Aquaman: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Mera
Mera will be joining Aquaman on the big screen next year, but how much do you know about the Queen of the Seven Seas?
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Aquaman may not be hitting theaters until 2018, but fans of DC’s Atlanteans won’t have to wait until then to see Arthur Curry in action. Aquaman (Jason Momoa) will be a big part of the upcoming Justice League, and he won’t be the only underwater superhero appearing in the film. His wife Mera, Queen of Atlantis, (Amber Heard) is joining him on the big screen, and we can’t wait to see her. Fans have already been treated to their first glimpse of the Queen of the Seven Seas in costume (on set in Iceland), and she looks incredible. Her crown, red hair and scaly armor combine to create the perfect match for Momoa’s Aquaman, and we cannot wait to see more of Heard in this role.
Until Justice League hits screens, however, we’re content to revisit Mera in the comics, and bring you fifteen things that you might not know about her.
15 She Is From A Water Dimension In The Bermuda Triangle
Although Mera is the Queen of Atlantis, she’s actually from Xebel, a watery dimension also known as Dimension Aqua. Like most long-standing comic characters, her origin story has been retconned and retold many times over the years, but each time she is from this other world (no matter what it is called) and not the famed lost city of Atlantis.
While the original origin simply had Xebel as a separate kingdom, that has since been changed to make it a dimension where criminal and outcast Atlanteans are sent to live. Located within the Bermuda Triangle, it is considered inescapable, and similar in this sense to the Kryptonian Phantom Zone (as both are penal colony dimensions for their respective races).
Sealed within the Bermuda Triangle, Dimension Aqua functions as its own society – one with many similarities to Atlantis, for obvious reasons. Children have been born in Xebel, so that now many residents are not criminals, but rather have been imprisoned there for the crimes of their forefathers. Although the residents are supposed to be unable to leave the triangle, several have escaped over the years, including Mera herself.
14 She Was Originally Meant To Kill Aquaman
Mera escaped from Xebel and found Aquaman on Earth. After telling him that she was the exiled queen of an underwater dimension, fleeing from the tyrannical Leron, Aquaman agreed to help her. The two fought Leron, but Mera decided to remain in Atlantis at Aquaman’s side, as she was falling in love with him.
Although Leron really was a threat, this origin story was later retconned, and it was revealed that Mera was actually sent to kill Aquaman, not to ask for his help. In the Death of a King story arc, Mera returned to Xebel to be enthusiastically greeted by the ruling Nereus as his wife, shocking readers everywhere. Her new origin story made her the princess of Xebel, sent to gain Aquaman’s trust with a sob story so that she could kill him and gain retribution for the banishment of her people. Of course, Mera ended up falling in love with Aquaman, and was unable to carry out her mission.
13 She Is Royalty Many Times Over
Mera isn’t just a badass underwater super heroine – she’s royalty. Originally, Mera was Queen of Dimension Aqua before she decided to stay with Aquaman and become Queen of Atlantis. As she actually managed to battle and defeat Leron at Aquaman’s side, she could be considered to be Queen of both Altantis and Xebel at the same time. However, her decision to stay with Arthur in Atlantis allowed Leron to effectively regain control of her home dimension for some time.
This was later retconned, but Mera was still royalty in the new origin story. This time, she is Princess of Xebel, rather than Queen. Still, she was intended to come home after killing Aquaman and take up the throne next to the Xebel leader, Nereus. Having refused (because she actually did fall in love with Aquaman) she is now only Queen of Atlantis (only!). She was also briefly Queen of the Netherspace, another dimension.
12 She Has Ruled Atlantis in Aquaman’s Absence
Although Aquaman is the primary ruler of Atlantis, and Mera is his Queen, she has also ruled the ocean kingdom on her own in times of emergency. Usually, if Aquaman is not on the throne, it is because someone else has attempted a takeover (Ocean Master, for example, or The First King). However, there have been at least two occasions on which Mera has lead the citizens of Atlantis, and it can presumed that while Aquaman is off with the Justice League, Mera often rules in his stead.
The main instance where Mera led the Atlanteans came after the events of Infinite Crisis, where Spectre’s attacks on Atlantis forced the people to flee to Sub Diego, where Mera became their leader. She becomes the head honcho a second time by default, in the alternate universe events of JLA: Created Equal, where (almost) all the men on planet Earth are killed. With Aquaman (and the others vying for the throne) gone, Mera presumably becomes Queen in her own right.
11 She And Aquaman Have A Tumultuous Relationship
Although Mera and Aquaman are one of the best-known couples in comic books, the path of true love definitely doesn’t run smooth for these two. Mera was raised to hate the Atlantean royalty, and trained to kill Aquaman. And although she later fell in love with him, this deep-seated hatred still occasionally comes through, and has caused many issues between the two.
