The Massive Image

  • Aquaman went from being a joke to a box-office success along with his personal live-action film in 2018.
  • Aquaman’s struggles in media adaptation led to a failed TV present centered on a watered-down model. (No pun supposed)
  • The Aquaman TV present was scrapped as a consequence of community politics and price range issues.

For years, Aquaman was a joke. Simply because this character was innately foolish and had superpowers that didn’t revolve round killing folks, Aquaman grew to become a go-to supply for mockery. TV applications like The Massive Bang Concept and Household Man particularly have been relentless of their withering skewering of this basic superhero, a microcosm of the endlessly witty writing that permeated each reveals. Nevertheless, this ruler of the underwater kingdom had the final chortle in December 2018 when the character lastly obtained his personal solo live-action film. After years of Aquaman jokes and issues for the DC Prolonged Universe (save for the success of 2017’s Marvel Girl), Aquaman grew to become an enormous box-office success. Actually, this James Wan directorial effort was the greatest DC Comics adaptation in historical past on the worldwide field workplace.

All of the sudden, Aquaman was a popular culture icon and other people everywhere in the world have been enamored along with his mythos. Even when the Aquaman mockery was at all times overblown, there was no denying that, for years, Warner Bros. and its numerous divisions struggled to determine what to do with Aquaman in media exterior of comics. This character’s intrinsically maximalist sensibilities simply didn’t appear to suit with the default method to live-action DC properties previously. The difficulties of translating Aquaman to live-action mediums of storytelling have been encapsulated in a proposed TV present specializing in this aquatic superhero from the Smallville creators that by no means obtained previous the pilot stage.



A younger Clark Kent struggles to seek out his place on the planet as he learns to harness his alien powers for good and offers with the standard troubles of teenage life in Smallville, Kansas.

Launch Date
October 16, 2001

Alfred Gough, Miles Millar

Predominant Style


The CW

‘Reacher’s Alan Ritchson Performed Aquaman on ‘Smallville’

In a 2005 installment of the unique Smallville TV present, Alan Ritchson made a visitor look as Arthur, a grounded but recognizable model of Aquaman. The character proved fairly common on Smallville and would make three subsequent appearances on this system earlier than it wrapped up in Might 2011. Nevertheless, recent off that inaugural Arthur showcase, brass at Smallville community The WB started to get excited over the concept of including one other DC adaptation to its schedule. The plan now was to offer Aquaman his personal spin-off program. After years of being seen as too ridiculous for mainstream acceptance, Aquaman was about to swim into the highlight.

Frustratingly, although, the essential idea of the present was to strip away lots of the components that make Aquaman who he’s. This was partially due to the budgetary constraints of constructing a present on The WB/The CW, but it surely was principally because of the default “grounded” method to superheroes in 2000s media. In a Selection article asserting this system’s existence, producer Al Gough (a veteran of Smallville) confirmed that the present would by no means use the phrase “Aquaman” and the character’s superpower of speaking to fish would by no means be seen. Much more puzzling was the choice to ditch Ritchson from the manufacturing completely, regardless of how well-received he’d been in inhabiting the Arthur Curry position on Smallville. The workforce behind this Aquaman present wished to ship a wholly new imaginative and prescient of this character, which meant discovering a brand new main man to painting the moist superhero.

‘Smallville’s Justin Hartley Was Forged as Aquaman

Ultimately, Justin Hartley, who really performed Inexperienced Arrow for a number of seasons on Smallville, was set to play Aquaman, whereas Lou Diamond Phillips can be portraying this character’s dad. Different actors showing on this pilot included Denise Quiñones, Adrianne Palicki, and the one and solely Ving Rhames, the latter determine enjoying the mentor determine to Arthur Curry. The fundamental plot of the pilot episode established that this present would depict Aquaman in coaching, a younger man the world must battle off unthinkable underwater evils. Arthur Curry can be depicted because the “proper” of troublemaker (he will get in bother with the legislation…for unleashing dolphins from a marine park jail!) who’s fixated on determining the reality behind his mother, who was taken from him years in the past.


‘Smallville’ Reinvented the Superman & Lex Luthor Dynamic

There isn’t any Lex Luthor with out Superman, and vice versa.

The Aquaman pilot swam rapidly by manufacturing, with this episode capturing in Miami, Florida in March 2006, simply 4 months after the present was first introduced. Given all of the hype surrounding its sister present Smallville, the ambitions behind Aquaman have been grand, and the hope was that it might be a straightforward sequence pick-up for The CW. In any case, if one DC Comics superhero present had confirmed so profitable for the community, certainly a second one can be greeted with open arms. Nevertheless, in Might 2006, The CW introduced its slate of reveals for Fall 2006 and Aquaman was nowhere to be seen. The one remark about its future got here from then-President of Leisure for the community Daybreak Ostroff, who famous that Aquaman had the potential to launch through the mid-season. As weeks handed and no orders have been introduced for additional episodes, although, it grew to become clear that Aquaman was lifeless within the water.

Why Didn’t ‘Aquaman’ Go Ahead?

Justin Hartley as Arthur Curry
Picture by way of Warner Bros. Tv

Years after this pilot was shot, co-creator Miles Millar revealed to IGN {that a} key cause for Aquaman‘s demise was community politics. On the time of the pilot’s launch, Smallville‘s authentic house of The WB was remodeling into The CW. Community executives that had as soon as championed Arthur Curry getting a solo program have been now gone. Of their place was a brand new regime that had zero curiosity in superhero reveals. This shift in priorities led to Aquaman getting the boot regardless of seeming like such an ideal companion piece to the hit program Smallville. A brand new age was dawning for this community and that recent method didn’t have room for the king of the ocean.

In the meantime, retailers like Den of Geek have speculated that budgetary issues additionally doomed the present. It was by no means going to be low-cost to even understand a watered-down (no pun supposed) imaginative and prescient of Aquaman and his mythos. The CW nearly definitely took one have a look at the potential prices of this program and located it ill-suited for one of many smaller broadcast networks. On high of all the pieces else, the final notion of Aquaman as a punchline didn’t do the potential present any favors. When it got here to launching Smallville, advertising may trip on how beloved Superman was by folks everywhere in the world. Selling Aquaman would imply confronting every kind of mocking jokes and different issues.

Two years after the pilot’s dying, one other live-action model of Aquaman, this time portrayed by Santiago Cabrera, would additionally chunk the mud as soon as George Miller‘s superhero blockbuster Justice League: Mortal was canned. After these two high-profile properties went nowhere, any future live-action model of Aquaman (in movie or tv) remained on the again burner. Even the expansive ArrowVerse, which flipped The CW’s perspective on superhero reveals the wrong way up. Nonetheless, the story of this DC superhero does have a contented ending regarding all the cash the 2018 film Aquaman ended up accumulating. A personality that was all moist when it got here to CW programming circa. 2006 turned out to be a flood of leisure for moviegoers circa. 2018.

Smallville is offered to look at on Hulu within the U.S.

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