- Black Manta’s origin story in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom may have been ruined by the MCU’s Namor storyline, as both involve rare and powerful metals.
- The potential connection between Black Manta’s secret Atlantean heritage and his rivalry with Aquaman may still be explored in the upcoming sequel.
- The alliance between Stephen Shin and Black Manta in the first Aquaman film hints at a possible plotline involving the death of Aquaman’s father, which could be flipped from the comics.
The MCU may have ruined one of the best origin ideas for Black Manta in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, David Hyde was transformed from a mercenary and pirate in the first Aquaman to a full-on supervillain as Black Manta, having forged a bitter rivalry with Arthur Curry’s Aquaman (Jason Momoa). Although there are additional elements to his origins that would be perfect for the upcoming sequel, the MCU may have beaten the DCU to the punch.
Releasing at the end of 2023, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will presumably pick up where the first film left off with Arthur Curry having become King of Atlantis and uniting the Seven Kingdoms. However, the upcoming sequel will also see Aquaman facing a dark and ancient threat, presumably this titular Lost Kingdom which may be Necrus, a disappearing kingdom from the comics also known as the Black City. While this idea could also connect to the hidden origins of Black Manta recently revealed in the comics, the MCU may have ruined that potential for David Hyde and the secret legacy he belongs to in the DC Universe.
Black Manta’s Ideal Origin Story Might Be Too Close To The MCU’s Namor
In the comics, Black Manta is secretly descended from a line of Atlanteans known as the Deserters, those who abandoned Atlantis before the kingdom went beneath the waves. Having only discovered this recently in the pages of DC Comics, the revelation was something Manta refused to entertain given his rivalry with Aquaman and hatred of Atlantis, at least until the evidence became irrefutable. Likewise, the Deserters used the extremely rare and valuable resources of both Orichalcum and Nth metal, both incredibly powerful with similar properties. Having received a store of Orichalcum, Manta recently forged his very own trident to rival the one made of Nth metal wielded by Aquaman.
Both metals would be smart to set up, especially as Nth metal has some major plot relevance for DC Comics given its ties to Hawkman as well as the Dark Universe storyline. That said, an Nth metal/Orichalcum storyline beginning in Aquaman 2 would be way too similar to what the MCU just did with Namor as seen in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Although Black Manta’s latent Atlantean DNA and secret origins would be the perfect vehicle, there would be too many comparisons to Namor and Talokan’s vibranium in the MCU. However, set photos have seen Manta wielding a black trident, so perhaps it’s already too late.
Why The DC Universe Should Still Use Black Manta’s Future Storyline Setups
That being said, there are other setups for Black Manta in the first Aquaman that will hopefully be paid off in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. For example, Stephen Shin’s alliance with Hyde as seen in Aquman’s post-credits scene hints that the plotline involving the death of Aquaman’s father Thomas may happen, albeit flipped as it was Thomas who was killed before Manta’s father Jesse in the comics, having been murdered by Aquaman who thought he was getting revenge on Manta. Likewise, perhaps Black Manta grappling with his secret Atlantean heritage could still happen in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom sans the connections to Orichalcum and Nth metal.