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For Aquaman, it’s not easy being king.
The new HBO Max series Aquaman: King of Atlantis is gearing up to unveil its second of three installments, with Thursday’s episode picking up after Aquaman (Coopers Andrews) and Mera (Gillian Jacobs) return home only to see that time has moved much faster than they realized, leaving Ocean Master (Dana Snyder) plenty of time to steal the throne.
The Hollywood Reporter has an early look at the episode, which hails from showrunners Marly Halpern-Graser and Victor Courtright.
“Digging into the old comics, that world is so full of variety,” Courtright says of the inspiration behind playing with time in the series. “There are fantasy and sci-fi elements. There is mythology and history woven together. They are playing with these different elements at once.”
King of Atlantis takes cues from filmmaker James Wan’s Aquaman, the $1 billion-grossing 2018 film. Arthur has just become king after defeating his half-brother, Ocean Master. He’s just started dating Mera, and he’s got an advisor named Volko. Other than that, all bets are off.
“The whole idea in our show is Aquaman wants to be a good king and he wants his subjects to think he’s a good king and approve of him and accept him,” says Halpern-Graser.
Wan and his Atomic Monster executive produce the series, with the filmmaker’s team providing guidance on getting the tone of the Aquaman character right.
Creators in Disney’s sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe occasionally find themselves pitching ideas only to be told it’s too similar to a plotline already in the works on another film or TV show. Wan is currently in production on Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, a big-screen sequel to his 2018 film, but the team was never told an idea was off the table because it’d clash with Wan’s plans. “It was the opposite,” says Courtright.
“There were a couple of times when we pitched some pretty out-there, silly, kind of cartoony stuff, and Atomic Monster was like, ‘Oh, cool, cool, that’s kind of what we’re doing. That’s neat. We like it,'” recalls Halpern-Graser. “We’re like, ‘Really?! That’s what you’re doing? Now I really want to see that movie!'”
Aquaman: King of Atlantis streams on HBO Max on Thursdays.
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