Aquaman Villains: Featured Image

A cluster of announcements this past week confirmed that AQUAMAN 2 has begun its march to the silver screen. Moreover, James Wan has been confirmed as the director. This can, of course, change, but if you liked AQUAMAN, this also should be very heartening. However, as substantiated elsewhere, the moment a movie gets confirmed, my mind goes to one place. What Aquaman villains will we see?

Obviously, Black Manta deserves a return trip to the cinemas. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II did an awesome job with him and there is still story to tell there. However, I want the shock of the new, the rush of the unfamiliar. So, to make things easier for the good people at Warner Bros., I put together this little list of seven possible choices. No need for thanks, I just like to help.

Aquaman Villains: Gamesman
The Gamesman is one of the Aquaman villains whose costume screams, “Welcome to the ’90s!” Still a cool character, though. (Courtesy of DC Entertainment)

Possible Aquaman Villains Nominee #1 — Gamesman

Truth be told, the Gamesman does not have a spot on the wall in the pantheon of Aquaman villains. Then again, the first film more or less exhausted all of the “iconic” aqua-baddies. So we can dispense with worrying about that sort of thing right from the jump.

The Gamesman is a hunter of sorts — a man who, through tech, know-how, and craftiness targets superpowered beings for execution.

As Gamesman is a relatively thinly-sketched character, the filmmakers will have a lot of range to shape his personality. They can make him a villain in the Lex Luthor role, one who hates superheroes because of how they make normal humans seem small and weak in comparison. Or they could go more of a Kraven the Hunter route. Gamesman could be all about “honoring” Aquaman by defeating the King of the Seven Seas and keeping his head as a trophy. Either would make for an excellent antagonist.

Maybe with a different costume, though?

Aquaman Villains: Tiamat
Steer clear of Tiamat’s tail. Like many Aquaman villains, she is quite the physical threat. (Courtesy of DC Entertainment)

Possible Aquaman Villains Nominee #2 — Tiamat

Tiamat is part of a race imprisoned years and years ago by ancient Atlanteans. Given the recent chaos amongst the kingdoms of Atlantis depicted in AQUAMAN, it’s not hard to imagine those green humanoid shapeshifters getting free.

Imagine, if you will, being young and stuck for most of your abnormally long life in prison. You still look young. You are strong, fast, can breathe fire even underwater, and have a massive hate-on for Atlanteans. That’s the case for Tiamat. Why wouldn’t her first act be to target the king for assassination and/or lead a massive revolution against her previous captors?

Aquaman Villain: Hagen
Don’t call Hagen a gargoyle. Trust me. (Courtesy of DC Entertainment)

Possible Aquaman Villains Nominee #3 — Hagen

Truth be told, I am not sure how much I want an AQUAMAN 2 that focuses on the politics of Atlantis especially given that was the catalyst of the first film. On the other hand, an untested king on the throne is an invitation for unease and turmoil. That’s tempting storytelling fuel right there.

If the movie does go that route, Hagen is an excellent option. A sorcerer and an ultranationalist, he spent some time in the comics as Atlantis’ Prime Minister.

In the film, he could sweep in as the more independent-minded Aquaman attempts to move his kingdom away from a dynastic monarchy towards something a little more democratic. The law of unintended consequences puts Hagen in power as Atlantis’ democratically elected leader testing not just Aquaman’s leadership skills but his dedication to his principles.

Aquaman Villains: Creature King
He lives, folks. I think that’s what he wants us to understand. (Courtesy of DC Entertainment)

Possible Aquaman Villains Nominee #4 — Creature King

The name is, admittedly, kind of weak sauce. However, the character would be a strong choice.

For one thing, director James Wan excels at horror in general. Moreover, his best work in AQUAMAN came in The Trench scenes which had mostly horror trappings. Creature King nicely fits into these dynamics.

