Last year it was rumored that Black Manta would be one of the main villains in James Wan's Aquaman. That has now been confirmed as the studio has cast Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in the role. That name probably doesn't ring a bell for many of you, but he's a talented young actor who starred in Netflix’s Baz Luhrmann series The Get Down. Nicole KIdman is also in early talks to play Aquaman's mother.
Abdul-Mateen beat out a bunch of other young actors gunning for the role. Wan and the studio obviously saw something in him that no one else had. He will join Jason Momoa, who is taking on the role of Aquaman; Amber Heard as Mera; Willem Defoe as Aquaman’s advisor, scientist Dr. Vulko; and Patrick Wilson, who will play Orm, a villain who is also Aquaman’s half-brother.
For those of you not familiar with Black Manta, he's like the Batman of the ocean. He has no superhuman powers or abilities. He has just developed several skills to near-perfection. Some of these skills include strength, stamina, agility, fighting, leadership, strategy, intelligence, and even mechanical engineering. He’s created several of his own vehicles and weaponry. He’s also incredibly wealthy thanks to all the money he's made through treasure hunting over the years.
He also wears a diving suit that allows him to survive in the water for long periods of time in extreme depths. Here are some additional details on his suit:
It insulates him against the cold and protects him from pressure changes. It is completely waterproof and bulletproof, and is so completely sealed that it cannot be entered even at the atomic level. It also grants him a level of superhuman strength and durability, allowing him to survive major traumatic injuries. It greatly increases his underwater mobility, primarily through the use of some sort of diver propulsion vehicle, and allows him to leap great heights when shooting out of water. It is also effective as a means of camouflage in dark water. He wears a distinctive manta-shaped helmet with two large eyes that allow for infrared and scope vision, as well as powerful optic blasts capable of hurting or killing metahumans. His helmet connects to an oxygen system that allows him to breathe underwater indefinitely. It also protects his head from trauma.
I like this character because I think he's got some interesting qualities, and I think Abdul-Mateen will be great in the role. The actor was actually one of the finalists to take on the role of Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo spin-off movie that he lost to Donald Glover. It's good to see that his talents still landed him a big role in a high-profile movie.
As for Aquaman's mother, her name is Atlanna, and she comes from royalty in the kingdom of Atlantis. She leaves Atlantis to be with a lighthouse keeper she falls in love with. Together they have Aquaman, who grows up to be a bridge between the two worlds of land and sea. Kidman's a great actress, and Warner Bros. would be lucky to get her if they can.