“Aquaman 2” producer Peter Safran confirmed to Deadline that requests from Johnny Depp fans to have Amber Heard fired from the DC comic book tentpole are being ignored and shut down. The sequel, officially titled “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” is now in production with director James Wan and stars Jason Momoa and Heard. Johnny Depp fans rallied for Heard’s firing last fall with a viral online petition that has earned 1.8 million signatures and counting.
“I don’t think we’re ever going to react to, honestly, pure fan pressure,” Safran said. “You gotta do what’s best for the movie. We felt that if it’s James Wan, and Jason Momoa, it should be Amber Heard. That’s really what it was.”
Safran, who produces DC’s “Aquaman” franchise as well as “Shazam!” and “The Suicide Squad,” continued, “One is not unaware of what is going on in the Twitter-verse, but that doesn’t mean you have to react to it or take it as gospel or accede to their wishes. You have to do what’s right for the film, and that’s really where we landed on it.”
The petition to fire Heard gained traction over Thanksgiving after Warner Bros. confirmed Mads Mikkelsen would be replacing Johnny Depp as the villainous Grindelwald in “Fantastic Beasts 3.” Depp announced in a November 6 Instagram post he was exiting the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise at the request of Warner Bros. following the end of his libel case against The Sun. The judge in the case sided with the publication, which referred to Depp as a “wife beater” in a story detailing his marriage with Heard. The petition to remove Heard from “Aquaman 2″ alleges the actress is a “known and proven domestic abuser,” and thus the studio should request her exit if they did the same for Depp and “Fantastic Beasts.”
Prior to production beginning on “Aquaman 2,” rumors surfaced that Heard might not be returning. The actress put those rumors to bed in a November 2020 interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“I’m super excited about the amount of fan love and the amount of fan appreciation that Aquaman has acquired and that it has garnered so much excitement for Aquaman and Mera that it means we’ll be coming back,” Heard said. “I’m so excited to film that.”
The actress added, “Paid rumors and paid campaigns on social media don’t dictate [casting decisions] because they have no basis in reality. Only the fans actually made ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Aquaman 2’ happen. I’m excited to get started next year.”
“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is set for release from Warner Bros. on December 16, 2022.