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It was revealed that the actress would be returning to the DC franchise at CinemaCon 2023, which was held in Las Vegas earlier this week.
Although no public announcement was made about her role, visitors were shown an exclusive trailer of the upcoming film, Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom, in which she was briefly seen. She doesn’t have any dialogue in the trailer, however, her character is shown twice throughout the footage — including a scene of her in battle.
The actress first appeared in the role of Mera — the love interest of the title character, played by Jason Momoa — in the original 2008 film. Her role in the upcoming sequel was thrown into question in recent months though, following her highly-publicised lawsuit with ex-husband Johnny Depp.
The case – which was won by Depp last year – saw the Pirates Of The Caribbean actor awarded $10million (£8million) in compensatory damages and $5million (£4million) in punitive damages after he sued Heard for defamation.
This stemmed from a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post, where Heard wrote about being a survivor of domestic violence. While the piece did not explicitly name Depp, his lawyers argued that it falsely implied she was sexually and physically abused by him during their marriage.
Both actors experienced backlash during the lawsuit, and Heard openly stated that the defamation trial led to her nearly being kicked off the upcoming film. “I fought really hard to stay in the movie — they didn’t want to include me,” she said at the time (via UniLad).
“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,” she continued. “They basically took a bunch out of my role. They just removed a bunch.”
Additionally, rumours about her role in the film were heightened when an online campaign launched, petitioning for her to be removed from the upcoming movie entirely. Titled “Remove Amber Heard from Aquaman 2”, the petition was made on Change.Org, and received 4.6million signatures from people wanting the sequel to find a new actress to play Mera.
Following the release of the new trailer, fans online have had a mixed reaction to Heard’s return to the role.
“I speak for everyone when I say we will not be watching,” wrote one user after hearing the news. Another added: “Johnny Depp’s career was literally cancelled until he proved his innocence, but Amber Heard isn’t facing any repercussion after what she did; Talk about hypocrisy. The industry should make an example of her, as they’ve done repeatedly with scandalous men, so others can learn.”
However, some were more supportive and shared their appreciation for the decision. “[I] was so patiently waiting to see this,” another user commented. “DC has finally made it official that Amber Heard will be appearing in the next Aquaman 2 film.” Check out more fan reactions below.
i speak for everyone when i say we will not be watching
— Brady3000 (@turnupbrady) April 26, 2023
— TrekkerinaTARDIS (@TrekinaTardis) April 26, 2023
wasn’t she edited out the entire last one? amber heard ain’t even a good actor
— miserable.bulls.fan 💔 (@marcusjuv) April 26, 2023
Johnny Depp's career was literally cancelled until he proved his innocence, but Amber Heard isn't facing any repercussion after what she did; Talk about hypocrisy. The industry should make an example of her, as they've done repeatedly with scandalous men, so others can learn.
— iamHIM (@satandontknowme) April 26, 2023
It's funny to me that disney fired Johnny Depp before the case ended but WB goes out of their to get Amber heard back as Mera
— Omer Derar (@OmerDerar2) April 26, 2023
I mean I don't like Amber Heard AT ALL
But I love Aquaman so I'll watch just for him.
I hope they don't give her much screen time too https://t.co/8tPIJ3rLtk
— Chandradatt Jagdeo 🇬🇾 🇺🇸 🌈 (@ChandradattJag1) April 26, 2023
Amber Heard is our Mera and no one can touch her 💅 pic.twitter.com/8tbsE513Nq
— Antonio Custódio (@cus_acn) April 26, 2023
I'm ok to forget the whole JohnnyDepp/AmberHeard thing, they're both wrong, and I'm ok if Amber does Aquaman 2 as long as we can have Johnny return to us as Jack Sparrow… please?
— emspace marketing (@emspaceinc) April 26, 2023
As the number one aqua man apologist I’m glad amber heard is coming back as Mera Mera is mother to me idk
— trenton (@trenttrash) April 26, 2023
Me was so patiently waiting to see this. And DC has finally made it official that Amber Heard will be appearing in the next Aquaman 2 film. 🤗🤗
— Hayung Debbarma (@HayungDebbarma7) April 26, 2023
In other Aquaman news, leading man Jason Momoa confirmed that he has no plans to abandon his role and that there will be “a lot of things” still to come in the franchise.
“There’s gonna be some really cool things [that] they’re doing with DC. I definitely will be in more than just one,” he explained. “There’s room for me to play a couple different [roles]. I’ve seen other actors do it.”
“We have a special relationship. Warner Bros. is a home. There’s a lot of things we’re going to be doing over there. I wish I could say more,” he continued. “I’ll always be Aquaman, and there’s a lot of evolution for that. So I’m not going anywhere and it’s very exciting.”