James Wan & Peter Safran talk the bold and brave future of Aquaman

Aquaman, The Trench, superhero

After netting $1.31 billion at the worldwide box office, it would be a fool’s errand for DC and Warner Bros. not to bait their hook with more AQUAMAN content. Be it Momoa’s shirtless majesty, Heard’s charged and commanding presence as Mera, or the film’s over-the-top potrayel of underwater war, there’s no doubt that a vast majority of moviegoers were blown out of the water by Wan’s superhero epic. Naturally, the instinct is to crank out a sequel as fast as humanly possible, however, it’s been previously announced that we’ll have to wait until 2022 for a proper AQUAMAN sequel. Thankfully, James Wan and producer Peter Safran are developing a horror-oriented spinoff, THE TRENCH, which focuses on the aquatic monstrosities that attacked Aquaman and Mera during a harrowing sequence in Wan’s original film. According to DC lore, the Trench were actually part of the Kingdom of Atlantis but were cut off from their brethren after the sinking of the ancient city and evolved into the ravenous, saw-toothed monsters seen in AQUAMAN. They’re like piranha on steroids, devoid of all emotion after their horrific transformation.

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“We always, even from the early concept art days, loved the idea of a Trench movie,” Safran told THR at the opening of the Aquaman exhibit at Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood. “Then, when audiences embraced it in the movie itself the way they did, particularly that ant farm shot where the camera follows the Trench [creatures] following Arthur and Mera down into the deep, we just knew that we had something very special there and we knew what that movie should be. And consequently, I suspect that that’s one that will come out significantly before Aquaman 2.”

In addition to the above statement, Safran also confirmed that Arthur and Mera will not appear in THE TRENCH spinoff, and shared that the film will take place after the events of AQUAMAN. With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a series of flashback sequences throughout the spinoff, detailing the events of the Trench’s evolutionary process. Is anyone else hoping that THE TRENCH will include some epic body-horror? I know I am. I want to see some straight-up Carpenter business with this project.

Part of what makes THE TRENCH idea so intriguing is that Safran and Wan, who are no strangers to the horror genre, have in the past collaborated on the absurdly-successful THE CONJURING franchise. When looking at the evolution of that property throughout the years, it should send a signal to horror buffs that DC’s underwater monster movie is in very capable hands with this dynamic duo. 

“We’ve definitely taken a page from our Conjuring playbook, which is: You’ve got the mothership, which is Aquaman, but there are so many great stories to tell within that universe of itself, that Atlantean universe,” Safran explained. “[Hamada], myself and James Wan always shared the same philosophy, which is: You want to do it right,” added Safran. “You don’t want to do it fast. You just want to do it right.”

To read THR’s full interview, including comments on the future of the DCEU by WONDER WOMAN 1984 director Patty Jenkins, click here.

For now, AQUAMAN 2 is requesting permission to come aboard in theaters on December 16, 2022. As for THE TRENCH, well, that’s anyone’s guess. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the AQUAMAN spinoff sometime in 2020. After all, I doubt that the WB wants the S.S. Aquaman docked for any extended period of time. They’ve got to strike while the water’s still warm, if you catch my drift. Alright, that’s enough maritime puns for one article, don’t you think?

Aquaman, DC, superhero