The actress originated the role of Mera, Aquaman’s (Jason Momoa) love interest, in the 2018 movie. When the long-awaited sequel’s first trailer came out a couple of months ago, Aquaman referred to himself as a “husband” and a “father” — even though Heard only nabbed a few seconds of screen time.
In the most recent teaser, which was released earlier this week, Heard was completely cut out of all one minute and 30 seconds.
“Where tf is Mera, the movie is literally about his family and their newborn child and she’s barely there because they wanted to focus on ‘brotherhood,'” one social media user wrote on X, while another added, “They’re really tryna get people to see this by not putting Amber Heard in the trailer lmfao.”
Heard has been riddled with controversy ever since her highly-publicized trial with her ex-husband Johnny Depp, who claimed that she defamed him when she described herself as a “public figure” for domestic violence in a 2018 op-ed for the Washington Post. After a grueling six weeks on trial, a Virginia jury ruled in favor of Depp, granting him more than $10 million.
After the world watched Depp accuse Heard of domestic violence, a Change.org petition calling for her removal from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom circulated on the internet, garnering more than 4 million signatures.
The trial aside, sources claimed to Variety that Heard was nearly fired from the movie over her lack of chemistry with Momoa long before Depp filed the lawsuit. However, her ex-boyfriend Elon Musk allegedly sent a “scorched-earth letter to Warner Bros. threatening to burn the house down” if Heard wasn’t brought back for the sequel.
While Heard will likely be featured in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in some capacity, her role will be drastically reduced — which, according to director James Wan, is because she “wasn’t in [his] head as [he] was working on this movie.”
“This was always my plan,” Wan told Empire Magazine, per The Direct. “From the start, I pitched that the first film would be a Romancing The Stone-type thing — an action-adventure romantic comedy — while the second would be an outright buddy comedy. I wanted to do Tango & Cash!”
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will premiere in theaters on Dec. 22, 2023.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, help is available. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-799-7233, or text START to 88788.