Atlantis won’t be the only underwater city featured in Aquaman 2. The superhero sequel (officially titled Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom) began filming Monday, and director James Wan celebrated the start of production with a behind-the-scenes image from one of the film’s sets.
The icy set itself is worth speculating about, but it’s the Aquaman 2 clapboard included in the image that has DCEU fans theorizing. Specifically, the film’s production title may hold the key to not only its titular “lost kingdom” but also the identity of its surprise villain.
Our First Look — As seen in James Wan’s Instagram post from Monday, the production title for Aquaman 2 appears to be Necrus. That’s the same name as a domed underwater city from the DC comics — one that has previously gone to war with Atlantis.
In the comics, Necrus is ruled by a tyrannical leader known as Mongo, who harbors intense hatred for all “surface dwellers” and believes they should not be allowed to exist beneath the sea surface. He’s a fairly obscure DC comics villain, and Necrus isn’t all that notable, but Wan’s set photo suggests that they’ll both appear in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
Welcome to Necrus — Necrus first appeared in the comics in 1966’s Aquaman #30. The militaristic underwater city is also referred to as “The Black City,” and, weirdly, isn’t tied to one specific location. Instead, Necrus only exists in certain places for very brief periods of time before disappearing and reappearing somewhere else. It’s never found in the same place more than once because — get ready for this — its existence on the material plane is actually tied to an alien satellite that only occasionally finds its way into Earth’s orbit.
Given its unstable existence, it makes sense that the “lost kingdom” referred to by this sequel’s title could be Necrus.
Now, there’s no telling if Necrus’ inclusion in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom means that Mongo will appear, but it certainly opens the door for that to happen. The character’s desire to kill any humans who enter the sea would make him an interesting antagonist for Momoa’s Aquaman, and as the ruler of another underwater city he’d function as a legitimate threat to Atlantis and its citizens.
It’s also worth noting that Warner Bros. has yet to confirm which character Game of Thrones star Pilou Asbæk is portraying in the film. Could he be playing Mongo? It certainly seems possible.
The Inverse Analysis — Plot details for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom are being kept under wraps, which means all of this is speculation for the time being. That said, Wan’s use of Necrus as Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’s production title does feel purposeful, especially given the film’s official title, and there’s no reason to believe the obscure city won’t show up in Lost Kingdom.
Whether that means Mongo will emerge as one of the film’s main villains remains to be seen. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Black Manta is set to appear in the sequel and is expected to play a large role, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a villain like Mongo as well.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom swims into theaters on December 16, 2022.