characters have after numerous big screen iterations. Those things don’t apply to Arthur Curry. “If you are telling another Batman movie,” Wan continued, “you don’t have to do an origin story because we’ve seen that movie many times. With this character being the first time, there’s more backstory to get through.”
Aquaman is still connected to the DCEU. The film makes it known that its story takes place in the same timeline/universe in which the events of Justice League happened. Wan put just enough in there to make that point clear but wasn’t going to fall into the trap of being too preoccupied with stories outside of the one he was telling.
“In terms of connecting it to the bigger DCEU,” he explained, “I didn’t want to shoehorn in anything from the larger universe because I felt like I was creating my own universe within that and my characters were going to go on their own journeys, which has nothing to do with the other stuff. And because of that, it actually freed me up to tell the story I wanted to tell.”
The most (creatively) successful movies in shared universes are the ones that place their individual story above all others. There is no question that Wan made the right call and in doing so, gave himself the time to include as much of Arthur Curry’s own mythology as Wan could in Aquaman.
SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter