The upcoming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom movie is due soon, and so far, the plot details are being kept well under wraps. However, the hype for a new DC Extended Universe (DCEU) movie comes with a ton of controversy attached.
Specifically, many fans were not pleased to hear that Amber Heard would be reprising her role as Mera in the film. Mera first appeared in 2017’s Justice League (in both the Whedon and Snyder cuts of the film) and then appeared in 2018’s Aquaman.
Actress Amber Heard in a black Atelier Versace dress hand-crafted with delicately draped bead netting at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures’ ‘Justice League’ at the Dolby Theatre on November 13, 2017, in Hollywood, California (Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock)
There were campaigns and planned boycotts for the film due to the announcement that Amber Heard would be returning to play Mera.
Why Did Fans Want Amber Heard Recast?
So why were fans rallying to have Amber Heard replaced after she had already appeared in two previous films as the character?
Did they dislike her acting, or was it something deeper? Well, you may have heard a bit about the divorce case between Heard and Johnny Depp. It all has to do with that.
In 2017, the couple filed for divorce and it drew significant media attention. Initially, Amber Heard accused Johnny Depp of abusing her, even writing an op-ed on the domestic abuse she allegedly faced at Depp’s hands.
Fans of Johnny Depp believe he’s been unfairly treated in one of the biggest divorce dramas in recent history (Credit: Chaz Bharj / Shutterstock)
However, Johnny Depp sued for libel against Heard and the publications that posted the op-ed. At the end of the day, the English court system ruled that Depp lost the libel case, and Amber Heard countersued.
Depp’s lawsuit was a $50M defamation suit, and Heard’s counter lawsuit is for $100M. It’s also worth noting that the Los Angeles police investigated Amber Heard’s claims and found no evidence of any crime committed by Depp.
Amber Heard joined the DC Extended Universe in 2017 to play Atlantean queen Mera in superhero films Justice League (Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures / Shutterstock)
Later, evidence came out from Depp’s side that suggested Amber Heard may have actually been the abusive one. We can’t definitively say whether or not either of their allegations are true, but we can say that the whole thing has caused quite the stir in the media.
Fans of Johnny Depp began a campaign in Depp’s defense, and that’s around when people began demanding that Amber Heard be recast as Mera.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. forced Johnny Depp to resign from Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. After that happened, many assumed that Amber Heard would also be made to step down from her role as Mera.
Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry / Aquaman and Amber Heard as Mera in the 2018 American superhero film Aquaman (Credit: Warner Bros.)
When it was made clear that she would still be returning, it ignited people to demand that Amber Heard be treated the same way. It seems that many view Warner Bros.’s decision against Johnny Depp versus their reaction to Amber Heard as blatant hypocrisy.
Amber Heard dressed as undersea queen Mera in a Valentino Fall 2018 Haute Couture gown with a swim cap at the world premiere of “Aquaman” at Cineworld Leicester Square on November 26, 2018, in London, England (Credit: Cubankite / Shutterstock)
Since Amber Heard has been confirmed to return to the film, there are still plenty of online campaigns expressing their distaste for the casting decision. There are still plenty of posts going around with #JohnnyDeppIsInnocent and #BoycottAquaman2 campaigns.
Why wasn’t Amber Heard recast in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom?
Despite the petitions and fan campaigns, however, the producers of Aquaman did not recast Amber Heard. Film producer Peter Safran appeared on the Hero Nation podcast and said that Warner Bros. studio would not respond to “pure fan pressure.”
In full, he said, “I don’t think that we’re ever going to react to, honestly, pure fan pressure. You gotta do what you feel is best for the movie. We felt that if it’s James Wan and Jason Momoa, it should be Amber Heard. That’s really what it was.”
Aquaman producer Peter Safran with his wife Lou Lou Safran and daughter Natalia Safran at the premiere of Warner Bros’ ‘Annabelle Comes Home’ at Regency Village Theatre on June 20, 2019, in Westwood, California (Credit: DFree / Shutterstock)
In addition to the producers, James Wan also seems to have welcomed Amber Heard back with open arms and is supportive of her return to the franchise.
On Amber Heard’s end, she told Entertainment Weekly in 2020, “Paid rumors and paid campaigns on social media don’t dictate [casting decisions] because they have no basis in reality… Only the fans actually made Aquaman and Aquaman 2 happen. I’m excited to get started next year.”
Rumor has it that she’ll actually be getting more screen time as Mera this time around, as it seems that Mera will have a bigger role in the story.
Amber Heard in her DC character Mera’s signature red hair (Credit: Warner Bros.)
