Last week, Jason Momoa said that he couldn’t shoot Aquaman 2 because he (alongside thousands of Indigenous Hawaiians) is devoted to protesting the construction of a massive telescope atop a sacred mountain. The man who brought Khal Drago to life (and death) did insert some gallows humor into the situation (a claim that he “got run over by a bulldozer”). Given that the sequel won’t start production until 2020, it seemed unlikely that these protests would genuinely hurt Aquaman 2, so Warner Bros. probably wasn’t too concerned. However, Momoa might be more serious about setting Arthur Curry aside than previously imagined, given that he’s now pulled out of a scheduled Wizard World Comic-Con appearance while his Instagrammed presence near Hawaii’s tallest peak, Mauna Kea (on the Big Island), continues.
Indeed, Wizard World representative Jerry Milani issued a statement to confirm that Momoa has cancelled his Chicago stop of the tour that’s scheduled for August 22-25. The cancellation notice reads, “[D]ue to unforeseen personal circumstances, Jason Momoa will no longer attend the event.” The statement makes no clarification on the nature of these circumstances (nor has there been word about Momoa’s furture scheduled Wizard World dates), but on Monday morning and on Sunday, Momoa posted new photos to urge public support for his chosen cause.
View this post on Instagram
Pls support kīa’i for the @protectmaunakea movement. During this time, we are trying to unite both kānaka and Hawai’i born peoples alike to protect not only the mauna, but also our way of life and greatest natural resources in Hawaii as a whole. We feel that our movement has successfully united all aspects of Hawaiian culture with the exception of our traditional ocean practices – namely surfing, fishing, paddling, etc. This is where you come in. Pls be an inspiration and raise awareness amongst the general public and the corporate realm to promote the conservation of our ‘āina for our generation and future generations to come. Post your ocean photo and hashtag #SurfersForMaunaKea #maukatomakai #kukiaimauna ——————————- #surfersformaunakea #maukatomakai #kukiaimauna #surfers #dahui #HuiOHeeNalu #makaha #northshore #protectors
“Pls support kīa’i for the @protectmaunakea movement,” Momoa wrote. “During this time, we are trying to unite both kānaka and Hawai’i born peoples alike to protect not only the mauna, but also our way of life and greatest natural resources in Hawaii as a whole. We feel that our movement has successfully united all aspects of Hawaiian culture with the exception of our traditional ocean practices – namely surfing, ”
Momoa’s missing presence at the event will be palpable, given his popularity in the Aquaman role that has helped breathe fresh life into the DCEU, which is still recovering from Zack Snyder’s doom-and-gloom vibe. This is even the case despite the last-minute additions of Zachary Levi (Shazam!) and Jeff Goldblum (the Jurassic Park franchise, Thor: Ragnarok, and so on). These guys certainly do attract their own followings, but losing Khal Drago will be tough.
All for a solid cause, however. The (entirely peaceful) protests in question surround the construction of the the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on what Indigenous Hawaiians consider the most sacred site on Earth. Momoa’s been posting photos from the site for weeks while hoping to halt progress on the $1.4 billion project. The Rock even joined activists for a day ahead of his Hobbs and Shaw publicity blitz, but Momoa seems to be rooted in place until further notice. Over the weekend, the protests grew to include demonstrations (one attended by Democratic Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard) throughout the Hawaiian islands. At this time, TMT representatives insist that Mauna Kea would be the preferred location for the telescope, although they’re reportedly seeking permits to move to an alternate site in the Canary Islands.