News about popular movies usually comes with a certain amount of fanfare. When the cast or crew of blockbuster franchises share updates, it generates buzz, excitement, and anticipation. But, a recent announcement from the director of Warner Bros. DC Extended Universe (DCEU) film Aquaman sees fans calling for one of its actors to be fired.
It seems some fans still want actress Amber Heard — who stars as the superhero Mera alongside Jason Mamoa’s titular character — to be released from the DC production in the wake of her’s and ex-husband, Johnny Depp’s, ongoing legal battle.
Aquaman opened in cinemas in 2018 and became a surprising box office hit. The DC film released in the aftermath of the franchise’s mixed response to its previous movies. Aquaman followed on from Gal Gadot‘s Wonder Woman (2017) in terms of success, with both proving the DCEU wasn’t completely redundant — Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016), and Joss Whedon’s Justice League (2017) received negative to lukewarm responses. Aquaman in fact went on to score over $1 billion at the worldwide box office.
The ocean-centered movie saw Mamoa reprise his Justice League role as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, with Heard returning as Mera. The cast featured a slate of Hollywood talent, such as Nicole Kidman as Atlanna, Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko, and Patrick Wilson as Orm Marius. The sequel was confirmed in January 2019 and up until now, the title of the follow-up movie was not yet announced.
DCEU returned to the small screen this year following Zack Snyder’s release of Justice League. The director left the production due to personal issues, leading to Whedon taking over. With fans calling for Warner Bros. to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut, his version of the massive DC team-up — Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2020), or commonly referred to as the “Snyder Cut” — was released on HBO Max.
When it comes to Aquaman, it is director James Wan who is once again back at the helm of the aquatic superhero movie, and just last night he shared an Instagram photo revealing the long-awaited title of the next feature film, along with an ominous message. Sharing the information regarding the upcoming Aquaman sequel, Wan said:
The tide is rising.
From Wan’s image, it is revealed that Aquaman 2 will be called Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. While this news should be exciting, many fans think Warner Bros. should address their relationship with Heard following the court controversy, calling the movie studio to #FireAmberHeard, a hashtag that has continued to trend off and on.
Taking to Twitter, where the Aquaman actress was trending, the hashtag gained steam.
Twitter user, Robbie K. (@RobinnKnowles), said:
As much as I would love to watch Aquaman 2, they are yet to fire Amber Heard, so I’ll be refusing to watch it until then #AquamanAndTheLostKingdom #Aquaman #JusticeForJohnnyDepp
— Robbie Knowles (@RobinnKnowles) June 11, 2021
Another comment from @BatWilson2 echoed the trending plea for Heard to be fired.
I’m not gonna watch it, if Amber Heard is in the movie #FireAmberHeard
— ☢ BatWilson ☢ (@BatWilson2) June 11, 2021
A tweet from Dustin (@DustinTheCritic) pointed out that the film is seemingly being filmed with Heard still attached.
Well they’re filming Aquaman 2 and they still haven’t fired Amber Heard sooooo #fireamberheard
Well they're filming Aquaman 2 and they still haven't fired Amber Heard sooooo#fireamberheard
— Dustin (He/Him) (@DustinTheCritic) June 10, 2021
The sentiments towards Heard come from the events of hers and Depp’s highly publicized legal battle. The two married in 2015 with Heard filing for divorce a year later. Heard also filed for a restraining order on the Pirates of the Caribbean actor allegedly due to incidents of domestic abuse throughout their relationship.
Since then, Depp has taken out two libel cases — one to The Sun newspaper and its parent company, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and the other to Heard herself. The former legal battle saw Depp go against the UK publication group after The Sun called him a “wife-beater”. The libel lawsuit came to a head in July 2020 with Depp losing his case against NGN. He subsequently lost his appeal this year to challenge the result, which potentially means he’s likely out of the Pirates franchise for good.
In 2018, Heard published an OpEd in The Washington Post which called out Depp’s alleged abusive actions towards her. Depp condemned Heard’s article and the defamation lawsuit is expected in court in 2022. Most recently, new evidence has come to light that seemingly contradicts Heard’s allegations — this led fans to trend #JusticeForJohnnyDepp on social media.
The Heard vs. Depp legal battle is one of the biggest, most controversial, and highly publicized trials in recent times, and it is for sure far from over. #FireAmberHeard trending is likely to stem from the fact that Warner Bros. also owns the Harry Potter franchise. There has also been a growing online petition that seeks Heard’s firing.
As we know, last year Warner Bros. called for Depp to resign from his role as the evil wizard, Gellert Grindelwald in JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise, with Mads Mikkelsen taking over the character. These events sparked controversy surrounding the studio’s commitment to keeping Heard onboard for the DCEU, despite Depp’s allegation that he was the victim of domestic violence from the other party.
As of right now, Heard is still attached to Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and Warner Bros. has not commented on her status in the DC movie.
What are your thoughts on the new title for the Aquaman sequel?