Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is set to bring back most of the main cast members from the first film for another action-packed adventure in the underwater world that will also serve as the final entry in the DCEU.
However, one of the characters that was notably missing in the trailer or any of the promotional material is Vulko, who was played by Willem Dafoe in the first film and a pivotal figure in Arthur's life.
Back when the film was in production, there were conflicting reports about the character's appearance in the sequel as some of them claimed that he would return.
Now, as the marketing campaign is starting to ramp up with the release of its first trailer, we finally have the clarification on Dafoe's involvement from the director of the film himself.
James Wan Confirms Willem Dafoe is Not Returning in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, director James Wan confirmed that Dafoe will not be returning to reprise the role of Vulko in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
Scheduling conflict is cited as the reason for Dafoe's absence in the sequel. However, it paved the way for Nicole Kidman's Atlanna to have a bigger role since she became Arthur's advisor in the film.
"Willem is not in this one, no. Part of the reason was because his schedule did not work out for us," Wan said.
"But what that allowed me to do was expand on Atlanna's role. Atlanna in this one ultimately becomes Arthur's advisor. Because Arthur's not from this world, she helps him better understand the world and the politics of how things work."
With Dafoe's Vulko not being part of the sequel, it does pose a question on how they will be addressing his absence since he was a major figure in Arthur's life and he would have been involved in the new conflict that will happen in Atlantis.
There is a likelihood that they'll write off the character by mentioning that he is on another mission somewhere else in the underwater world. Unfortunately, with the upcoming DCU reboot, it is unlikely that we will see him again.
In the end, his absence in the sequel might not be too jarring when we see the film since the character is not heavily involved in Aquaman's adventure as a superhero, and, as the trailer teased, it will focus heavily on Arthur and Orm's surprising team-up.