Amber Heard Completely Erased From New ‘Aquaman’

in DC, Movies

Amber Heard as Mera and Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry.

Credit: DC Studios

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023) might’ve made less than half of Aquaman’s (2018) box office earnings, but the DC Universe (DCU) film is taking streaming service Max by storm. But someone important is missing from every piece of advertising or promotional information about the DC Comics-inspired movie.

Despite amassing increasing public support since losing her defamation trial against ex-husband Johnny Depp, Amber Heard (Mera) is noticeably absent from Max ads featuring Aquaman 2. Inside the Magic counted two television spots that used the DCU film to encourage new Max subscriptions without including Heard. (These video ads aren’t available online, but they appear most similar to the short trailer below posted by Warner Bros. Pictures on YouTube).

She wasn’t just exiled from commercials. Despite having 15 to 20 minutes of screentime in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, Mera isn’t shown in movie stills, write-ups, or trailers on the Max app and website.

Aquaman/Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) looking distressed in 'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' footage
Credit: D.C. Studios

“Having failed to defeat Aquaman the first time, Black Manta will stop at nothing to avenge his father’s death and take Aquaman down once and for all,” HBO writes of the film on Max. “This time, Black Manta wields the power of the mythic Black Trident, unleashing an ancient and malevolent force. To end his reign of terror, Aquaman forges an unlikely alliance with his imprisoned brother, Orm. Setting aside their differences, they join forces to protect their kingdom and save the world from irreversible destruction.”

Warner Bros. stayed silent about Heard’s involvement in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in the months leading up to its theatrical release. Jason Momoa (Arthur Curry/Aquaman) publicly supported his co-star but did most promo interviews for the DC Universe film solo or alongside Patrick Wilson (Ocean Master).

Initial test screenings showed that DC Studios spent months agonizing over Heard’s screen time. Reports flip-flopped every other week. One day, Mera was removed from the film entirely; the next week, she was on screen constantly.

Heard’s legal team indicated that Warner Bros., DC Studios, and James Gunn reduced her involvement in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom because of her legal battle against Depp. In 2022, she said she wasn’t sure if editors would include her already-filmed scenes in the movie.

Jason Momoa in 'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom'
Credit: DC Studios

The conflict between Depp and Heard is complicated. Years after a judge in England found that it wasn’t incorrect for The U.K. Sun to call Depp a “wife-beater,” Depp won his U.S. defamation case against Heard. He sued his ex-wife after she penned an Op-Ed in The Washington Post calling herself a victim of domestic abuse. In the months since, many feminist organizations and activist groups publicly sided with Heard.

Warner Bros. denied these allegations, arguing that Mera was always intended to have a minor role in the Aquaman sequel. They simultaneously admitted under oath that they considered recasting Heard due to a lack of chemistry with Momoa.

Amber Heard as Mera
Credit: DC Studios

Did HBO purposely exclude Heard from Max advertisements? It could be argued that they didn’t have much to work with. During her 15-20 minutes on screen, Mera only has 11 significant spoken lines.

On the other hand, pre-release Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom trailers that barely included Heard sparked boycotts among Depp fans. Did HBO intentionally avoid the same fate?

What did you think of Jason Momoa and Amber Heard in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom? Share your opinion on the film with Inside the Magic in the comments.

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