'The Trench' Will Take Place After 'Aquaman' (And How 'The Conjuring' Universe Is Inspiring DC Movies)

We won't get to see an Aquaman sequel until 2022, but we'll be returning to the world of the film much sooner thanks to The Trench. The horror-movie spin-off will open before Aquaman 2, and it will also be set after the events of the first Aquaman. When news of the spin-off broke, some assumed it might be a prequel focusing on how the citizens of The Trench turned into the Lovecraftian monsters seen in the first film, but that's officially not the case. Producer Peter Safran dropped this bit of Trench info this week, while also commenting on how The Conjuring Universe is inspiring the approach to future Aquaman films.

Just how is the Aquaman spin-off The Trench going to work? That remains a mystery. The monsters as-seen in Aquaman didn't talk much (or at all, really), so can they work in a movie of their own? Or will the film be about human characters, or other Atlanteans who come in contact with the aquatic nightmares? We'll have to wait for answers, but thanks to producer Peter Safran, we now know a bit more about the movie.

Speaking with THR, Safran said he expects the spin-off to hit theaters before Aquaman 2's 2022 release date, and that while Aquaman himself, nor Mera, will appear in the movie, it's definitely going to be set after the events of Aquaman.

"We always, even from the early concept art days, loved the idea of a Trench movie," Safran said. "Then, when audiences embraced it in the movie itself the way they did, particularly that ant farm shot where the camera follows the Trench [creatures] following Arthur and Mera down into the deep, we just knew that we had something very special there and we knew what that movie should be. And consequently, I suspect that that's one that will come out significantly before Aquaman 2."

The idea of taking elements introduced in one film and spinning them out further into new movies is old hat to Safran, as he's one of the producers of The Conjuring Universe. The first Conjuring film was helmed by Aquaman's James Wan, and has since inspired both sequels and spin-offs. Safran admits that for The Trench, and also future films, they're drawing on what they've learned with The Conjuring:

"We've definitely taken a page from our Conjuring playbook, which is: You've got the mothership, which is Aquaman, but there are so many great stories to tell within that universe of itself, that Atlantean universe."

Safran also added:

"We think that there's a great sequel and beyond to tell. We introduce seven kingdoms of Atlantis, right? James Wan knows the architecture, the armory, the military, the look, the feel, the general vibe of each of these kingdoms, and I'm sure that there will be an opportunity to explore them in some way later on."

This definitely sounds more promising than the direction DC and WB were previously taking, trying to tie all their different films together into one big cinematic universe, just like the MCU. This approach gives the world of each specific movie to breathe. And as The Conjuring franchise has proven, it can work well.