Pitch Week: Aquaman Movie!

I really don’t care too much, nor do I know that much about Aquaman. He’s not one of my favorite heroes. He lives in a state of almost universal derision, except by his strange cult like following. I’m in the middle ground – Aquaman seems like a pretty cool guy. I wish I could have his powers to be honest. But the thing is where do you approach his story for an Aquaman movie. What is important?

My buddy BetaRayBob/Rob tossed up a movie pitch on Tumblr and I didn’t really feel a hook. Maybe it was that it was shorter than mine and had less definition but I also felt that it really lacked ideas behind the hero – like what is Aquaman for?

So here, I wanted a sort of All-American Aquaman. He’s like aquatic Captain America – he believes in the American dream and he has some Billy Batson happiness thrown in there. He believes in people. He can be naive at times. And it gives him a character arc and room to grow. He wants to be his own person, he thinks he isn’t ready to rule.

At the same time I wanted something bigger than him, a story not fully sparked by his arrival that is more believable. Using Bob’s suggestions I used Mera, Black Manta and Orm and set up a conflict.

Mera is somewhat undeveloped in here but I picture her as a sort of fanatic believer, not exactly burning down the heathens but she is firm in her belief that there is an infallible king who is supposed to rule Atlantis. She’s not really in love with Aquaman here, he’s still a child in her eyes and she’s been fighting this war for a while.

Black Manta, aka the guy who audiences are like – OH that guy from the Justice League/Super Friends, is a plant in the rebellion that I tentatively called the Lionfish. Lion – symbol of regalness, there are real terms I could use but I went with Lionfish. He’s the Boba Fett, the cool silent guy who gets some badass moments.

And then Orm is a bit Lex Luthor, he wants to rule Atlantis so bad that he is willing to ignore the signs against. He threw his dad in prison (reveal for the sequel, he hid his ceremony to accept the trident and he still plans on brutally ruling the Grand Jury and the people through fear – thus him controlling Black Manta). He’s a complex fella. So without further adieu, my Aquaman film pitch, part one of probably a trilogy.

So we start out the movie with a slideshow. Arthur Curry being raised by Tom Curry, his father who owns a small B&B in Dunwich, MA. It’s Arthur and his father, they travel a lot together, they generally have fun, Arthur is a kid who is raised to enjoy life as much as possible and to help others. They’re pretty close together and we finally get to Arthur’s 18th birthday party. He’s with friends (probably some cameo or setup for a sequel or something) and they’re drinking out by the ocean and Arthur reveals he can’t swim. His friends are surprised since he lives 10 minutes from the ocean and Arthur explains his dad just kept him away and he never did. His friends think he is bullshitting them so they toss him into the water and Arthur starts to flail around before sinking down – his friends are a bit drunk so they don’t believe him.

Arthur starts sinking and thinks that he died because he can breathe underwater and he hears voices that he doesn’t understand. Since he’s dead he starts exploring the ocean before coming up to see what else happened. While he was down there, his friends eventually called the coast guard to look for him along with his father. When the coast guard sees Arthur is fine, they tell of Arthur’s friends for drinking and Tom takes Arthur to a lighthouse he used to work at. The last summer year, Tom came across a woman in the ocean who was badly hurt. When he tried to take her out of the water she screamed in pain but she seemed better under the ocean so he lead her into the well in the lighthouse and waited for her to get better, giving her food and medicine since she told him to not tell others. Eventually she was able to communicate with him and due to the mental intimacy that they shared, they hooked up and eventually she got pregnant. She gave birth to Arthur but Atlanna make Tom promise to keep him away from the ocean until he was 18 and then she died. Tom, trying to honor her memory, kept Arthur from the water, and he planned to share everything with Arthur before he went out with friends. Arthur is excited to go back into the ocean and promises Tom that he’ll return once he’s found out more about his mother. Tom meanwhile goes back to the lighthouse and looks at a pendant she had left behind.

Arthur discovers that the voices he heard were fish and that he can communicate with them and other sea life and soon finds directions to Atlantis which is hidden in a deep sea crevice. Due to Arthur’s strange clothing and weird behavior though – he can’t really keep his thoughts to himself – he keeps asking about Atlanna, he is soon brought in before the Grand Jury, the democratically elected leaders of Atlantis. He tells his story about his mother and the Grand Jury freaks out and tosses him into jail for being an insurrectionist.

Once in jail, Arthur sits, talking to the other prisoners including an old man named Atlan, the former vizier of Atlantis who was thrown into jail for supporting the old monarchy who believes the true king should rule, but before he can talk more, Arthur is summoned by Orm.