I really love the idea of going back to the Silver Age King, not for the look — giant, purple, and silly — but for the idea that he wore a human mask while being this monstrous sea creature underneath. It establishes him as a sort of cracked mirror version of Aquaman. Arthur is an Atlantean “half-blood” who looks human but is trying to assert himself as a true ruler of the undersea world to protect his people. Creature King, meanwhile, is a sea monster who is trying to pass on the surface world as human to gain and wield power for personal gain.

Aquaman Villains: The Eel
See, The Eel is already speaking in film-ese. How many other Aquaman villains can say that? (Courtesy of DC Entertainment)

Possible Aquaman Villains Nominee #5 — The Eel

The cool thing about The Eel is that he could challenge Aquaman on land and in the ocean. A criminal who, after the events of Sub Diego, discovered that being in water made him more of a supervillain.

In the context of the film, he could target and decimate Arthur’s surface world life: getting Arthur’s dad fired, turning the surface world against Aquaman, isolating the hero from his land-dwelling allies and friends.

Under the water, he could rob Atlantis blind. Besides the obvious problem of that, it could breed distrust in the community, pushing neighbor against neighbor. Aquaman can lead in combat, perhaps, but can he keep his kingdom from tearing itself apart when an unseen criminal is spreading fear and suspicion amongst Atlanteans?

It would be all the better if Aquaman was unaware that The Eel was the architect of both his surface and undersea problems.

Even better, it pulls Mera into the plot as The Eel’s abilities are similar to her own. This could be either a situation where she becomes the number one suspect as a result or he is more than able to fight back against her powers, making it the first time she has encountered an enemy that could neutralize her so fully.

Aquaman Villains: The Thirst
Is this what they mean by a Thirst trap? (Courtesy of DC Entertainment)

Possible Aquaman Villains Nominee #6 — The Thirst

Again, The Thirst can play to Wan’s strong suit as a director with a talent for realizing horror on screen. Additionally, if the movie makes some use of The Thirst storyline in comics, it can also create another quest narrative. That could establish Aquaman as a sort of undersea Indiana Jones, following up on the foundation built in the first film.

The Thirst is a supernatural being awakened by the misuse of magic for personal or evil gain. In the movie context, perhaps it is a problem Atlantis brings to its doorstep trying to help itself with a discovered talisman, unaware of the consequences. The Thirst drinks the lifeforce of others, rendering them husks he then controls. Yes, it is a bit of a vampire/zombie kind of scenario.

However, the real hook is The Thirst’s goal: to drink from the mystical water in the middle of the world, which will not only make it all-powerful but will trigger a series of cataclysms that will literally destroy Earth.

Aquaman Villains: Marine Marauder
The only one of the Aquaman villains who can really pull off a green mohawk, Marine Marauder proves an aesthetic and dramatic advantage in a movie. (Courtesy of DC Entertainment)

Possible Aquaman Villains Nominee #7 — Marine Marauder

AQUAMAN makes it clear that Arthur’s ability to “talk” to aquatic animals makes him unique amongst his underwater peers. However, how would he, or Atlanteans, react to seeing another with that ability? And what if that person was purely, unapologetically human?

Marine Marauder represents that challenge. Like Aquaman, she can converse with fish. Like Aquaman, she has lived her life on the surface. Although she cannot breathe underwater, her costume allows her to. If she could make that aspect of the costume subtle enough, might she cast doubt on Aquaman, raising concerns once more about whether or not he belongs in the kingdom, nevermind on the throne?

Marine Marauder, moreover, would be the most traditional supervillain of these bunch. This would allow the filmmakers to emphasize or de-emphasize Atlantis and the surface in any ratio they deemed fit. She can work fine in either environment without requiring much change to her personality or goals, giving lots of freedom to anyone making a movie with her as the baddie.

Everyone Into the Pool!

Aquaman’s list of villains is long but most do not seem to last long. Did we miss a diamond in the rough as a result? Is there someone obvious we cannot afford to overlook but did here? Please do let us know. We so love discussions!

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