Even before Warner Bros started making the upcoming Aquaman sequel, they greenlit a spinoff film called The Trench, which was supposedly going to be about the monstrous underwater creatures that appeared in one of the film’s action sequences and attacked Jason Momoa’s Justice Leaguer.

It seemed like a strange concept for a DC Comics movie; the Trench critters were barely in Aquaman, and unless you were turning the concept into a straight horror film, they really wouldn’t support an entire story. (Here was their big scene in Aquaman.)

It wasn’t hugely surprising when Warner Bros. decided to cancel the project early this year. But now it seems as if The Trench title wasn’t the entire story. In a recent post on his Instagram, Aquaman director James Wan revealed that the Trench film was actually more than it appeared to be. “I’ll let you in on a secret”, Wan wrote, “the canceled Trench spin-off movie was really going to be a secret Black Manta movie.”

Suddenly The Trench makes a lot more sense, since it could have starred Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who played Black Manta in Aquaman. At least you will get to see Abdul-Mateen back as the character in the Aquaman sequel — and this time wearing a version of the character’s costume that’s much closer to his iconic comic book look than the one that appeared in the first Aquaman movie in 2018.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is scheduled to open in theaters on December 16, 2022.

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