Orm, the head of the Grand Jury, is puzzled by Arthur. Orm explains that he is the older son of Atlanna and therefore Arthur’s half brother – if Arthur is to be trusted about being the son of Atlanna. As Orm is abdicating the throne for the sake of starting a democracy, Athur has the right to take it but Arthur has no desire to rule over people he doesn’t know. Orm had been raised to be the King of Atlantis but after visiting the world above and seeing it’s ways, Orm believes it would be better to convert the Kingdom into a Democracy and so he began pushing for elections. Arthur promises that he has no reason to turn against the change of government and Orm welcomes in his brother with open arms.

Orm explains that Atlantis is under attack by royal supporters called The Lionfish. They’ve been attacking the country hoping that Orm will assume his rightful place as ruler but Orm resists to wield the Trident of the Neptune, pushing for democracy instead. As Orm shows Arthur through Atlantis, the people are fearful and turn to praising Orm and the Grand Jury to protect them from the Lionfish. Suddenly one of the Lionfish, Black Manta, attacks. Arthur is kidnapped by Black Manta and Orm swears revenge on Black Manta for stealing his brother.

Arthur wakes up in The Lionfish camp where he is being interrogated by Mera, the leader of the Lionfish. She explains that she still believes in Atlantis following the true ruler who can wield the Trident of Neptune and she believes Orm is trying to change the government because he cannot. Based on the rumor that Arthur is a possible heir, she kidnapped him and forced him to share what he knows. Arthur refuses to believe he might be the king, doesn’t want to be and believes that the democracy will work. Mera thinks he is just mad and stupid. Black Manta meanwhile threatens to destroy the members of the Grand Jury if they do not step down until the real king rises. Arthur, trying to be rational here, says it won’t help anyone if they keep resorting to threats and says and they just need to talk it out.

Arthur’s ability to communicate as an outsider to the situation without biases or prejudice starts to convince Mera and the other Lionfish that they need to try and talk again and Black Manta storms off.

Mera and the Lionfish along with Arthur return to Atlantis where he presents himself as a mediator between the people. Orm agrees to sit down for peace talks but in the midst of the conversation, Black Manta tries to kill Orm only for Aquaman to save his brother. Orm demands that the Lionfish be executed but Arthur tries to fight back along with Mera, who came packing heat, through the halls of the castle until he realizes he needs a weapon (he’s literally ducking behind statues and doors). Seeing a trident in a large empty room, Arthur grabs it and the Trident begins glowing. Mera remarks that it is the Trident of the Neptune, meaning that he is the one true king.

Orm sees this sign that Arthur is supposed to be the ruler and freaks out. He falls back and signals Black Manta to make another attack on Orm’s life to distract the guards and then to kill Arthur. Black Manta tries to obey, threatening to raise the amount of money Orm owes him, but Arthur easily defeats Black Manta and the guards stop attacking Mera and the Lionfish. Orm is full of calm fury at this point trying to go along but Arthur’s victory since Arthur still has no desire to rule. As a sign of peace, Arthur gives the trident to Orm and the power in it vanishes. The people are left seeing Orm’s true reason for wanting a democracy exposed. Arthur stops them though and says that listening to a spear is stupid and to try democracy.

Meanwhile the furious Black Manta, aware that his employers plans are falling through, starts setting off explosives around Atlantis, a secret emergency protocol he set up in case things went south. Arthur and Meta turn to start saving people while Orm and his close guards and Grand Jury members are left alone. Orm kills the other Grand Jury members and guards and allows Black Manta to escape saying “this is your payment for now” and Black Manta swears revenge on all of Atlantis before Orm has a “Oh shit, that was a bad idea” moment.

Arthur and Mera along with the rest of the guards and the remaining Lionfish are able to save the people of Atlantis and Arthur is declared a hero. They return to find a bleeding and beaten Orm, who claims Black Manta overpowered the guards and killed the other Grand Jury members leaving him as a messenger for his enmity against Atlantis.

Celebrating the victory, sort of, more the discovery of the lost prince of Atlantis, the people want to place him Arthur as the new leader, if not the king. Arthur declines saying that he doesn’t want that responsibility and suggests Mera and Orm, believing that anything they can come together on will be better for all of Atlantis. Arthur promises them all he will return sometime but he still needs to find out more about the world he is in and what his real goal is.

The sequel to the Aquaman movie sets up Arthur returning as he’s seen more of the world and him fighting with Orm and Mera over their views and how they want to lead. He and Mera end up falling in love and Orm decides to just kill Aquaman and see what happens by destroying everything, the land included.

The third one I have no idea but there would be Arthur dealing with being the actual King of Atlantis and probably dealing with the land and the country that used to be his home.

Luke Herr

Luke is a writer and an aspiring professional comic writer who is also the editor in chief of Nerdcenaries. He currently is working on a graphic novel called Prison Spaceship.