Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the “Aquaman” franchise, has been the target of an intense lobbying campaign on social media by Johnny Depp supporters in the wake of the actors’ tumultuous divorce. The campaign asks for Heard’s removal from the franchise following Depp’s firing from the “Fantastic Beasts” series. However, after months of campaigning, it seems that the notion has been rejected.
“Aquaman 2” producer Peter Safran broke down why this campaign was rejected by saying that the crew would never have succumbed to “fan pressure” from the internet and that their goal was always to do “what’s best for the movie.”
“I don’t think we’re ever going to react to, honestly, pure fan pressure,” Safran told Deadline‘s “Hero Nation” podcast. “One is not unaware of what is going on in the Twitter-verse, but that doesn’t mean you have to react to it or take it as gospel or accede to their wishes. You have to do what’s right for the film, and that’s really where we landed on it.”
The controversy goes back years, but essentially what happened was that Heard had filed for divorce from Depp in 2016, a year into their marriage. She had accused him of physical abuse, and the two were officially divorced in 2017. Then, in 2020, phone recordings were released in which Heard admitted to ‘hitting’ Depp. Pictures of Depp with bruises and cuts began to circulate, and a campaign was propelled arguing for his side of the story.
The “Fantastic Beasts” recasting seemed to help fuel Depp supporters who insisted that Heard likewise get ousted from the upcoming “Aquaman” sequel, as they argued that she too should also pay for the consequences of her alleged actions against Depp.
Last November, Heard described the protests in an interview with EW as “paid rumors and paid campaigns on social media” that “don’t dictate [casting decisions] because they have no basis in reality. Only the fans actually made “Aquaman” and “Aquaman 2” happen. I’m excited to get started next year.”
“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is planned for a Dec. 16, 2022 release.