They’ve teased Jason Momoa in fishscale leggings for far too long and finally, Aquaman is here. Let me put this into perspective here – we first saw Momoa as Aquaman in Batman v Superman in 2016. In which he was cast for the role in 2014. That’s…quite a long time to wait for the king of Atlantis to ascend (or descend) to his throne, even when you take his starring role in last year’s Justice League movie into account.
But we have it now and it wouldn’t be a superhero movie without some fish eggs, I mean Easter Eggs – which Aquaman is packed absolutely to the gills with. Let’s dive in.
By Brightest Day, In Blackest Night
Green Lantern hasn’t been confirmed for Justice League… yet. But there are hints of Hal Jordan in Aquaman. Dr. Stephen Shin has plenty of newspaper clippings lining the walls of his workspace, spreading the reports of a mysterious Aquaman across the globe. But ignore the headlines, and notice that one of the newspapers is the daily news for Coast City, home of Hal Jordan. We won’t hold our breath, but seeing Coast City added into the DCEU is a thrill no matter what.
You Can’t Shoot A Ghost
The Conjuring is arguably one of director James Wan’s best films, and while Aquaman deviates from his signature horror genre he does manage to drop in an Egg for it. The doll Annabelle that terrorised the family (and me) is found towards the beginning of the movie. It’s very brief, but she makes a cameo on the ocean floor, in a scene where Arthur Curry and Mera are entering her ship, about to embark on a mission. It happens relatively early in the film — not during the heroic third act. It’s subtle, and it’s coy, but she’s there.
Topo The Octopus
Since even modern fans of the Aquaman comics, especially those familiar with Geoff Johns‘ run (which has clearly inspired Wan’s movie version) may be totally oblivious to the proud, ridiculous tradition of Topo the Octopus, allow us to explain. The smarter-than-average Cephalopod debuted way back in Adventure Comics #229 in 1965, as the first named octopus to assist Arthur Curry.
At the time he was just one of a few sea creatures Aquaman was training up as a sidekick, but Topo’s willingness to learn (music) soon gave him the edge. While he isn’t Arthur‘s pet just yet, Topo appears pounding drums to set the mood for Arthur and Orm‘s ring of fire battle.
Showing Love For Lovecraft
When Atlanna and Tom share their first cups of tea, one of the movie’s most sly Easter Eggs is delivered, but viewers will need to look below the snowglobe depicting the lighthouse to see it. The globe sits atop H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror, a collection of short stories by the famed mind behind the Cthulu Mythos.
The titular story is itself a tale of a hated son, born of two different species, albeit far more eerie than Arthur. But with the mention of Lovecraft, the emergence of the colossal Karathen in the film’s final act shouldn’t have been a surprise at all.
Aquaman barely mentions any of the other Justice League members. (A stark contrast to MCU’s Avengers) as he does “not work or play well with others”. The only time he does is when pointing out that he “defeated Steppenwolf and saved Atlantis”. This is the only time a DC character outside the movie itself is mentioned btw.
Trident Cover Shot
Once Arthur has proven himself worthy – first to the Karathen, then to late King Atlan himself, he pulls the trident free, raising it before him. But it’s only when he draws the trident in front of his face, and peers through the spaces between its points that he gains his connection to all sea life. Later during the final battle, Arthur once again draws the trident before him as a means to seemingly channel his power.
The image of Arthur with the trident in front of his face is an unforgettable one, pulled straight from the comics. It’s appeared more than once, but most recently formed the cover of Aquaman#30, drawn by artist Stepan Sejic.
If you grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons (you know not just streaming everything) then you might remember Super Friends. Basically a very campy version of Justice League with Aquaman as the brunt of pretty much all the jokes. Go check out those memes it’s hilarious. Chief among the hilarity his ability to water ski on the backs of small fish, or ride proudly into battle… on a giant seahorse.
While I still can’t unsee the orange-suited fish nerd from my childhood, Aquaman puts on a good show of writing those wrongs. In Arthur’s fight against Orm Arthur sets his sights on the last stigma – mounting a massive seahorse to make his final charge against his half-brother.
The unfamiliar will spot the show playing on Tom Curry’s television set when the power to his lighthouse returns, he was promoting Queen Atlanna to view it as a threat and hurl her quindent straight through it. The similarities between Aquaman’s underwater intrigue and that of Stingray is all that needs be said to make this choice a delight for fans. The show details the conflict between the World Aquanaut Security Patrol and the evil underwater kingdom of Titanica.
Stingray actually features multiple aquatic kingdoms – just like Aquaman – as well as a mysterious underwater princess, Marina, who has a passing resemblance to Nicole Kidman’s Queen Atlanna.
Murk, Guard of Atlantis
The version of Murk, the top guard of Atlantis seen in the movie is quite different from the version in the comics. On the printed page, he’s a massive, hulking brawler with a battle-scarred face and a metal harpoon for an arm. In the film, he’s played by Ludi Lin, and taken in a different direction. However, his fight with Mera in Sicily does leave a serious mark.
Viewers might not notice the moment that Mera slices clean through his arm, but they’ll surely notice the stump being healed over by the Atlantean armour’s inner liquid. Making the movie Murk one step closer to his comic book counterpart.
The discovery of a hidden sea and a prehistoric oasis concealed at the centre of the world may be one massive homage to Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, or even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World – but there is also a DC Comics equivalent to consider. And it’s one with a name that couldn’t be easier to remember: Dinosaur Island.
The island lost to time and the outside world has been a mainstay of the stranger side of the DC Universe for years. Did fans ever expect to see it adapted to the DCEU? Of course not. Now, here’s hoping that the dinosaurs are actually left alone in this version of the tale.