Amber Heard will be in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Despite a longstanding rumor that Amber, 37, would be scrubbed from the movie after losing the high-profile defamation trial with her ex, Johnny Depp, Amber appeared in the film’s trailer shown at CinemaCon. Multiple outlets confirmed Amber made a brief appearance in the preview, with Insider reporting that there are two brief shots of Amber’s character, Mera, doing battle underwater.
James Wan, the director behind the 2018 Aquaman sequel, describes this new film as an “action-adventure story with a really fun bromance between Arthur (Jason Momoa) and Orm (Patrick Wilson). “Orm was a villain the first time around, but this time Arthur needs him.” The film features Aquaman’s longtime archnemesis, Black Manta (Yayah Abdul-Mateen), as the main antagonist.
Amber’s appearance in a trailer contradicts reports that she would be recast in the sequel. “The rumor mill continues as it has from day one — inaccurate, insensitive, and slightly insane,” Amber’s rep told Insider following the claims that Warner Bros. had decided to recast her after a screen test of the sequel.
While on the stand in her defamation trial, Amber claimed that her role was heavily reduced due to her allegations against Johnny Depp, 59. “They released me from my contract,” she said, per Insider. “I fought to stay in it, and they kept me in it. I just don’t know how much I’m in, actually, of the final cut. As I said, I don’t know if I will even be in the final cut or how much I will be. It was difficult to stay in the movie. I was given a script and then given new versions of the script that had taken away scenes that had action in it that depicted my character and another character — without giving any spoilers away — two characters fighting with one another. They basically took a bunch out of my role. They just removed a bunch out.”
Walter Hamada, the then-head of DC Films, was called in to testify during the court. He claimed that “the size of the role in the film that she has was determined in the early development of the script,” per The Independent.
Amber’s involvement in the film has been a subject of controversy for comic fans and Depp stans. Those who sided with Depp during his battle with his ex-wife founded a Change.org petition to remove Heard from the Aquaman sequel. As of April 2023, it has 4.6 million signatures.
Though Depp lost his 2020 libel case against The Sun after the British publication called him a “wife-beater,” a jury ruled in his favor in 2022 after he sued Amber over a 2018 op-ed that she wrote for The Washington Post. Though Amber never referred to her ex-husband by name in the op-ed, she claimed she “became a public figure representing domestic abuse,” which was seemingly enough for Depp to successfully sue for defamation. Amber first appealed the $10 million decision but decided to settle in December 2022.