After the death of their son Aquababy, Mera blamed Arthur, and their marriage dissolved. During their separation, Aquaman had a relationship with a character named Dolphin (and Mera caught them in bed!), although they eventually broke up and he reconciled with his wife. Later, when her deceptions and original plans to kill him are revealed, this (understandably) causes further friction, although Aquaman eventually forgives her. Throughout their (sometimes violent) arguments and the dissolution and reconciling of their marriage, it’s undeniable that these two will always love each other, and that they belong together in the way that only comic book heroes can.
10 She Lost Her Mind At One Point…
Mera has always been an emotionally volatile woman, but at one point she actually went completely insane. After the death of her son, Mera’s grip on reality faltered. She broke down into bouts of rage and insanity and attacked Aquaman, blaming him for the loss of poor old Aquababy. She was eventually sent to the Atlantean version of an asylum – AHARD-1 (a branch of the Atlantean Health and Rehabilitation Department). Located in Poseidonis, AHARD-1 acted as both a healthcare facility for her and a prison, as she would attack Aquaman if she could.
Her husband, meanwhile, left Atlantis when their marriage ended, although he would eventually return when his kingdom was threatened. Mera did eventually regain her sanity, but it took a long time before she was able to forgive Aquaman or recover from the death of their child, and an equally long time for him to learn to trust her again (as she had become extremely violent towards him at this time).
9 …Which (Nearly) Cost Her Her Life
Like so many other comic book characters, Mera has actually “died” and been resurrected. During the time that she was insane and imprisoned at AHARD-1, Aquaman came to Poseidonis to battle a race of giant jellyfish. During the battle, Mera escaped and sought him out, intending to attack him for the death of her son. In the ensuing battle, Arthur managed to push her onto a jagged edge, impaling (and seemingly killing) his queen.
Devastated by what he has done, Aquaman placed Mera in a coffin, and prepared to have her buried with all the respect due to the Queen of Atlantis. Mera, however, didn’t actually die. As a being from another dimension, her physiology is different from that of the rest of the Atlanteans, and the blow wasn’t a killing one. She awoke, and when she discovered that her husband had declared her dead, she was furious. This mistake was proof to her that Arthur didn’t really know her at all. Taking this as evidence that he didn’t love her, she stormed back to her home dimension in a rage. (Although the two eventually reconciled.)
8 She Has A Second Son
Many fans know about Aquababy, Mera’s child with Aquaman (and we have already mentioned his death in this list). Named Arthur Curry Jr, Aquababy was a short-lived addition to the Aqua family (appearing in less than 100 issues) who was murdered by Black Manta in a storyline that changed the DC Universe forever. Before this, babies were generally safe from supervillains!
However, Mera also had a second son, who could be Aquaman’s… but who could also belong to Thanatos, Aquaman’s evil doppleganger. Thanatos took Mera to the Netherspace (she thought he was her real husband), and while there, Mera had a son, AJ. Although Mera eventually learned that she was not with Aquaman, she decided to remain in the Netherspace with AJ, who could not survive outside of it. Eventually, however, Aquaman came to the Netherspace and begged Mera to return to his dimension. Although she wanted to stay with her son, AJ himself ended up pushing her to leave, and the portal between dimensions closed once she did.
7 She Has A Serious Temper…
Mera has always been portrayed as a volatile and tempestuous woman, but as time has gone on, her temper has becoming increasingly difficult to control. In the New 52, she and her husband are attempting to carve out a life for themselves on the surface, living in Amnesty Bay (where Arthur was born and raised). Mera, however, finds it increasingly difficult to live as a mere mortal after having spent her life as royalty. She gets angry at the lack of respect shown to her and her husband, and even assaults civilians in a rage.
She is arrested for her violent outbursts more than once, and struggles to accept the need to do her civic duty and obey the laws of the surface. Although she attempts to control herself, it’s not easy for Mera, who has an especially short fuse when it comes to people poking fun at her and her husband’s superpowers.
6 She Even Became A Red Lantern
During the events of Blackest Night, Mera was chosen by a Red Power Ring (a duplicate of Atrocious’) and became a Red Lantern, fueled by the rage that she struggles to control throughout her history in comics. As a deputy of the Red Lantern Corps, she is able to channel and use her anger to battle the Black Lanterns… including the revived corpses of both her husband and her son.
While other superheroes struggled to take down the Black Lantern versions of their loved ones, Mera channeled the hatred that she had felt for Aquaman in the past, and even said that she never wanted a child before slaughtering the undead Black Lantern version of her own son. A battle with the Star Sapphire Wonder Woman gives her some control over her ring, and her connection to her pure rage is then broken completely when the real Aquaman is revived by the White Light. Although she nearly dies from the break between her and her ring, she is revived to reunite with him once again.
5 She Was Beheaded By Wonder Woman
Her fight with Wonder Woman during Blackest Night isn’t the only time that Mera has gone toe-to-toe with the Amazonian Princess. In the alternate universe created by Flashpoint, these two titans faced off a second time. In this continuity, Aquaman and Wonder Woman were going to be married, when an assassination broke down negotiations between these races and set them at each other’s throats. The Amazonians and Atlanteans are at war, which makes for some pretty epic battles!
