Whenever the team behind the upcoming slate of DC focused films pops up in interviews, one of the go-to talking points centers on the idea of taking a filmmaker-centered approach with each of these properties. The insinuation being that their competitors at Marvel Studios do the opposite, despite their best efforts at genre riffing. Admittedly, I can see what they mean, as there’s a very uniform look to the Marvel Universe as it appears on screen and allowing your directors to go nuts visually is a nice way to stand apart.

Of course, then Warner went and hired a first-time director for The Flash, so they lose a little ground in that argument. Regardless, some of their choices have been promising, such as David Ayer, Patty Jenkins (who ironically enough was going to direct Thor: The Dark World before that didn’t pan out), and James Wan. The latter almost didn’t happen though, as WB once had once been in discussions with Jeff Nichols to write and helm Arthur Curry’s solo feature. Nichols, one of my favorite young filmmakers, sat down with Deadline to discuss his newest effort Midnight Special (which looks special indeed!), and the subject of Aquaman came up:

I’m a big comic-book geek, and I knew these characters pretty well. Warner Bros. and I talked about it. Aquaman has the father-son thing going on, and he’s got a pretty interesting plot line. But I’m in lucky position to be building my movies from the ground-up. There’s so many moving pieces to the DC universe, it turned out I was trying to jump on a moving train. I’ve only made scripts that I like from the ground-up.

I remember a year ago, I was so excited about the idea of Nichols’ involvement in the project. Given his sensibilities, it seemed like he could take the material in fascinating directions. WB moved on to Wan, another talented director, and solicited screenplays from Kurt Johnstad (300) and Will Beall (Gangster Squad).

Still, what could have been!