DC Comics’ undersea kingdom of Atlantis is expanding to HBO Max. But it’s not Aquaman aka King Arthur who is transitioning to a streaming series, it’s his young protégé Aqualad. According to Deadline, Charlize Theron is executive producing You Brought Me The Ocean, based on the YA graphic novel by Alex Sanchez and Jul Maroh. This graphic novel is an out-of-continuity take on the current version of Aqualad, with a somewhat reworked origin story. It is currently unknown if Theron also plans to appear on-screen in this series, or if her role is entirely behind the scenes.
In this version, Aqualad Jackson Hyde goes by Jack Hyde. He is a gay college student who moves to the east coast for college. Unable to swim, he nevertheless falls for the swim team captain. He also discovers markings on his skin that turn blue when in contact with water, leading him on a quest to learn about his Atlantean heritage. It’s currently unknown if this HBO Max series will tie into the Aquaman mythology set up in the films. Rumors abound that Aqualad will appear in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. But will the same actor star in both versions, or will this be a totally separate take?
The version of Aqualad in You Brought Me The Ocean is a relatively new creation. The original Aqualad was Garth, Aquaman’s sidekick and founding member of the Teen Titans. He long ago got to grow up and became the hero Tempest. In 2010, the producers of the animated series Young Justice wanted a new Aqualad, and created Kaldur’ahm for the series. DC got wind of this, and introduced their own version of Kaldur’ahm a year earlier in the comics. This version grew up on land with the human name of Jackson Hyde. Both versions were human/Atlantean hybrids, with similar powers to Aquaman and Mera. In both versions, Aqualad’s father was Aquaman’s arch-enemy Black Manta. The 21st century Aqualad has received a popularity that the original never really had.
DC Comics originally presented Aqualad II as straight in his 2010 debut, and with a girlfriend. But when DC rebooted their continuity in the 2016 Rebirth event, they reimagined him as an out gay man. When the Young Justice animated series returned after many years, they also revealed that Kaldur’ahm was LGBTQ. He is now one of DC’s premier gay heroes. We actually hope the HBO Max series ties into the films. Because we have Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta there already, why not have him be Aqualad’s father? Regardless of continuity, we are very excited to see one of DC Comics’ most prominent young heroes make the transition to live-action. An Aqualad series showing off the Aquaman character is just what we need.