Aquaman was to suffer further indignities. He also showed up as the star of his own animated TV show, but less as a hero and more of a punchline. The Aquaman And Friends Action Hour found the titular hero hosting a terrible children's program. The show was only ever made available on Cartoon Network's Latin American website, for some reason.
That reason becomes clear pretty fast if you're brave enough to press play.
Has anyone ever considered making an actual Aquaman movie before now? Back in 2004, after Spider-Man and X-Men paved the way, there was talk about bringing Aquaman to the big screen. But rumor had it that the producers wanted to make a "goofy screwball comedy" because "he's such a stupid character."
So now DC has to turn a much-maligned character into the saving grace of their movie-verse ... which, when you think about it, is basically what Marvel once did. As we've discussed before, when it set out to build the MCU, Marvel had already sold off its A-list characters like Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. So they instead had to rehabilitate C-listers like Thor (previously a gag in Adventures In Babysitting) and Iron Man (who most people thought was a robot). So by screwing up Batman and Superman so badly, DC has accidentally stumbled upon their competitor's winning formula: They're forced to try to make good movies with less popular characters.
Even the screenwriters of Avengers: Infinity War, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, suggested that this very tactic would work better for DC. When asked how to mend the DCEU, Markus said: "I would look at what Marvel did out of necessity ... Go through the vast world and go, 'That guy' or 'That girl,' and go, 'Let's just make a really good movie and not a universe and see what happens.'" Making movies with less iconic characters also gives filmmakers more freedom, in that audiences bring less baggage of expectations with them. Like, it's hard to imagine fans being bummed out if it was Klarion the Witch Boy who snapped a villain's neck.
Early positive reactions seemingly confirm that strategy's success, with audiences comparing James Wan's Aquaman to a "Phase 1 MCU film." Probably because it's more interesting to have new characters revealed through their own origin stories than through a thumb drive Batman stumbles upon.
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