According to Amber Heard, Warner Bros. reduced her part as Mera in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Heard first featured as Mera in Zack Snyder’s Justice League before taking on a larger role in James Wan’s solo film, Aquaman. Heard was significantly involved in Aquaman, nearly as a co-lead, alongside Jason Momoa as the eponymous character, as well as Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Willem Dafoe, and Nicole Kidman.
Heard penned an op-ed for The Washington Post shortly after her divorce from actor Johnny Depp, implying that Depp had assaulted her throughout their relationship, prompting Depp to file a number of lawsuits, including a libel action against The Sun, which he lost. Depp then sued Heard for defamation, and the case is currently in court. Fans petitioned to have Heard removed from the Aquaman sequel after she got blowback for her op-ed. The actress was invited back for the picture, albeit it now appears that her role will be much smaller than it was the first time around.
Heard testified today (via CBS News) that Warner Bros. initially did not want the actress to reprise her role. Heard claims that she “worked really hard” to get into the movie and that she was offered various draughts, with later versions removing sections involving her character, including action sequences.
Heard most recently appeared in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which was released on HBO Max last year and included moments not seen in the theatrical version. While a fan petition to have her removed gained traction when her legal troubles began (it now has 4.1 million signatures), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom producers stated that they would not respond to fan pressure when it came to bringing Heard back for the sequel, saying that they had to “do what’s right for the film” even if they were aware of the controversy. Despite the backlash, Heard was hired back, and while working on the sequel, she released photographs of her preparation as well as a few bts images.
Regardless of the outcome of Heard and Depp’s defamation trial, both celebrities have been subjected to public scrutiny as a result of their highly publicised case. Depp has already been passed over for the character of Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and a sixth instalment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Now, it appears that the pendulum has swung back in Heard’s favour, as WB already has enough fires to put out with The Flash star Ezra Miller, as well as coping with their latest shake-up with the Discovery merger, which is already upheaving both TV and theatrical slates. With the release of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom set for 2023, anything may happen in terms of how much (or if) Mera appears in the final edit.