Starring Jason Momoa, ‘Aquaman’ set to be a faithful adaptation

Warner Bros. casts Pacific Islander in leading role

Pierson Cepeda, Assistant Web & Social Media Manager


With all of the excitement and speculation regarding superhero movies, attention has been focused on the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) and its vision for its stories.

The success of “Man of Steel” led Warner Bros. to expand upon the movie with a full­blown universe of characters and movies, “Aquaman” being among them. The casting of Pacific Islander actor Jason Momoa as the lead for the film broke the barrier of the white, blond type-cast for the superhero.

The traditional comic book portrayal of Aquaman includes powers such as a telepathic connection to sea creatures, the ability to breathe underwater, the ability to swim at incredible speeds and other powers that make him suited to living in the depths of the oceans.

Although traditionally a white male, Momoa as Aquaman re­-envisions the character as a god­like character derived from island cultures. With some seeing the ocean as the origin of man, it would make sense if the physical embodiment of the ocean, in this case Aquaman, would reflect them.

Being part Hawaiian, Momoa embraces his culture, as suggested by his tattoos, which represent armor that Polynesian warriors inked on their skin. His tattoos have become part of the character’s design, referencing Polynesian inspiration behind the new Aquaman.

As a character that derives his power from the ocean, he has become the subject of many jokes as many see him as useless because many of the problems superheroes face happen on land. The jokes appear to compound as a result of underutilization of the character, the primary example being the “Super Friends” cartoon.

It is important to think about the DCEU as a whole and the tone that was set with the “Man of Steel” in 2013. The film’s director, Zack Snyder, decided to ground the character of Superman as much as possible. The tone of the DCEU, established with “Man of Steel,” was a gritty, grounded aesthetic. By casting Jason Momoa, the producers of the DCEU fulfill the need for this serious take on the character.

In the comics, Aquaman is able to stand on equal ground with Superman’s strength, and Momoa has an intimidating presence to constitute that, playing characters such as Conan the Barbarian and Khal Drogo of “Game of Thrones,” which makes him a match for Henry Cavill’s portrayal of Superman.

By casting Momoa as Aquaman, Warner Bros. has taken a step in the right direction of honoring the grounded tone of the universe, paying homage to the comic book and taking the comic book mythology seriously.