We’ll have to wait a little longer to see the sequels to both Shazam! and Aquaman following Warner Bros announcement of significant reshuffles.
Revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has left its March 17, 2023 date and has been pushed back eight months to December 25, 2023. The director James Wan took to Instagram to unveil more incredibly stunning artwork and his reason for the delay.
“Aquaman & The Lost Kingdom moving to Christmas Day 2023. I’m a bit superstitious and I love that it’s a December release like the first one!,” the filmmaker said on social media.
Adding: “Here is a small glimpse of some artwork into the big, epic world-building we’re creating, and I need the time to do it right. These images barely scratch the surface of this movie (haven’t even shown the weird and wonderful characters and creatures of this world yet).
“I can’t wait to show, but you have to wait just a little bit longer.”
The sequel to the billion-dollar original sees the return of Jason Momoa as the titled superhero, with Patrick Wilson coming back as Arthur Curry’s half-brother Orm Marius and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Black Manta will be the villain.
Excitingly, Ben Affleck is also repairing as Bruce Wayne for a cameo.
As for Shazam! Fury of the Gods, it leaves its December this year and is now taken Aquaman’s previous release of March 17, 2023.
Similar to Wan, director David F. Sandberg went on Instagram to give a little tongue-in-cheek, humourous message to fans confirming the film is nearly done.
Saying on social media: “Doing the final mix on Shazam Fury of the Gods. New release date is March 17 next year.
“Avatar 2 can have December, we can have IMAX screens. It’s going to be great. But Cameron definitely owes me a 4K release of Abyss now,” Sandberg added.
The filmmaker also went onto Twitter to explain the change.
The original Shazam! was released in 2019 and was a popular superhero movie, but while doing solidly at the box office with a $365.9 million return, but not as high as people were expecting in this superhero landscape.
However, it was well-liked enough for a sequel and we got our first look at a trailer released during San Diego Comic-Con. The fact we’re getting this on an IMAX screen now is very exciting, especially with want we saw in the trailer, as the Swedish director made it for the biggest screen possible.
Moving it away from Avatar 2 is also smart because even with counter-programming, I didn’t see it being a success. Now, cleared of all competition, it has the chance to be a success.
Fury of the Gods sees Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who transforms into the super-heroic Shazam (Zachary Levi) as he takes on the villainous gods, played by Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren. Plus, West Sides Story’s Rachel Zegler is in an unrevealed role.
Both moves are major, but putting Aquaman 2 after The Flash leaves questions open when considering Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s 10-year plan for DC. It seemed like The Flash was the perfect break between the DCEU and the new DC Universe.
Elsewhere, with Affleck replacing Michael Keaton’s Batman cameo in The Lost Kingdom and now this movie releasing after Ezra Miller’s solo outing as Barry Allen, it signals Keaton’s appearance in The Flash will be a one-off.
Storyline-wise, will the events in The Flash affect Aquaman 2, or will the sequel story run at the same timeline as Flash? But that brings in the question of Blue Beetle, which is currently scheduled for an August 2023 release.
I can still see Flash ending the DCEU and, in some way, both Blue Beetle and Aquaman 2 as the start of the new DC Universe. In which case, what this would mean for Affleck is left unanswered now, I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays on as Batman on a part-time basis.
Overall, in Wan’s work on the sequel, this delay will make it much easier for all those VFX artists working on this movie as they’ll be able to breathe and create the world the filmmaker wants.
They can do this now without the need to worry about suffering breakdowns or deal with an alarming amount of high levels of stress (especially with the COVID backlog) compared to the revelations by those working on Marvel movies and the need to hit a pre-determined release date.