James Wan’s vision of The Trench, a horror spin-off could be something that becomes synonymous with the DC cinematic universe.
Warner Bros announced that it would be shelving horror whiz James Wan’s Aquaman spin-off project, The Trench. Citing reasons for a packed development timeline where the studio wants to give ample space to upcoming projects like Robert Pattinson’s Batman, we are not sure it’s exactly a good idea.
Fans of the DC universe remain divided on the publisher’s ability to adapt the material for the big screen – but one thing is for certain. Warner Bros, of which DC is now a subsidiary, has never really had a great track record of making sensible decisions when it comes to appeasing the fans. The latest in a long line of failed strategic decisions include hiring Joss Whedon to Marvelize Snyder’s Justice League.
Watch: The Trench Scene | Aquaman
The monumental loss suffered by the studio and disappointment expressed at Whedon’s vision gave rise to the trending #releasethesnydercut on Twitter. Snyder’s vision is now unanimously regarded as the superior of the two films. In another debacle, one of the most successful partnerships of Warner Bro’s and Christopher Nolan drew criticism from the celebrated director about the studio’s distribution decisions of his recent film, Tenet.
Riding Aquaman’s success
When Wan took the reigns of directing Aquaman, we were honestly sceptical of seeing what an underwater superhero movie would have looked like. It wasn’t just us, as Aquaman’s portrayal in popular media had been mostly comical till that point. But Wan’s Aquaman had slick production and slow-motion sequences have turned around critics and helped break the $1billion mark in revenue.
Given its success, The Trench should be a no-brainer that works on world-building beyond the Atlantean’s focus. Aquaman’s success within the DC verse has shown that there is a lot more subject matter left to tackle! With Marvel’s Phase 4 focusing on lesser-known ensembles like The Eternals, DC and Warner Bro’s could develop the darker side of its comic verse.
The Trench is a race of ferocious sea creatures that started off as humans.
Wan’s universe building
Wan is no rookie when it comes to elaborate storytelling or world-building for that matter. The Australian director, known for his first hit ‘Saw’ (which spawned several sequels and an upcoming spinoff Spiral), has also developed the Conjuring universe. That has seven movies to date, with three more in development. All movies combined have given a gross of over $1 billion to Warner Bros.
Given his experience of working on fairly low to mediocre budgets, Wan’s conviction to bring ‘The Trench’ to the silver screen shouldn’t be too difficult. Using Aquaman’s success as a barometer, the studio had initially also agreed to support Wan’s vision when the script was in development. The horror franchises he has helped developed to date, seem to have amassed a popular following.
With Wan’s directorial vision, horror movies are no longer limited to restricted late-night viewing, and his audience has embraced his storytelling with each new addition. Furthermore, Wan polished his directing chops as a horror director, before taking on big-budget action like Aquaman. His treatment of The Trench shouldn’t be too difficult a task, and as originally envisioned, would keep DC fans satiated by the time the second Aquaman is released.
DC expanding on its horror cannon
With the disaster that Whedon’s Justice League was, many have noted that the director’s unnecessary push to inject humour into the movie, backfired miserably. Fans will be quick to point out that Aquaman did have its funny moments – but it was clear that they weren’t forced, and it was only possible because of Jason Momoa‘s charm.
But Wan’s vision of a horror spin-off could be something that becomes synonymous with the DC cinematic universe. With Marvel clearly dominating on the comedy front in its movies, DC and by extension Warner Bros. should waste no time in exploring the darker side of its comic lore. This should be no trouble, given an association with one of its darker protagonists: Giving Wan the freedom to develop The Trench would also mean that DC lay claim to what Marvel hasn’t been able to do to date – a horror/superhero crossover. Although The Trench is envisioned more like a monster horror movie, it still takes place in the Aquaman universe. There is no saying of the potential of another cash-grabbing horror franchise, the likes of the Conjuring verse.
If nothing else to go by, Warner Bro’s should at least trust Wan’s instinct, which has thankfully been to listen to his test audience. Given his strategy, and a string of successes now in the action and superhero genres, Wan’s work is getting recognised by more and more cinemagoers. This should be reason enough to have his pet project given a thumbs up. Till then, we wait with bated breath to see what the studio decides!