Incredible 'Aquaman' Photo Teases High-stakes Family Feud, Director James Wan Explains

Aquaman is about two brothers fighting to lead Atlantis, but the latest photo from Warner Bros. (via Entertainment Weekly) proves the feud is about more than just legacy.

aquaman tidal wave james wan release date
Director James Wan explains this still from the "Aquaman" trailer. WB

A new still (a scene from the extended trailer, above) shows Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) standing in front of a dark blue tidal wave. Director James Wan's explanation of the photo suggests the feud is about two people who have different solutions for the same problem. Aquaman's brother, Orm, wants to declare war on the surface world for polluting the Seven Seas. Aquaman, who grew up on the surface, doesn't think that's the best solution.

"The context of that photo is basically the Atlantic coastline is being hit by tidal waves, and it's not actually an attack from Atlantis but a warning sign of what's to come," Wan explained. "It's basically a message from King Orm [Patrick Wilson], and he's throwing our warships and waste back onto the land."

For the most part, the people of the Seven Seas have isolated themselves from the surface. Aquaman's arrival will likely prompt tension between the old traditions and the new.

In a Thursday post on the DC Comics blog, Wan elaborated about the underwater worlds and seven kingdoms.

"[There are] a handful of the kingdoms where they look more like normal humans—like you and I. But then there are other kingdoms. You've seen in the trailer that there's one where they're all merpeople. Then there's another kingdom, the Brine Kingdom, where they're basically all giant crustaceans. They're big crab men and women. I thought it would be really fun to lean into that. Then, of course, the other kingdom is the Trench, which are these monsters."

Wan said his take on Aquaman was "heavily" inspired by what Geoff Johns did for the New 52, but he took a lot of that mythology and played with it.

"Even though Atlantis is now a civilization under water that has been around for a long time—hundreds of years—they're very technologically advanced. Socially, they're very advanced. Yet in other ways, they're somewhat archaic. They still have a [monarchy] that they're very true to. They have a very rigid way of looking at things."

While the extended trailer seemingly revealed a lot of plot and action footage, Wan promised that what was out there has "barely scratched the surface. For example, that long rooftop fight sequence.

"That's the crazy thing is that one long take shot that everybody seems excited about in the trailer, that's only half the shot," Wan told EW. "And it doesn't have the context of how it comes to play. So hopefully in the actual movie it's more enjoyable, because you'll have context."

Aquaman arrives Dec. 21.