Jason Momoa's 'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' production team have apparently come a long way before it will finally arrive in theaters on December 20, cutting Ben Affleck's Batman cameo in the process. According to a new report, the James Wan-directed pic has gone through three rounds of reshoots and held several test screenings, which were described as "uninspiring," under three regimes at Warner Bros. The timing of the first two reshoots was not clear, but they reportedly took place between the summer of 2022 and early 2023, reports aceshowbiz.com.
Filming originally wrapped in January 2022 but by summer, Warners film boss Toby Emmerich was out and DC Films head Walter Hamada soon followed. The movie was in the middle of post-production and beginning test screenings.
According to The Hollywood Report, after one round of test screenings, new Warners film bosses Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy got involved until Discovery CEO David Zaslav could find a permanent DC boss to replace Hamada.
Abdy reportedly was very involved in the editing of one cut, but after that version tested, it scored lower than the previous version that led to another round of reshoots. It's unclear what the problems were, but one insider said the issue of story clarity has been an ongoing concern.
The third round of reshoots took place in mid-June in New Zealand, with Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson among the stars returning to the set.
Also at issue with the film is Batman. Hamada wanted Michael Keaton's version of the character to be akin to Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury in the MCU, but shifting release dates changed the plans. At one point, 'The Lost Kingdom' was scheduled to be released several months before Keaton's return in 'The Flash'.
So Affleck was brought in during reshoots in July 2022 to replace a scene Keaton shot. Just a few months later, James Gunn and Peter Safran were named as the new heads of the newly-rebranded DC Studios.
The latest cut of 'The Lost Kingdom' does not feature either Keaton or Affleck as Batman with sources noting that Gunn and Safran don't want to promote characters from a previous movie universe that won't "come to fruition." Describing the whole process, one source said: "It was pretty chaotic."
More test screenings took place in February and April of this year, with filmmakers feeling "in the dumps" over the seemingly never-ending post-production process. However, things are said to be looking up with the latest reshoots.