What’s Going On With Amber Heard In Aquaman 2?
9 mins read

What’s Going On With Amber Heard In Aquaman 2?


  • Amber Heard’s limited presence in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is seemingly due to various factors.
  • Director James Wan has confirmed that the focus of the sequel is on the relationship between Aquaman and his half-brother Orm, resulting in a reduced role for Queen Mera.
  • The turmoil behind the scenes that reportedly took place during the filming of the movie may have also played a part.



Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom features relatively little of Amber Heard as Mera, despite the character being the chief love interest of the titular hero Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa). This has likely created some confusion as to why she’s not more prominently featured and what her role might be in the DCEU sequel. However, there’s a collection of factors behind Heard hardly being seen in the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom cast.

In the first Aquaman movie from Warner Bros and DC Studios, Arthur Curry and Mera reunited after briefly interacting in 2017’s Justice League. Working together to stop Arthur’s half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) from conquering the surface world, Mera and Arthur went on a journey to recover the Trident of Atlan which Arthur used to unite the Seven Kingdoms as its new king. To that end, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom shows that Aquaman and Mera took their relationship further, even though Mera herself features relatively little in the final movie in the DCEU timeline.


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Amber Heard Was Almost Fired From Aquaman 2

According to sources who spoke to Variety, Amber Heard came close to being fired from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. This was reportedly unrelated to the then-ongoing Johnny Depp V. Amber Heard trial, and instead was due to a lack of chemistry between Jason Momoa and Heard, with the latter’s attorney being contacted about the studio deciding to drop his client for this reason. However, this would not come to fruition, supposedly because Heard’s former boyfriend Elon Musk had a lawyer compose a “scorched-earth letter to Warner Bros. threatening to burn the house down” if Heard was cut from the sequel.

Amber Heard Is Barely In Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom

Mera punching a window in the Aquaman 2 Trailer

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom first showed Arthur Curry in his new status quo as King of the Seven Kingdoms in its initial trailer, which also featured him as a new father with a newborn son – immediately raising questions as to how much Mera would be in the movie, given the story would seemingly be about their new family. Speculation that Mera would be having a far smaller role in the film was exacerbated by the fact that the character only featured in a single shot that’s easy to miss in this trailer, seen striking a window.

Upon the release of Aquaman 2, it was revealed that Mera’s overall screen time collectively made up around 20 minutes of the overall installment and included relatively few lines of dialogue. The diminished role Mera plays in the sequel stuck out to many, but had been explained far prior to the release of the final DCEU movie, both because news of the complicated production circumstances of Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom had been much reported on in the months prior, and because director James Wan himself had discussed why Mera was set to feature less in the overall plot.

Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom
‘s overall runtime is 2 hours and 4 minutes, meaning Mera’s screentime of 20 minutes would make up less than a seventh of the overall movie.


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Why Amber Heard’s Mera Has A Smaller Role In Aquaman 2’s Story

Amber Heard as Mera talking to Aquaman in aquaman

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’s director James Wan spoke about Amber Heard and her reduced role in the movie after speculation about the film began to mount. According to Wan himself, the DC sequel was always going to have a stronger focus on Aquaman and Orm joining forces as estranged brothers and former rivals, rather than Aquaman and Mera teaming as they did in the first movie. Having envisioned the first Aquaman film as “a romance action-adventure movie” for Arthur and Mera, Wan stated the sequel would be a “bromance” instead, as Arthur and Orm attempted to reconcile their differences to save the Seven Kingdoms.

Amber Heard’s Involvement In Aquaman 2 BTS Strife Explained

Mera in Aquaman standing on a dock

Behind the scenes reports add more context for what the behind the scenes Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom turmoil may have looked like. After the court fees were paid for the release of the notes from Amber Heard’s therapist that were submitted as part of the Depp v Heard trial, some of Heard’s perspective on the DC movie and its filming came to light.

Some of the most pertinent of these notes covered the idea that the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom set was a hostile environment, that Momoa was reportedly drunk on set and trying to get Heard fired, and that director James Wan grew frustrated with being unable to fully promote the movie due to the ongoing legal battle between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp taking place at that time.

It is worth noting that these notes do not prove any of these allegations definitively true, especially as DC spokespeople have released statements bringing them into contention – notably stating that “Jason Momoa conducted himself in a professional manner at all times on the set of ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.’”, and that “James is known for treating members of his cast and crew with the utmost respect and for fostering a positive, collaborative environment on set — the ‘Aquaman’ films were no exception.” However, what is clear from all of this is that the set of the Aquaman sequel saw considerable strife and complication, even if the specific details themselves cannot be clear to outside audiences at this time.

Did Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom’s Amber Heard Controversies Affect The Movie’s Release?

Mera dons her regal Atlantian apparal in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Both those who supported and derided Amber Heard took to social media to state they would be avoiding the movie in the lead up to Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom‘s release. This naturally raised the question of whether Aquaman 2‘s box office results and reviews being decidedly far less successful than the original were a reflection of this response.

However, the similarly lackluster responses to DCEU’s other 2023 movies – Shazam! Fury Of The Gods, The Flash, and Blue Beetle respectively – suggest that the sequel movie’s less than stellar results can be more closely attributed to a waning interest in the franchise from audiences who knew DC would be rebooting immediately after the film, combined with some apathy to the superhero genre itself. The fact the MCU’s two 2023 movies also saw lesser box office results additionally supports this idea, although the controversies surrounding Heard’s role in the movie and its prospective alterations certainly won’t have helped things.

Did The Johnny Depp v Amber Heard Case Affect Her Aquaman 2 Role?

Split image of Amber Heard and Johnny Depp in their court case

During her very public court battle with ex-husband Johnny Depp over allegations of abuse and defamation, Heard claimed her role as Mera in Aquaman 2 was significantly reduced by Warner Bros. in response. Despite the aforementioned comments from James Wan to the contrary, and testimony from DC Films president Walter Hamada citing a lack of chemistry with Momoa, Heard believed her role was a “very pared down version” of what it originally was.

Heard believed that multiple action scenes had been taken out of the final release, implying that it was the result of her ongoing court battle and the allegations being made by both her and Depp regarding each other’s alleged misconduct during their relationship. Actor Dolph Lundgren later also referenced believing there was “some kind of corporate decision that they try to limit Amber Heard“, supporting the idea that alterations were made to at least the script for the explicit purpose of minimizing Heard’s role, although he did not state whether he felt this was because of the legal trial itself or not.

Ultimately, though, it doesn’t seem as though the trial between Heard and Depp itself had much to do with Mera’s smaller role in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Not only should the comments from Wan and Hamada be taken into account, but it’s also worth noting that filming for the sequel wrapped in January 2022, three months before the beginning of Heard and Depp’s demotion trial. As such, it certainly looks as though Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was always going to have a shifted focus away from Mera long before the lawsuits.

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