SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” now playing in theaters.
After 10 years, 16 movies and some disappointing reviews and box office performances of late, the DC Extended Universe has officially come to an end with “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.”
Jason Momoa stars as Aquaman for the seventh time in his career, after two solo movies, a “Justice League” team-up and a handful of cameos. His first standalone movie, 2018’s “Aquaman,” defied expectations and ended up making $1.15 billion at the worldwide box office, the highest-grossing DC movie ever.
But this is likely Momoa’s final time suiting up as Aquaman. New DC Studios CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran are rebooting the DC universe with 2025’s “Superman: Legacy,” with plans to recast most of the major roles. There isn’t an “Aquaman” movie on the DC slate they’ve revealed so far, meaning “Lost Kingdom” is Momoa’s farewell for now.
If Gunn and Safran end up keeping any elements of the current DCEU, “Lost Kingdom” may have planted some seeds for the future. The first major development in the sequel is that Aquaman and his Atlantis queen Mera (Amber Heard) have a baby, Arthur Jr., who exhibits some of his parents’ underwater powers. The hero’s dad duties are interrupted when a possessed Black Manta (Yahya Abdul Matteen II) resurfaces to cause some global warming disasters with the ancient Black Trident artifact. Aquaman teams up with his reformed brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) to stop Black Manta from resurrecting the zombie army of Necrus, an ancient, underwater kingdom lost to time. In the end, the heroes are successful, Black Manta dies and Aquaman reveals the existence of Atlantis to the United Nations, hoping the underwater civilization can be recognized as a sovereign nation.
Most superhero movies nowadays use a post-credits scene to tease what’s coming next for the franchise, but what happens when the cinematic universe is coming to an end? In the case of “Aquaman 2” and the DCEU, the post-credits scene is…just a callback to an earlier joke.
During their travels together, Aquaman tells Orm all about the wonders of the surface world, like beer, greasy burgers and, as a joke, cockroaches. He makes Orm sample a cockroach, and to his surprise, Orm likes it. In the mid-credits scene, Orm sits at a restaurant, orders a burger and adds a crunch cockroach to it. And with that final scene, the DCEU comes to an end.
But is this really Momoa’s last role as a DC character? He reportedly held meetings with Gunn to discuss a future in the new DC universe or playing a new character.
“I’ll always be Aquaman. Ain’t anyone coming in there and taking shit. There might be some other characters, too. I can play other things, too. I can be funny and savage and charming,” he said.
There have since been fan rumors that Momoa should play Lobo, a buff, longhaired alien bounty hunter who happens to share some resemblance with Momoa, but nothing has been confirmed. As this chapter of the DCEU closes, he’s been open to reprising his original role that made him a household name.
“The truth of it is, I mean, if the audience loves [‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’], then there’s a possibility. But right now, I’m like, ‘It’s not looking too good.’ I love this character and [I would want to] play it for a long time,” Momoa said. “I kind of see where I would want it to go. And even in the next 10 years or so, there’s a lot of cool things they can do. And I do enjoy the role and the world. So, I mean, it just comes down to if people love it.”