'Aquaman 2' Producer Explains Why Fan Campaign to Fire Amber Heard Was Rejected

Aquaman producer Peter Safran explained why online efforts to get Amber Heard removed from the superhero sequel were dismissed by the film’s creative team.

Heard plays aquatic warrior Mera in the franchise and has been the target of an intense lobbying campaign on social media largely driven by Johnny Depp supporters in the wake of the actors’ tumultuous divorce.

“I don’t think we’re ever going to react to, honestly, pure fan pressure,” Safran told Deadline‘s Hero Nation podcast. “You gotta do what’s best for the movie. We felt that if it’s [director] James Wan, and [star] Jason Momoa, it should be Amber Heard. That’s really what it was.”

Safran continued: “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.”

Heard and Depp divorced in 2016 after a whirlwind marriage and have since lobbied allegations of domestic abuse against each other. Depp then sued the UK tabloid The Sun for a 2018 article that called the actor a “wife beater.” An audio recording was introduced at the libel trial where Heard admitted “hitting” Depp, but the court ultimately rejected Depp’s case and a motion to appeal was refused.

“I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp have been proved to the civil standard,” Judge Andrew Nicol said.

After the trial verdict, Warner Bros. released Depp from the upcoming Fantastic Beasts sequel, with actor Mads Mikkelsen taking over the role of Gellert Grindelwald. The Fantastic Beasts recasting seemed to help fuel Depp supporters who insisted that Heard likewise get ousted from the upcoming Aquaman sequel.

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.

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