After spending years trying to prove to fans that the Justice League’s undersea hero is more than just a friend to fish and easy punchline, DC is once again embracing Aquaman‘s nautical nonsense in HBO’s upcoming animated series Aquaman: King of Atlantis. The limited-run show follows Aquaman as he ascends the throne of Atlantis, inheriting not only a great deal of responsibility and power but a great mess left behind by former ruler Ocean Master. Luckily for Aquaman, he has two royal advisors around to, well, royally advise him: Vulko, the well-kempt scholar, and Mera, the magical warrior-princess.
Earlier today, IGN offered up a first look at Aquaman: King of Atlantis‘ premiere episode, in which Aquaman is coronated to minimal applause following him overthrowing Ocean Master. With animation that looks a bit Teen Titans Go! meets ThunderCats Roar! and a description claiming the show is a “playful reimagining” of an iconic DC storyline and promises “colorful animations, monstrous creatures, and thrilling battles,” its clear the animated series is pivoting sharply away from the Jason Momoa version of the character we’ve grown accustomed to in recent years. However, despite its appearance and goofy first four minutes, DC has admitted they’re trying not to lean too hard into making fun of the king of the sea.
“Because you can’t ignore that aspect of Aquaman’s history, we tried to take the cooler, more grounded Aquaman that is becoming the way people think of him and just put him in a sort of goofy sort of cartoony world and have him bristle at that a little bit,” Halpern-Graser told IGN. “Because he’s sort of a serious guy, and he doesn’t totally love how silly the world around him is. And he’s a little bit the audience’s point of view.”
In lieu of Momoa, Cooper Andrews (The Walking Dead) will be voicing Aquaman, with Gillian Jacobs (Community) portraying Mera, Thomas Lennon (Reno 911) as Vulko, and Dana Snyder (Jellystone!) voicing Ocean Master. Victor Courtright (ThunderCats Roar!) and Marly Halpern-Graser (Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) are serving as Aquaman: King of Atlantis‘ showrunners and co-executive producers, alongside producers James Wan (Aquaman, Malignant), Atomic Monster’s Michael Clear (Annabelle Comes Home), Rob Hackett (Swamp Thing), and Sam Register (Teen Titans Go!). The three-part mini-series will release new episodes weekly on HBO Max beginning on Thursday, Oct. 14.