Hours before Amber Heard gave her closing statements following the highly publicized defamation case trial between her and her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, there were rumors saying that Warner Bros. Discovery had reduced Heard's role significantly in Aquaman 2.
Now, we know that this is true.
In addition to defending herself by saying that the fecal matter found on Depp's side of the bed was from one of their Yorkshire terriers, Heard revealed that her legal issues resulted in a lesser role for her character in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. CNN reported that Heard claims to have "fought really hard to stay in the film" but the studio ultimately "took a bunch out" of her role.
Unfortunately, Heard didn't clarify how much her role in the Aquaman sequel has changed.
However, with re-shoots done in March as Warner Bros. delayed a bunch of its comic book films, we wouldn't be surprised if Heard won't appear for longer than a few minutes in the Aquaman follow-up. This would be a drastic change from her starring role in her first DCEU outing as it put her in a position for a more significant part in the second movie, especially after reprising the role of Queen Mera in Zack Snyder's Justice League last year.
With James Wan having put in significant work on Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom - filming wrapped up in December - the studio had no choice but to reduce Heard's role instead of recasting her.
Interestingly enough, the confirmation comes as more than 4 million signed the petition against Heard's appearance in future Aquaman films. While this could have played a factor, it's likely that this isn't a new development. Warner Bros. Discovery debuted new Aquaman 2 footage at CinemaCon 2022, which didn't feature Heard as Mera. This would imply that Heard had known that she will have significantly less screen time in Aquaman 2 for a while.
The DCEU needs a huge box office win after bombing last year with James Gunn's The Suicide Squad. As 2018's Aquaman is the DCEU's highest-grossing film, WB will want to make sure that the second film does just as well commercially if not better. We'll find out more for sure about how reducing Heard's significance to the movie will affect its box office haul on March 17, 2023.
Speaking of the Depp v. Heard trial, did you know that Disney is still thinking about a new Pirates of the Caribbean film? Jerry Bruckheimer recently revealed that the long-gestating Margot Robbie-led swashbuckler off-shoot is still very much on the table as well as another film set in the multi-billion-dollar franchise.