Why Aquaman’s Villain Looks Like the OG Hero

Keely Flaherty
Movies DC
Movies DC

It’s been clear from our first look at DC’s new movie version of Aquaman that it’s going to be very different from the classic comics fans know so well. Jason Momoa is bringing a very different look and vibe to Arthur Curry, and Patrick Wilson is bringing an equally different — but oddly familiar — look to Arthur’s temperamental oceanic half-brother and film’s primary villain, Orm. As fans were quick to notice, Wilson’s version of Orm actually looks a lot like the original comics version of Aquaman himself.

Orm Aquaman

Orm’s Supposed to Look Like Classic Aquaman

It turns out, Wilson planned it that way. His interpretation of the character’s look is both a nod to the comics and a way to differentiate him from the movie’s titular hero. “I’m not gonna lie, that was quite intentional [and] quite on purpose,” Wilson told Fandom. “In all the comics of Orm, he’s the opposite of Aquaman physically. He’s always very brooding and dark, and I thought, when you’ve got Jason Momoa playing Aquaman, we cannot do a typical Orm. He’s got to go the other way.”

Aquaman Orm

Orm’s slicked-back blonde hair — which was an idea from director James Wan — is meant to stand apart from Momoa’s messy, gorgeous, brunette mane. “I didn’t want [Orm to have] really long hair — because Jason’s got really long hair. So [I thought], ‘Why don’t we go blonde and short and closer to the classic Aquaman?’ I thought it’d be cool,” Wilson explained. “I wanted those moments when [Orm] came out of the water to be like, ‘Oh, look, it’s almost like what Aquaman used to look like!’”

Wilson’s Role in Watchmen Helped Him on Aquaman

Wilson knows the importance of source material — especially when it comes to comics. It’s a lesson he learned when he starred as Dan Drieberg (aka Nite Owl) in 2009’s film adaptation of the graphic novel Watchmen. “I did not grow up reading comics as a kid, so I approach them from an actor’s perspective,” he said. “When your first induction into comics is Watchmen, then you know how deep they can be, how emotional they can be, how they can reflect social and political issues.”

Orm Aquaman

Wilson devoured all the available comics that included Orm, from earlier years to New 52, the more recent comic series. “It’s a huge world of material to sink into. I love it, I think I’ve read every Orm that’s out there. I love looking at old, classic Orm, and then obviously, for me, New 52, which is closer to what we built [the movie version of] Orm off of. I think the power of comics and the power of the language in comics when you’re talking about having to write just a few words in a panel and having that reflect an image — it’s a great tool for actors.”

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