Arthur Curry, better known as Aquaman, is heading to cinemas in his solo film on December 21. We’ve already seen the underseas hero punching various things in both Batman v. Superman and Justice League. And both those appearances and the trailer for the new movie are packed with nods and references to the comics and other media.
Here are some of the best references we’ve seen from Aquaman.
“Talking to fish”
Arthur Curry’s occasional ability to converse with aquatic animals is a long-running joke for the character. It was the start and end of his contributions to the team in the Superfriends animated series from the ’70s. And it’s become the standard takedown for his usefulness as a crimefighter. It even got a nod in MTV’s ’90s sketch show The State.
Batman mentions this twice in Justice League. And the bullies in a flashback scene in the first Aquaman trailer use it to torment young Arthur … right before everyone finds out that this was basically what he was doing. The adult Arthur claims that “the water does the talking.” But we know what we saw
“The Seven Seas”
The Aquaman trailer includes a line from Orm (also known as Ocean Master) revealing that his plan is to destroy the surface world for its mistreatment of the environment. He says that he’s “bringing the wrath of the Seven Seas” with him.
The Seven Seas are not a concept unique to the comics. But the New 52 and Rebirth incarnations of the DC Universe contain seven underwater kingdoms. Early promotional artwork for Justice League included the phrase “Unite the Seven,” which is something Curry could achieve as King of Atlantis.
In the comics, we’ve only seen a few of these: Atlantis, the prison colony Xebel, and the Trench. But the Aquaman trailer shows a few more denizens of the other undersea realms, including the green-skinned Fishermen and the crablike Brine. That only leaves two others we haven’t seen yet, but apparently we’ll have to wait.
In Justice League, Mera forms a gap in the water to let herself and Arthur have a conversation. But judging from the trailers, Aquaman director James Wan is using a more simple solution. People are just going to talk underwater normally, and the audience can buy it or not.
This is how it works in the comics. Whatever lets Aquaman and the rest of the undersea folk breathe underwater also allows them to just have regular conversations like they’re on land. It’s a more elegant solution that will also keep the movie going along without having to wait for someone to make a talk bubble.
Atlantis vs. Amazons
Curry makes a reference to an ancient war between Atlantis and the Amazons near the end of Justice League. This has no precedent in the normal continuity, since both groups are typically fine just to keep to themselves.
But this conflict did happen in the Flashpoint universe, which was an alternate reality that Barry Allen created when he went back in time to save his mother’s life. The Flash’s meddling with the timeline ultimately created the New 52 universe. And since the cinematic Aquaman is based on that version of the character, Curry’s line that the Atlantis/Themyscira war was “before his time” could be one of the most clever Easter eggs in any of the new DC movies.
We already know from the trailers that Curry will eventually trade in his leather pants and shirtlessness for the traditional orange and green suit and proper trident of his comic book counterpart. That will mark him fully becoming Aquaman. But actor Jason Momoa and his hairdresser have already been foreshadowing this transformation.
Momoa’s hair looked completely black in the brief, grainy footage we see in Batman v. Superman. In Justice League, some blonde highlights are starting to creep in. And he has even more of them in the Aquaman trailers. Just as he’s slowly rising — or sinking, maybe — to meet his destiny, his hair has become progressively more blonde to match the comic book version.
Whether this is intentional, coincidental, or just style isn’t clear. And we can’t imagine Momoa going full Goldilocks. But if it is a nod, it’s a good one.