The one between Wonder Woman and Mera does not end well for the Queen of Atlantis, as Wonder Woman decapitates her brutally, holding up her severed head in triumph, and taking her helmet as a trophy. Ouch.
When Flashpoint was undone, these events were of course wiped from continuity, and the current Mera and Wonder Woman are back on the same side. Still, if Flashpoint ever comes to the DCEU, we would love to see Gal Gadot and Amber Heard face off!
4 She Is A Member Of The Justice League (of Atlantis)
She’s appearing on the big screen for the first time in Justice League, but she’s not actually a member of the classic Justice League itself. However, she has been a member of two other Justice League splinter teams over the years. The first is the Justice League of Atlantis, a little-known (and short-lived) team that was created by Aquaman after Hector Hammond made the world forget the Justice League itself. Aquaman and Mera were joined in their aquatic adventures by Tempest, Arion, Power Girl, Devilfish and Lori Lemaris.
She’s also been a member of the (longer-running) team Justice League United, a JL unit based in Canada. She is not a regular member of this team, however, and only joined them for a very brief period before returning to her usual solo activities. As a general rule, Mera is not affiliated with any team. She prefers to work alone, or in partnership with Aquaman.
3 Justice League Will Not Be Her First Live-Action Appearance
Mera may not have had the same kind of on-screen fame as some of the other characters in the upcoming Justice League, but this won’t be the first time that she’s been adapted for live-action. Mera also appeared in the CW series Smallville, where she was played by Elena Satine. Mera made her small-screen debut in Season Ten’s “Patriot”, where she and Aquaman (Alan Ritchson) joined Clark Kent (Tom Welling) and Lois Lane (Erica Durance) to fight Slade Wilson (Michael Hogan).
This version of Mera included her signature red hair and her fiery temper. She clashed strongly with Lois, mainly because Mera looked down on her for her lack of superpowers (and apparent love of superpowered men). Eventually, Lois earned Mera’s respect before she and Aquaman headed back below the surface. This version of Mera definitely brought her comic book temper and royal arrogance to life, although (like most of the characters in the show) her ‘costume’ was far simpler than the one fans are used to seeing.
2 Amber Heard Called Her Justice League Costume “Strange”
Back in March, when Amber Heard was confirmed to be playing the role of Mera in the DCEU, she made some interesting comments about her costume as the superheroine. Talking to Entertainment Tonight, the actress said “It’s interesting. It’s like, half suit of armor, half scales. It’s strange… We’re in the process of building it now, so it’s coming along”.
Now that we’ve seen both the suit itself and the concept art for it, it looks fantastic – and she was definitely spot on with describing it as being part-armor, part-scales. Of course, that’s exactly how we want Mera’s costume to appear, so it may not have felt as “strange” to long-time comic book fans as it did to Amber. We won’t judge her too harshly for the comments, however, as she did say that they were still working on it, and we’re sure that she was simply trying to describe this amazing outfit, not insult it.
1 Amber Was Also A Contender For Mystique
Next year’s Justice League will mark Heard’s first on-screen appearance as a superhero, but if things had gone a bit differently for her back in 2010, she may not have landed the role of Mera at all.
Six years ago, the X-Men franchise was getting a soft reboot and an all-new cast, and Heard was up for the part of Mystique. The blue-skinned mutant was originally played by Rebecca Romjin in the first three X-Men movies, and Heard’s potential casting as her replacement was one of many casting rumors that surrounded the production. Other big rumors before First Class came to theaters included the possibility of Rosamund Pike playing Emma Frost or Moira McTaggert, and of Michael Fassbender initially turning down the role of Magneto. Fassbender ended up staying on in the role, and Rosamund Pike was not cast after all. Instead, January Jones played Emma Frost and Rose Byrne took on Moira McTaggert.
Mystique/Raven, the role that Heard was up for, eventually went to Jennifer Lawrence, who has now played the character on three separate occasions. Whether or not she’ll be brought back for a fourth, however, remains to be seen.
What other fun facts should fans know about Queen Mera? What role do you think she’ll play in the Justice League movie. Let us know in the comments.
Aquaman is set to hit theaters on July 27th, 2018.
Rose Graceling-Moore has been writing about film, TV and comics since 2013, when she began writing for a local print magazine in Vancouver, BC. Since then, Rose has written for Horror Honeys, Moviepilot and Quirkbooks as well as Screenrant, increasingly focusing on comic books and live-action comic adaptations, as well as diversity and representation on screen. Rose also co-hosted the DC Movies Podcast, and has guested on other nerd and entertainment podcasts over the past five years. Rose’s love of comics began all the way back in the early ‘90s, when she discovered the X-Men while living in Africa (where there wasn’t a whole lot to do but read!), and since then has had an on-again, off-again love affair with not just Marvel, but DC and indie comics as well. You can follow her on Twitter: RoseMooreWrites for tweets about comics, movies, and more.