Jason Momoa and the director of Aquaman 2 fought to keep Amber Heard in the DC film
According to industry expert Kathryn Arnold, Jason Momoa and Aquaman 2 director James Wan lobbied to keep Amber Heard in the DC film
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom development has been fraught with ups and downs, with Wan preferring to take his time developing the sequel rather than delivering a hurried product and having to work with the COVID-19 outbreak during production. Due to the global shutdowns, post-production on the film's visual effects took longer than intended, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom's release date was pushed back from its initial December 2022 release date, trading places with the equally long-awaited Shazam! Fury of the Gods will be released in March 2023. The newest stumbling block for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has been Amber Heard's continuing defamation trial against ex-husband Johnny Depp, and new revelations about the behind-the-scenes issues have emerged.
As the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard proceeds, industry insider Kathryn Arnold revealed additional information about Heard's participation in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (via The Wrap). Arnold testified that Heard was not asked to participate in the poster shot for the picture and was told she couldn't attend this year's DC FanDome event, but that her place in the film is secure for the time being owing to the efforts of co-star Jason Momoa and director James Wan. See what Arnold had to say about it below:
“Ms. Heard was not invited to be either in the poster or to be at the [FanDome] event, and, in fact, they told her she cannot come. In February 2021, there were conversations that Amber’s, I’m going to be technical with you, her option for employment was not going to be exercised. So they may not have hired her again. Her management team fought very hard and they ultimately ended up hiring her, but not only because of what her management did, but also because star Jason Momoa and director James Wan committed to her.”
Arnold's evidence that Momoa and Wan pushed to keep Heard in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is consistent with the most of the actress' assertions made throughout the trial. Heard testified that Warner Bros. deliberately attempted to eliminate her from the DCEU sequel even before shooting began, first rejecting to take up her contract option because to worries about her chemistry with Momoa and the trial's media coverage. Heard also recently testified in court that WB attempted to reduce her position in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and she is concerned that she may be eliminated from the picture completely after being freed from her contract with the company.
Throughout the trial, Momoa and Wan have been mostly silent about the matter and how it could effect the final edit of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. With the defamation trial in its closing week, DC Films CEO Walter Hamada is expected to testify in the studio's defense and reject Heard's accusations that she has been removed from the planned sequel. Only time will tell how the trial has affected her performance in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which will be released in theaters on March 17, 2023.