After it flooded the box office late last year, it’s no surprise an Aquaman sequel is in the works.
The fishy followup to DC’s highest-grossing film ever was announced in January this year, with director James Wan ‘overseeing’ its development, while Jason Momoa – naturally – returns as our Atlantean Adonis.
However, it may be a little while before we see a moist Momoa emerging from the waves once again, as production has reportedly been halted while the actor protests the construction of a huge telescope in Hawaii.
Momoa, his family, and thousands of activists have been protesting the construction of the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea – a dormant volcano, sacred Hawaiian site, and the highest point in the Hawaiian islands.
Activists, including Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, have peacefully protested the construction of the $1.4 billion telescope, by blocking roads, dancing and singing. However, a number of people were arrested after Governor David Ige issued an emergency proclamation, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
Johnson has spoken about the protests himself when he appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, saying: ‘The truth is, this mountain is their church — like building on their church.’
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At the heart of any matter, is where the truth lies. Truth is, these people – our people – are the backbone and spirit of Hawaii and our culture. They are willing to die here to protect this very sacred land we stand on. This is not about stopping the progress of science. I’ll always be an advocate for science advancement, but not at the expense of human beings who are hurting. When we lead with empathy, we make progress thru humanity. I remain optimistic our leaders will do right by the people. Because in the end, that’s really the only thing that matters – people. #MaunaKea
In a recent message posted on Momoa’s Instagram account, it was stated Warner Bros. has had to pause the shooting of Aquaman 2 while the actor continued with the protests.
It was also suggested Momoa had been ‘run over by a bulldozer’.
The post read:
FUCK THIS. And TMT is 4x bigger. Sorry Warner Bros we can’t shoot Aquaman 2. Because Jason got run over by a bulldozer trying to stop the desecration of his native land THIS iS NOT HAPPENING. WE ARE NOT LETTING YOU DO THIS ANYMORE. Enough is enough. Go somewhere else. Repost. This is what telescope construction looks like (Subaru Telescope, 1992). The TMT will be four times larger on unscathed land. We must protect our scared mountain from further desecration.
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FUCK THIS. And TMT is 4x bigger. Sorry Warner Bros we can’t shoot Aquaman 2. Because Jason got run over by a bulldozer trying to stop the desecration of his native land THIS iS NOT HAPPENING. WE ARE NOT LETTING YOU DO THIS ANYMORE. Enough is enough. Go somewhere else. Repost. This is what telescope construction looks like (Subaru Telescope, 1992). The TMT will be four times larger on unscathed land. We must protect our scared mountain from further desecration. #KuKiaiMauna #WeAreMaunaKea #TMTShutdown
According to Live Science, the TMT project won approval from the state’s supreme court in 2017. Astronomers say the telescope will have large scientific benefits, as it will be able to take images 12 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.
However, the proposed location of the telescope – on the sacred Hawaiian volcano Mauna Kea – has caused great controversy among natives, indigenous activists and thousands of others.
As protestor Kaho’okahi Kanuha told CNN:
It is without a doubt one of our most sacred places in all of Hawaii.
We are taking a stand not only to protect our mauna and aina, our land, who we have a genealogical connection to, we are fighting to protect it because we know if we cannot stop this, there is not very much we can fight for or protect.
This is our last stand.
The dormant volcano is said to have been the realm of the Hawaiian gods, where once only Hawaiian royalty and priests were allowed to walk to the peak.
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Hawai’i State Canoe Championships HCRA. Full represent for the MAUNA The facts the truth TMT + MAUNA KEA = DESECRATION. The solution TMT + CANARY ISLANDS = DISCOVERY. If not Canary Islands. then tough shit send it to space. We support science. More importantly it’s astronomy and we support that also considering we Polynesians have sailed our oceans guided by the stars But this has to stop you can not build an 18 story building on our sacred mountain. If u can’t build past 7 story’s in Hilo or Kona then who decides and why the FUCK would u build 18 on our mauna Shame on you. Anyone who supports this shame on you. Have you not taken enough from the Kānaka Maoli. Aole TMT #kukiaimauna #wearemaunakea #dadbodsrule #livealoha #alohaalwayswins #canaryislandshelpUs Aloha BIG J
TMT, however, said in a statement they chose Mauna Kea after conducting ‘the most comprehensive site testing campaign ever carried out for a new observatory’, with the Hawaiian volcano being chosen because of its elevation above the clouds, dryness and lack of light pollution.
While Henry Yang, chair of the observatory’s Board of Governors, told Inside Higher Ed:
We have learned much over the last 10-plus years on the unique importance of Mauna Kea to all, and we remain committed to being good stewards on the mountain and inclusive of the Hawaiian community.
Hawaii is a special place that has long pioneered and honored the art and science of astronomy and navigation. We are deeply committed to integrating science and culture on Mauna Kea and in Hawaii, and to enriching educational opportunities and the local economy.
The protests at Mauna Kea have entered their fourth week, and so far have significantly delayed the progress of the construction.
Aquaman 2 is currently set to be released on December 16, 2022.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.