One of the biggest stories of 2022 involved the legal problems between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp. The promulgation was in favor of Depp, and Heard’s career in the world of Hollywood, including her breakout role as Mera in the ‘Aquaman’ franchise, was seemingly in trouble. Nevertheless, James Wan and the rest of the team opted not to recast Heard, seemingly suggesting that her role in ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ wasn’t going to be as big as it was in the first movie. So, did Amber Heard really have a reduced role in ‘Aquaman 2’?
Amber Heard’s legal problems and her ‘Aquaman’ role
When she first appeared as Mera in the ‘Justice League’ movie, Amber Heard seemingly landed a huge role that was going to catapult her into more roles. Of course, she eventually starred alongside Jason Momoa in ‘Aquaman,’ where she played an important role as Arthur Curry’s love interest and as the future queen of Atlantis. Her involvement in the movie made Aquaman’s success possible during the events of the story, eventually helping Arthur rise to the throne of Atlantis.
But Heard ran into legal problems involving her ex-husband, Johnny Depp. There were several legal troubles involving the former couple, but the gist of it all was related to how Heard made allegations that Depp abused her. Such allegations affected Depp’s own career, as he seemingly lost roles due to his marital problems with Heard. Countersuits were made, and 2022 saw the biggest legal story involving the former couple.
In what was one of the most covered storylines of 2022, the court ruled in favor of Johnny Depp, thus affecting Amber Heard’s credibility in Hollywood just when she was just rising as a star due to her big role in the first ‘Aquaman’ movie. It became apparent that Heard was going to have to recover from the fallout of the trial, as it was possible that she was going to have trouble landing roles as an actress.
So, what about her role in ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’? Despite the December 2023 release of the movie, ‘The Lost Kingdom’ actually started filming in the middle of June 2021 and concluded early in 2022, just before the outbreak of the trial involving Heard and Depp. Before production and filming began, producer Peter Safran said that they weren’t going to proceed with ‘Aquaman 2’ without Heard because he believed that the opinion of fans regarding the factual basis of her allegations toward Johnny Depp did not have any weight.
Nevertheless, Heard claimed that she had to fight her way into the sequel and even went as far as to say that there were revisions made to the script to decrease her role in the movie despite the fact that she had an important part in the first film.
Eventually, DC Films released a statement that Heard’s role was always going to be smaller in the sequel film regardless of the outcome of the trial between her and Depp. The reported reason was the head honchos of DC Films felt that Amber Heard and Jason Momoa lacked chemistry. Of course, this allowed the film to focus more on a “buddy comedy” adventure involving Aquaman and his younger brother, Orm.
Mera’s character was part and parcel of Aquaman’s journey
After the trial between Heard and Depp was ruled in favor of the latter, fans thought that Heard’s role in ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ was going to be very minimal. The trailer of the film even opted to decrease her exposure, suggesting that she wasn’t going to be a big part of a movie that focused on the relationship between Arthur and Orm.
Nevertheless, it turned out that Amber Heard’s involvement in the events of the film was actually big enough, even though she wasn’t the most important character in the storyline. In the movie, it was revealed that Arthur and Mera were raising a child together after they got married and became the new rulers of Atlantis. Mera was present in a lot of the different important parts of the film but was seemingly sidelined during the middle portion when she got injured after an encounter with Black Manta.
Mera’s injury allowed the movie’s storyline to focus more on Arthur and Orm as the brothers got to know one another during their journey together. The narrative shifted to the duo instead of giving more attention to Arthur’s relationship with his wife, although it was made clear that Aquaman deeply cared for Mera and was always ready to fight for her.
Eventually, Mera returned after making a full recovery. She played a pivotal role during the film’s climax when the Atlanteans went to war against the monsters of Necrus to prevent the return of Kordax, the Lost Kingdom’s evil ruler. Mera rescued Arthur a few times in the movie, especially in Aquaman’s final battle with Black Manta.
Mera’s role as a caring mother was also in full display when she decided to go with Arthur and the other Atlanteans to rescue Arthur Jr. from Black Manta, who wanted to kill the child to break the seal that imprisoned Kordax.
So, while the focus of the movie was on Arthur and Orm, Mera still had a somewhat important secondary role because her character was always going to be part and parcel of Aquaman’s storyline. Despite the backlash surrounding Amber Heard’s legal problems with Johnny Depp, her exposure in ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ wasn’t as small as some fans thought it was going to be.
Of course, we aren’t sure if this was the result of the Depp v. Heard trial or if it was the original plan, regardless of the court’s ruling. Whatever the case may be, Heard was sidelined in favor of Patrick Wilson’s Orm, who played to perfection his role as the second-most important character in the ‘Aquaman’ sequel.
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