In the wake of the massive international success of Aquaman – success that was largely unanticipated since the character has always been kind of a punchline – Warner Bros. has announced not one but two follow-up projects are in the works. One is reportedly a spinoff focusing on The Trench, a race of creatures featured in the movie after being introduced by Geoff Johns in 2011 as part of DC Comics’ The New 52 relaunch while the other is a straight sequel.
Story details for both movies are lacking as it’s still early in development. When it comes to the sequel, which has a writer but not a director as James Wan is still waiting to sign on, there’s one story I’d love to see on screen: The Others.
Aquaman and The Others was a team introduced in 2013’s Aquaman #20 and eventually spun off into their own book the next year. They were a team of powered individuals who had worked with Aquaman prior to him joining the Justice League and who, in the series, came back together to track down Black Manta after he killed Kahina, a member of the team. In addition to Aquaman and Kahina, the roster consisted of:
- Ya’Wara, a women imbued with powers to protect the forest.
- Prisoner-Of-War, a man who communicates with the spirits of fallen soldiers that can help him in combat .
- The Operative, an aging special forces expert whose suit enhances his physical strength and agility, keeping him appearing younger than he is.
The Aquaman and The Others series was tied to DC’s “Future’s End” event that encompassed a weekly series that ran 11 months along with one-shots for each of the ongoing series published by DC at the time. But the series itself focused on the team’s search for powerful Atlantean artifacts to keep them safe from Manta and others. It was notable also for marking the first time Aquaman had been the lead in two books featuring his name. That was a testament to the mythology Johns had built up since the launch of The New 52 and the way he’d made the character cool and interesting again.
The premise behind The Others – that Aquaman has another team out there – would work well given the uncertain future of the cinematic DCEU as Warner Bros. tries to figure out what direction it wants to take next. Audiences have already met Black Manta and have been introduced to the idea that artifacts from Atlantis are strewn about and in need of finding and protecting. With a little tweaking, it’s easy to see how it could work as the next installment of Aquaman’s story, fleshing out his corner of the universe a bit more and giving him additional characters that aren’t the Justice League to interact with.
There are other classic Aquaman stories that might make for good inspiration for his second cinematic outing, but given how the first movie pulled so heavily from the stories of The New 52, it makes a good amount of sense to continue down that road.
[Note: I should disclose that I was working with DC Comics in the period when The Others was launched and was involved in promoting the book on DC’s social media channels.]