Now that filming is underway, Amber Heard has posted a few behind-the-scenes photos over on Instagram. She also posted a video of herself twirling a staff and doing a stunt fight on Twitter.
The staff she is holding seems to be a prop version of Mera’s trident. This means we should be seeing Mera kick some butt in the sequel and possibly be involved in even more action sequences than she was before.
Notably, Amber Heard’s Twitter replies are locked so that only people she follows can reply to things she posts. This is likely because she was getting bombarded with people calling for her to quit the industry and be kicked off of the movie.
Director James Wan and his much taller wife Ingrid Bisu arrive for the Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Aquaman” held at TCL Chinese Theatre on December 12, 2018, in Hollywood, California (Credit: DFree / Shutterstock)
If her social media is any indicator, she is definitely taking the training for the role very seriously.
Funnily enough, Jason Mamoa recently admitted on The Jimmy Kimmel Show that he hadn’t been training much at all for his role and that he hated going to the gym!
How did Amber Heard get the role of Queen Mera?
In 2016, Amber Heard was officially announced to play Mera in the DC Cinematic Extended Universe. Before Heard was confirmed, Maggie Q, Ronda Rousey, and Debbie Gibson were considered for the role.
In 2017, before being cast as the Atlantean queen, she starred in the indie comedy I Do… Until I Don’t.
Amber Heard flaunts her cleavage in a sequin Donna Karan gown at Art Of Elysium’s 5th Annual Heaven Gala at Union Station on January 14, 2012, in Los Angeles, California (Credit: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock)
Interestingly enough, Amber Heard was almost in a different superhero movie. She was considered for the role of Mystique in 2011’s Xmen: First Class.
All controversies aside, there are those who thought Amber Heard did make a good Queen Mera. And, Amber Heard did get nominated at the Saturn Awards for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Aquaman. At the same time, there are fans who felt that her performance was rather forgettable.
A few fun facts about Aquaman and Mera
Jason Mamoa and Amber Heard apparently had a very interesting relationship on set. In an interview with Good Morning America, Heard said that Mamoa would rip out pages of books she was reading so that she would pay more attention to him.
She was constantly reading in between takes and even made a book bag out of green screen material so that she could have her books close by during green-screened visual effects shots.
Some fans have blamed Amber Heard for ending her co-star Jason Mamoa’s marriage with Lisa Bonet (Credit: Warner Bros.)
The character of Mera has a few differences between her Justice League appearance and her Aquaman appearance. In both cuts of Justice League, Mera’s hair is a dull red, but in Aquaman, it’s much brighter and distinct. Maybe Mera had a little more time to hit up the hair salon after the events of Justice League.
James Wan specified that Aquaman (2018) takes place after Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021). Not everything quite matches up between the two, though.
In the Snyder Cut, Mera reveals that her father died in the war, but her father King Nereus is clearly alive in Aquaman. Another difference is that Mera mentions in Aquaman that she’s never been to the surface. This contradicts her being in a village on land in the Snyder cut of Justice League.
Amber Heard in a Fendi suit at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 8, 2020, at the pier in Santa Monica, California (Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock)
It will be interesting to see if Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom continues with the continuity that Zack Snyder set up, or if it will be forced to stick to the Joss Whedon version of Justice League as canon.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is set for release from Warner Bros. on March 17, 2023. Jason Mamoa, Dolph Lundgren, Patrick Wilson, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will also be reprising their roles in the sequel.
Pilou Asbaek from Game of Thrones has also signed on, but his role is currently unknown. The screenplay is written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Jason Momoa himself.
Amber Heard wears her curled hair down at the premiere of “Adderall Diaries” held on April 14, 2016, at the ArcLight Hollywood Theatre in Los Angeles (Credit: WENN)
In April 2016, Amber Heard attended the premiere of “The Adderall Diaries” held at ArcLight Hollywood Theatre in Los Angeles.
Johnny Depp’s much younger ex-girlfriend took a moment when she arrived at the photocall area to greet each and every single one of her fans before she even stepped into the theater.
Amber Heard wears a red Dion Lee dress on the red carpet (Credit: Apega / Adriana M. Barraza / WENN)
At the premiere, she donned yet another red ensemble after her Art of Elysium appearance, this time from designer Dion Lee.
Amber Heard’s feet in red velvet Jimmy Choo heels (Credit: WENN)
While most celebrities are in such a rush and only have time to accommodate a few fans, Amber didn’t seem rushed at all while she took her time with the group of fans outside.
Amber Heard and her “The Adderall Diaries” co-star James Franco posing for photos on the red carpet (Credit: WENN)
Amber signed autographs and took pictures with all of them before proceeding to the photocall area. What a sweetheart.
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