6 Directors For DC to Consider for ‘Aquaman’ Instead of Zack Snyder

By  · Published on December 8th, 2014

Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

It’s sort of a random point for us to be suggesting directors for the solo Aquaman movie, what with its confirmation being nearly two months old and its actual existence being almost four years away. But it needs to be done eventually, and I thought today a good time as a response to Jason Momoa’s comment at a Brazil comic book convention over the weekend that he wants Zack Snyder at the helm. It’s not that I really care if Snyder directed Aquaman, but I don’t see the assignment being very likely. He’s already done Man of Steel, is presently making Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and he’s set to take the reigns on at least the first Justice League movie. Warner Bros. and DC (and probably Snyder himself) has to prefer going with a bit more variety on this franchise. Like how they’ve already hired Michelle MacLaren for Wonder Woman.

As the first filmmaker on board besides Snyder, MacLaren is hopefully a sign that they’re out to shake things up with some other, perfect choices for their solo superhero movies. That’s not to say that a woman is making Wonder Woman so a fish should make Aquaman, but there are some quite appropriate human directors who should be considered for the gig. Obviously the best person for the job is James Cameron, but that’s just never going to happen, and it’s not just because of his fictional attachment to an Aquaman movie on Entourage. The following six names, one of whom has worked closely with Cameron, are sort of runners up yet any would be a more suitable choice than Snyder.

Touchstone Pictures

Ron Howard

First, here’s the prestige choice, an Oscar-winning director who isn’t too fancy to make a comic book movie. He hasn’t before, but he’s done worse with his “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and two “Da Vinci Code” adaptations. I’d love to see the return of the ’80s era Howard who made stuff like Willow, Cocoon and of course Splash, which itself was about a character who lived in the sea. Maybe he could talk Daryl Hannah into coming aboard for a cameo as Aquaman’s mom, Atlanna, especially if they preferably give the movie some sort of environmentalism theme. Bonus points go to him for his relevant next feature, In the Heart of the Sea, which is set on the ocean and is also being made at Warner Bros.


Louie Psihoyos

Another rather prestigious choice, but of a different sort. Psihoyos is also an Oscar-winning director but in the feature documentary category. His honored film, his first, is The Cove, through which he exposed the mass slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan. His follow-up, which premieres next month at Sundance, is called Racing Extinction, and it too tackles the issue of endangered marine life and similarly – and maybe more so – plays like an action thriller. Gathering a team of activists, scientists and a NASCAR driver to covertly take on real-life enemies like pollutants and black-market whale meat dealers is different than a superhero movie, for sure, but Psihoyos has already said, “it’s like The Avengers, but real.”

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution and Walden Media, LLC.

Steven Quale

Neither well-known nor a great filmmaker, Quale might currently be recognized by a few of you as the director of last summer’s very forgettable found-footage disaster movie Into the Storm. He also made Final Destination 5, which was only worth seeing for the ending. Before that, Quale co-directed the underwater documentary Aliens of the Deep with James Cameron, and earlier he was a production assistant on Cameron’s The Abyss then directed second unit shots for Titanic and Avatar, so he’s definitely got the technical skills down for aquatic and fantastical material. His next movie is also an underwater story. Titled The Lake, it’s about Navy SEALs investigating a sunken treasure.

Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

Wolfgang Petersen

If working on big movies set at sea is all we need for Aquaman, though, there’s also this more experienced and respected director, whose fitting features include Das Boot, The Perfect Storm and Poseidon. He’s also no stranger to fantasy material, yet it’s been a very long time since he helmed The NeverEnding Story. Just imagine Aquaman instead of Atreyu and a gigantic seahorse instead of Falkor and picture Atlantis resembling the sets from Petersen’s Troy. But all of it deep below the surface of the ocean.

Newmarket Films

Niki Caro

Here’s one way WB/DC can shake things up: every Justice League-related movie not helmed by Snyder should be directed by a woman. It’d definitely be funny given how little Snyder is regarded for his own depictions of women. Caro is maybe the best woman for Aquaman if only because she made a movie called Whale Rider that features a girl literally riding a whale. Also, a superhero movie has to be a step up from her feel-good Disney sports drama coming out next year, McFarland, USA. Speaking of that movie, she should get its star, Kevin Costner, to play Aquaman’s dad as a callback to Waterworld. Never mind that he was already Pa Ken in Man of Steel. Maybe he could play the father of all the Justice League heroes.

Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

Renny Harlin

Who are we kidding? Aquaman is going to be a fairly silly but (hopefully) fun superhero blockbuster and doesn’t need a major talent at the helm. Let’s just give it to Harlin, who has his share of relevant ocean-set movies, namely Cutthroat Island and Deep Blue Sea, the latter involving intelligent sharks – not unlike those who would could at least seem intelligent to a superhero with the power to talk to them. And who better to direct a DC movie than the guy who killed Nick Fury (aka Samuel L. Jackson) in the most awesome movie death of all time?

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.