Aquaman is just days away from becoming the highest-grossing film ever based on a DC superhero. It heads into the weekend approximately $9M shy of The Dark Knight Rises ($1.085B) for that crown. Atlantis is arguably the center of all things DC now and Warner Bros. hopes to keep director James Wan at the helm as the franchise inevitably moves forward.
Deadline reports that the studio believes it will need a great script and a lot of money to lure Wan back. The director is currently taking a much-deserved break, giving Warner Bros. time to get its house in order. Wan is now the only director to in history to direct billion-dollar hits for two different studios with Aquaman (WB) and Furious 7 (Universal).
Wan is firmly in an elite group of the most sought-after filmmakers in Hollywood. He’ll have his choice of several projects when he comes back to work and a massive check to go along with whatever he selects. Wan has stated on several occasions just how much he enjoyed the world-building he got to do in Aquaman. It’s likely he wants to do even more in a sequel, giving Warner Bros. the inside track.
As likely as it may be that Wan will come back, it’s not a foregone conclusion. Studio sources note that a quality script will need to be in place before a new deal will be signed. Until that happens, Aquaman 2 is simply in “development mode.” Perhaps Wan could sign on a little early, however, if there’s at least a great treatment from which a script can be generated.
What we may see is Wan directing another film before returning to Atlantis. That’s what Christopher Nolan used to do between Batman installments and it worked out well enough for him and Warner Bros. The studio has a billion reasons to give Wan space to do the same thing, if that’s what he wants. Warner Bros. may need that time anyway, depending on how long it takes for the next script to come together.