James Wan Reveals The Trench Film Was Actually a Black Manta Project

In an era where it's nearly impossible to completely surprise moviegoers, James Wan consistently attempts to keep people on edge. We've seen the writer and director's work throughout the years on films like Insidious, The Conjuring, and more recently, the divisive yet original Malignant, making Wan a reputable name in cinema. After completely kicking ass with his superhero debut courtesy of DC's Aquaman, Wan was said to begin expanding his lore with a spin-off film about The Trench – as well as the upcoming Aquaman sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. 

Black Manta, New 6-Issue Series by Chuck Brown and Valentine De Landro
Black Manta Textless Character Poster. Copyright: © 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Initially met with excitement, there was some confusion from fans on social media at the time about why a Trench spin-off would get greenlit over another character story. Now, months after the film was canceled by DC in favor of projects like Batgirl, Blue Beetle, and other original stories, Wan addressed what could have been a secret film for an Aquaman character.

In response to a fan question on his Instagram page, Wan wrote, "I'll let you in on a secret, the canceled Trench spin-off movie was really going to be a secret Black Manta movie." This makes much more sense given the initial confusion that some had experienced – and could have been a spectacular film for DC to follow a different perspective outside of their standard superhero or comedic villain film.

Clearly, we won't actually be getting to see what a Black Manta film in our foreseeable future (now that it's said to be buried by WB) but with Aquaman getting a follow-up film that will include Black Manta once again, anything seems possible! What is your take on the idea of The Trench being a secret bait and switch film for Black Manta?

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom starring the returning cast of Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is set to be released in theaters starting on December 16, 2022.

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About Aedan Juvet

A self-proclaimed pop culture aficionado with a passion for all forms of storytelling. Likely to be found watching everything horror-related, or revisiting Buffy the Vampire Slayer. For pitches, email me at aedanjuvet@gmail.com.
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