'Aquaman 2' Is Inspired By Mario Bava's 'Planet Of The Vampires'

Aquaman 2, AKA Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, is now filming, and director James Wan has shed some light on a sequel's primary source of inspiration. The filmmaker says that filmmaker Mario Bava's 1965 sci-fi horror movie Planet of the Vampires "heavily inspired" the upcoming Aquaman follow-up. Bava's film follows astronauts dealing with the undead on a planet called Aura. Does this mean Aquaman 2 will have Jason Momoa fighting off space vampires? No, probably not. But we can dream.

This seems to be a controversial opinion, but I believe Aquaman is the best DCEU movie. It's colorful, strange, funny, and features an octopus playing the drums. It has more life and energy than the majority of the DCEU, and I love the world-building that director James Wan takes great pains to highlight. Aquaman could've easily been a punchline, but in Wan's hands, it became something special.

With all that in mind, I can't wait for the sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. So I'm already in the tank for the film, but I'm even more excited following a recent interview with Wan. Speaking with Total Film, Wan revealed a surprising source for Aquaman 2.

"Aquaman 2 is very heavily inspired by Planet of the Vampires," the filmmaker said. "You can take the boy out of horror but you can never take the horror out the boy."

Planet of the Vampires was released in 1965, and hails from Italian filmmaker Mario Bava. Truth be told, it's not Bava's best work, but it's certainly full of bright colors and unique visuals, and I'm pretty sure that's what Wan is referring to here. Here's a trailer for reference.

Planet of the Vampires Trailer

In Planet of the Vampires, a team of astronauts lands on a volcanic planet and proceed to kill each other. Another team of astronauts also lands on the planet and investigates what happened. As it turns out, vampire-like aliens without bodies forced the first team to kill each other – and soon they've possessed the bodies of the dead in an attempt to get back to Earth. The film has influenced other works, including Ridley Scott's Alien – there's a giant skeleton in the movie that Alien screenwriter Dan O'Bannon admitted he "stole" (his word, not mine) for his script.

Wan elaborates on the Planet of the Vampires influence by explaining that Aquaman 2 is going to take viewers to new, weird places. "Well, the first movie took a lot of people by surprise, right?" he said:

"And that's partially because they were not familiar with the comic book, which deals in this very lurid, strange world. People were taken aback that I didn't throw all that stuff away and make a dark, heavy film. But I didn't feel that would have been right for it. So with the second film, I feel it will be easier for people to accept where we go because I've already laid the foundation."

Sounds great to me. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom opens on December 16, 2022.