Here’s Why Vulko Isn’t in ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’

vulko aquaman 2
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The storyline of ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ actually allows us to see the return of most of the important characters introduced in the first movie. That means that some of the most familiar names and faces returned in the sequel, except for an important character who had a big impact on Arthur Curry’s life. We are talking about Willem Defoe’s Nuidis Vulko, who is noticeably absent in the sequel. So, why isn’t Vulko in Aquaman 2?

  • Article Breakdown:
  • Nuidis Vulko was the man who mentored Arthur Curry in secret ever since he was a child so that he could groom him for the throne of Atlantis.
  • However, he is noticeably absent in ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ because he has died off-screen.
  • In reality, actor Willem Defoe just couldn’t return to the sequel due to scheduling conflicts.

Vulko played an important role in Aquaman’s life

We know that there are a lot of important people in Arthur Curry’s life, and most of them played pivotal roles in turning him into the hero known as Aquaman. While his father, Thomas Curry, was responsible for raising him as a single father, there was another important figure in Arthur’s life since he was a child. This man is Nuidis Vulko, a prominent adviser for the Atlantean monarchs.

vulko and young arthur

Ever since Arthur was a child, Vulko has been there to serve as a mentor to him. He was the one who taught him what it meant to be an Atlantean. Vulko also trained Arthur to become a capable warrior while grooming him for the role of Atlantis. In that regard, it was clear that he played an essential role in Aquaman’s life.

In the first movie, Vulko was also the one responsible for helping Arthur claim the throne of Atlantis after he guided him to the location of the legendary Trident of Atlan, which was the most important symbol in the history of Atlantean kings. He was always one of the most prominent figures in the Atlantean political world because he mentored the monarchs and leaders of Atlantis, serving as chief counselor.

vulko and aquaman

It can be presumed that Vulko retained his role as chief counselor after Arthur ascended to the throne of Atlantis. Four years went by between the events of the two movies, and it is likely that Vulko was essential in helping Arthur’s early reign.

‘The Lost Kingdom’ killed Vulko off-screen

While it may be true that Vulko was one of the most important figures in Aquaman’s life, one of the most noticeable things in ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ was his absence. The sequel movie saw the return of most of the important characters in the first movie, including Atlanna, Black Manta, Orm, Thomas Curry, and even Mera. However, Vulko wasn’t in the movie’s events at all.

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There is a real-world explanation as to why Vulko couldn’t return in ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.’ However, the sequel movie was able to provide a good in-universe explanation regarding Vulko’s absence in the events of the film.

Five months went by between the opening scene and the main storyline of ‘The Lost Kingdom.’ During the opening scenes, David Kane, AKA Black Manta, goes on an expedition in Antarctica to look for Atlantean technology that could help him fix his power suit, which he believed was essential for his revenge quest against Aquaman.

Instead, Kane found a black trident that spoke to him and gave him immense power. The entity in the black trident, which was actually Kordax, guided his actions in the next five months, promising him the power to take revenge on Aquaman in exchange for freeing him from his prison. Kane started stealing orichalcum, a dangerous and volatile energy source, from Atlantean vaults in order to heat up the surface of the earth, causing the ice in Antarctica to melt.

Five months after Kane started stealing orichalcum, the Atlantean council summoned Aquaman for a meeting involving a plague that had been killing their citizens. This plague was the result of the rising temperatures and pollutants in the planet’s atmosphere, poisoning the waters and causing Atlanteans to go ill. The council believed that the ones responsible for this were the surface dwellers, whose activities on the surface increased greenhouse gasses.

Arthur tried to reason with the council to tell them that they could unveil themselves to the surface and find a peaceful way of working with them so that they could reverse the effects of human industrialization. Instead, the council rejected Aquaman’s proposal and even invoked Vulko’s death as a way of convincing Arthur that working with the humans wasn’t feasible.

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It turned out that the plague caused by the increasing pollution in the atmosphere was responsible for killing Vulko off-screen. The increasing pollution, however, was caused by the orichalcum that Black Manta stole, as this substance released immense amounts of greenhouse gasses.

manta 1

So, in a way, the movie was able to explain Vulko’s absence as Kane’s actions indirectly killed one of the most important figures in Aquaman’s life. In a later scene, Arthur and Thomas even discussed Vulko’s impact on his life as Aquaman thought that he failed his mentor when he struggled to act as the bridge between the surface.

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Of course, near the end of the movie, Arthur is able to finally pay tribute to his mentor when he decides to reveal Atlantis to the world and act as a true bridge between the humans and the Atlanteans, as that was always what Vulko wanted him to do when he groomed him to become the next king.

Willem Defoe wasn’t available for the sequel

‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ may have done a great job at explaining why Vulko wasn’t in the movie. But there is actually a good real-world reason for the absence of Aquaman’s mentor. Director James Wan explained:

“Willem is not in this one, no. Part of the reason was because his schedule did not work for us. But what that allowed me to do was expand on Atlanna’s role. Atlanna, in this one, ultimately becomes Arthur’s advisor. Because Arthur’s not from this world, she helps him better understand the world and the politics of how things work.”

So, in short, Vulko’s absence was caused by scheduling conflicts involving Willem Defoe, the actor playing the character. The director also noted that the mentorship role was passed on to Atlanna. From what we saw in the movie, Atlanna was a true advisor to Aquaman and even went on to become a catalyst for the successful reconciliation between Arthur and his younger brother Orm.

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