Though Warner Bros. is yet to speak on Amber Heard’s controversial appearance in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the uncertainty hasn’t stopped fans from manifesting her removal from the sequel. As the Change.org petition to dismiss Heard surpassed 4.3 million signatures last week, Johnny Depp fans are now searching for the next Queen Mera to replace the actress in question.
One name that has popped up as a potential recast is Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke. Portraying Daenerys Targaryen on all eight seasons of the groundbreaking series, fans have recommended Clarke due to her on-screen chemistry with Jason Momoa—who played Khal Drogo on the show. The fact that Heard’s agent has testified the actress’s role in Aquaman 2 was reduced because of “the lack of chemistry between her and Jason” further fuels this discourse. Heck, people have even reimagined the star as Queen Mera in fan arts:
While Dakota Johnson, Deborah Ann Woll and Sophie Turner are also fan favourites for the role, the top contender is none other than Hollywood’s “genuine movie star,” Blake Lively. Once again, the artwork proving just how easily the star could slip into the role of Mera can’t be missed out on:
A Change.org petition addressed to Warner Bros. justifies the preferences for Lively as: “After the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard and all the negative ‘energy’ around the latest, and since Blake Lively is a much likeable actress and human being.”
A top comment under the petition reads, “Amber Heard is a vile person, and should not be privileged to portray a beloved female hero. Blake Lively is a lovely and kind person, with far greater acting talent. She is the kind of person who should portray a hero. She’s someone young girls can look up to, and should aspire to be like.” Another person wrote, “Blake Lively is a treasure, and an A grade actor. Heard is a disgrace to all the women who have been through domestic violence.”
Now, Lively is no stranger to superhero movies. In fact, after starring as Carol Ferris in 2011’s Green Lantern, the actress has been preached as the perfect cast to play Emma Frost, Invisible Woman and even Lady Deadpool. When it comes to replacing Heard as Queen Mera, however, fans highlighted how Warner Bros. is notorious in terms of listening to their fanbase. “Do not expect anything from them,” one fan warned. At the same time, the petition hopes the studio will eventually change its mind about dropping the actress from the second instalment of Aquaman.
As Aquaman 2 hopes to recreate the success of its first instalment—which became a box office sensation grossing over $1 billion, making it the highest-grossing DC film of all time—it has been pushed to 2023 and already completed its filming. Carrying out reshoots to feature a new actress would therefore be very costly for the studio.
Given these factors, some believe Heard’s role should be limited in the sequel as much as possible. “I feel Blake can do a great job too for the role and fits it nicely as well. I think Amber should be limited maximally from the upcoming sequel and removed from any future parts of Aquaman [plus] any other films due to all she has done against Depp,” a fan admitted under the petition.
With 3,247 signatures and counting, the petition currently aims to hit 5,000 supporters for it to gain more traction.
Back in 2017, when Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales was released, director Joachim Rønning confirmed this wasn’t the end of the franchise, then later in the year producer Jerry Bruckheimer suggested the sixth instalment was in development.
Anyone who’s been a fan of the Disney franchise since its very first instalment in 2003, The Curse of the Black Pearl, probably can’t fathom the next movie being any good without the iconic and witty Captain Jack Sparrow making an appearance. But after Amber Heard—Depp’s ex-wife—published a 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post where she claimed to be a survivor of domestic abuse, the actor alleged that his reputation and his career were ruined because of it, resulting in him being dropped from several big-budget franchises in the aftermath of its publication.
One of those projects was the sixth instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. At the time, when Depp fans realised the legendary actor was not going to be involved in the highly anticipated addition—which led to it stalling in pre-production—they launched a Change.org petition addressed to Disney, pleading the mass media giant to bring back Depp’s role.
“Amber Heard ruined Johnny Depp’s life as well as career. […] This man never disappoints when he makes a movie, so why continue to keep him from doing Pirates of the Caribbean?? That movie is nothing without him! Please sign this petition to help Johnny Depp get back to what he enjoys and does best. If men get ridiculed for hitting women, and lose their jobs/career, then that’s exactly what should be happening to Amber Heard,” reads the petition’s overview.
Though it was created over two years ago, the attention Depp has received more recently—since he’s been battling it out with Heard in a $50 million defamation lawsuit that has been making the news on a daily basis—has also impacted the petition’s number of signatures.
Now, sitting at over 618,000 signatures and counting, according to Change, the petition is on its way to becoming one of the most signed ones on the platform. Many Depp advocates are also sharing their support for the actor in the petition’s comments section. One wrote, “He isn’t an angel but he is innocent! Amber Turd should be ashamed of herself,” highlighting the fact that, no matter the final verdict, the Aquaman actress’ own experience has been demonised from the very beginning of the trial. “Victims of domestic violence shouldn’t be penalised,” wrote another about Depp.
Regardless of whether the viral petition hits 1 million signatures or not, however, Depp himself has admitted in the past that even if Disney tried to bring him back, he wouldn’t accept the offer. In fact, he even said that if the entertainment company offered him “$300 million and a million alpacas,” he would refuse to come back to Pirates of the Caribbean.
The actor explained that he felt betrayed by the studio, saying: “Having added much of myself, much of my own rewriting, the dialogue, the scenes, the jokes, I didn’t quite understand how after that long relationship and quite a successful relationship with Disney that… suddenly I was guilty until proven innocent.”
More recently, another petition has surfaced online, one asking for Heard to be removed from Aquaman’s sequel. It currently has just under 4 million signatures.