As the defamation trial against Amber Heard continues in Fairfax County, Virginia, a growing number of people have been signing an online petition to drop her as Princess Mera in Aquaman 2. The actress is being sued for $50 million by her ex-husband and actor Johnny Depp because of her 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post which implied that Depp abused her while they were married.
The essay, Depp claims, opened the doors for multiple role cancelations for him and negatively impacted his reputation in Hollywood, and also led to another media-related lawsuit with Depp and Heard at the center of it. Depp, who lost his iconic role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Disney franchise of Pirates of the Caribbean four days after Heard’s essay was published, is now seeking the lawsuit to compensate for his loss.
Amber Heard’s movie Aquaman 2 is slated for a March 2023 release
Aquaman 2 is a sequel to the 2018 Aquaman, a movie about the DC comics superhero Aquaman, played by Jason Momoa. The movie will feature Amber Heard returning as Princess Mera, the princess of the underwater kingdom of Xebel, and the love-interest of Aquaman. Directed by James Wan, the movie finished filming in January earlier this year and is scheduled for a March 2023 release.
The petition to drop Amber Heard from the movie originally gained attention in November 2020, per The Independent, and received 1.5 million signatures. In November 2020, Depp also resigned from the Fantastic Beasts franchise, where he played the role of wizard Gellert Grindelwald, after his libel lawsuit against the British publication The Sun was settled in the publication’s favor.
The petition has now crossed 2 million signees. According to The Daily Mail, the petition was started by Jeanne Larson. Larson said that Heard had been “exposed as a domestic abuser” and removing her from the movie would prevent the alleged abuse from being glamorized.
With the recent defamation lawsuit going on in Virginia, Depp’s testimony has swayed public opinion in his favor, with a recent Starbucks’ tip jar poll about the couple sparking controversy. The outpouring support for Depp has likely caused the petition to gain more signatures.
Amber Heard, who has been offline since the case began on April 11, spoke about the petition before Aquaman 2 began filming.
“Paid rumours and paid campaigns on social media don’t dictate [casting decisions] because they have no basis in reality,” Heard said in a statement. “Only the fans actually made Aquaman and Aquaman 2 happen. I’m excited to get started next year.”
With the case proceedings still on, and no comment from Warner Bros. Pictures and Wan, whether or not the petition will lead to anything else remains to be seen.