As the President and CCO of DC Comics, Geoff Johns carries quite a lot of credibility when it comes to the company’s heroes — but there are some in particular where he is considered a true expert. In the modern era he’s written not only critically-acclaimed and beloved arcs for Green Lantern and The Flash, but he even did his part to try and completely change the public face of Aquaman. This is an important thing to consider when you recognize that he’s producing and co-writing director James Wan’s upcoming Aquaman movie — and during a special panel at San Diego Comic-Con he highlighted exactly what it is about the character that he finds fascinating. Said Johns,
Why is Aquaman interesting? I can tell you from my perspective, emotionally why it’s interesting is because his father was a human, his mother was Atlantean, and he thinks he’s a half-breed and he doesn’t belong in either world — the surface or the oceans or Atlantis. He kind of considers himself a man of no world. And it’s not really until he’s with Mera that he finds a place in life; and his brother, Orm, is full Atlantean, and it’s Arthur’s job, Aquaman’s arc was to bring the two worlds together.
In 2011, when DC Comics restarted their continuity with The New 52, Geoff Johns took over the Aquaman book, and essentially highlighted everything mentioned above in the character during his arc. The aquatic superhero spent years as a punchline, made fun of for his ability to “talk to fish” (something Johns pointed out he doesn’t actually do), but the comic book writer/executive did his part to reinvent Arthur Curry as an emotionally complex individual who both belongs to different worlds and at the same time belongs to neither.
Given Geoff Johns’ credits on the Aquaman movie, starring Jason Momoa, it was already assumed that the New 52 version of the character would be an important source of inspiration for the blockbuster — but Johns did his part to confirm that during his panel at Comic-Con. Discussing his role as the Chief Creative Officer at DC Comics and how it influences his work in other mediums, he explained that he has a strong idea of what he wants to see in terms of representation, and also that he wields an important amount of influence thanks to his resume. Said Johns,
I work with a lot of great people, but the whole thing is to craft and shape the story and tone to fit the character and celebrate the character, instead of deconstruct the character. You want to celebrate the character, because you have to really celebrate something and build it up to really make it into something that represents who that character truly is. And also, the fact that I’ve written all these comic books it gives me a lot of credibility coming into the room, because it’s hard to argue, sometimes. People can tell me what they think Aquaman is, but I wrote the book — literally — so it helps me.
Unfortunately, it’s still going to be a minute before we get to see the full extent of Geoff Johns’ influence over Aquaman, as the movie is still pretty far out. The production is currently rolling in Brisbane, Australia, and Warner Bros. has the blockbuster scheduled to hit theaters on December 21, 2018. That being said, we do fully expect a constant flow of updates about the film between now and then — especially because of the Warner Bros. presentation that is scheduled to go down at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday.