The DC Extended Universe has some slam dunks (Justice League!) and some real risks. I would put Aquaman in the latter category. Previously best known as the guy on Super Friends who talks to fish, and so goofy a hero he was the butt of an extended joke about dumb Hollywood movies on Entourage, the King of the Seven Seas will headline his own movie in 2018 after he gets a proper introduction in next year’s Justice League. (Showing up on Wonder Woman’s computer screen in Batman v Superman doesn’t count.)

There are reasons, though, that Aquaman could be great. The fact that the character isn’t as well known means there might be a little more wiggle room for creativity than other comic-book adaptations. And the film is being directed by James Wan, the guy behind The ConjuringSaw, and Furious 7, and he seems genuinely excited about taking this crazy character and bringing him to life onscreen (with the help of Jason Momoa, who’s playing the hero).

One reason to be less excited for Aquaman is the fact that the character doesn’t have a ton of memorable villains. One of the few with any name recognition is Black Manta, an aquatically-themed baddie with a ridiculously oversized underwater helmet with lasers that shoot out of the eyes. Maybe not surprisingly, TheWrap reports he’s going to be the guy squaring off with Momoa in Wan’s film.

The character, whose true identity was long a mystery, is typically portrayed as a victim of a rough childhood, who grew up hating Aquaman for one reason or another. (The most recently rebooted Manta despises him because he accidentally killed his father.) For many years, he was only seen with his signature helmet, which led to one of the all-time great reveals in comics history, when Manta revealed his face, and the reason why he’s called Black Manta.

DC Comics

Amazing. If this scene isn’t in the movie, I want my money back. Aquaman is currently scheduled to open in theaters on July 27th, 2018.

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