Cancelled ‘The Trench’ Spin-off Was Actually a Secret Black Manta Movie

Remember that Aquaman spin-off movie nobody asked for called The Trench? Well, it turns out that it was actually a secret Black Manta movie.James Wan recently took to Instagram to show off the new look for Black Manta in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. In the comments, an exchange took place between Wan and a commenter. Have a look.

Wan revealed that the cancelled spin-off was actually going to be about Black Manta, who is portrayed by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in the DC Extended Universe.

The Trench had been described as a “horror-tinged” expansion of the Aquaman world. Noah Gardner and Aidan Fitzgerald were working on a screenplay before¬†Warner Bros.¬†pulled the plug on the project in April 2021.Screen Rant did a bit of comics research after this bit of news was revealed. They found out that the Trench and Black Manta have crossed paths before.

In DC Comics canon, the Trench are “a tribe that had survived the fall of Atlantis and had adapted to living in the eponymous deep and narrow hole near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The Trench follows the wielder of the Dead King’s Scepter, and although the wielder doesn’t have any mystical control over them, they still take the person to be their leader as a tradition.”

Apparently, Black Manta has wielded the Scepter at various points in the comics, making him the leader of the Trench. Honestly, that sounds like it could have made for a pretty cool film. The Trench could have also fleshed out Black Manta’s backstory and character before his expected larger role in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Maybe one day Wan will be able to revisit The Trench, but for now he’s focused on Aquaman and his journey.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom hits theaters on December 16, 2022.


Are you more interested in The Trench now that you know it would have featured Black Manta? Do you think Wan is pulling a Ryan Reynolds by telling us this “secret” in order to renew fan interest in the project? Tell us your thoughts down in the comments!


Author: Marmaduke Karlston

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute Doc, uh, are you telling me you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?"