Amber Heard makes blink-and-you-miss-it appearance in first trailer for Aquaman 2

Heard claimed her role had been ‘pared down’ due to her defamation trial against ex-husband Johnny Depp

Tom Murray
Friday 15 September 2023 09:46 BST

Amber Heard Johnny Depp trial

The first trailer for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has been released and Amber Heard barely features as her character from the first film, Mera.

The relationship between Heard’s character Mera and Jason Momoa’s titular superhero is one of the main focuses of the 2018 original movie.

However, in the new trailer for the sequel, which is released on 20 December, Mera is seen for just a split second thumping on a glass window underwater.

The trailer comes just a day after director James Wanconfronted Heard’s claim that her part as Mera in the sequel was “pared down” due to her high-profile 2022 defamation trial against her ex-husband Johnny Depp.

During the trial, Heard testified that her role was significantly cut down after Depp’s legal team called her abuse claims a “hoax”.

“I fought really hard to stay in the movie. They didn’t want to include me in the film,” she said at the time.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Wan, who also directed the first Aquaman, denied that Heard’s trial had played a part in the creative decision-making.

“I always pitched this to everyone from the get-go. The first Aquaman was Arthur and Mera’s journey. The second movie was always going to be Arthur and Orm,” the director said, referring to the name of Momoa’s character and Patrick Wilson’s supervillain.

“So, the first was a romance action-adventure movie, the second one is a bromance action-adventure movie. We’ll leave it at that.”

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Depp ultimately won his defamation trial against Heard. The jury ruled that her 2018 Washington Post article titled “I spoke up against sexual violence - and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change” was defamatory and she was ordered to pay $10m (£8.2m) in compensatory damages and $5m (£4.1m) in punitive damages. The latter sum was reduced to $350,000 (£287,000) to comply with a statutory cap.

Heard was awarded $2m (£1.6m) in damages in a counterclaim against Depp after his lawyer’s “hoax” usage was also found to be defamatory.

Amid the trial, a petition to remove Heard from Aquaman 2 entirely gained more than 4.5 million signatures.

Only one of Heard’s co-stars from the Aquaman franchise has since spoken publicly about working with her on the films. In June 2022, Dolph Lundgren said: “She was great. I worked with her on the first Aquaman, now the second one. We shot last fall in London. She’s terrific, I had a great experience with her.

“She’s very kind, nice to the crew, nice to everybody, just down to earth.”

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is out in cinemas on 20 December

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