Five years since the first movie became a global success, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is hitting cinemas on December 20. The much-anticipated sequel has been long beset by delays and rumors of drama behind the scenes, with Amber Heard’s continued presence in the franchise seemingly a source of contention both on and off set.
The 37-year-old actress plays Mera in Aquaman and the upcoming sequel alongside lead Jason Momoa. However, her defamation lawsuit against ex-husband Johnny Depp put her already tenuous role at risk, with newly-released documents from the highly-publicized trial stunning social media users.
In September, notes from Heard’s sessions with her therapist were leaked online. Depp fans had covered the court fees for the documents’ release, although the memos were ultimately excluded from the trial.
The notes recount Heard’s alleged experience on set, including her thoughts on Momoa and the film’s director, James Wan.
Although the documents contained some shocking claims—including drunken behavior from Momoa and a lack of support from Wan—the fact that Depp’s legal team subpoenaed the files to begin with appalled fans of Heard, many of whom spoke out on social media.
“Hell isn’t hot enough for these monsters,” @crisisgrl wrote on X, formerly Twitter, in response to a Variety article about the revelations.
“That is a legit insane thing to do,” @raya4 wrote.
“It’s not a ‘he said, she said,'” @mouseabolition posted. “It’s a ‘she said something to her therapist & people who wish her ill will made it public.'”
“That’s insanely gross,” said Ligerbusa, while @RichardOcelot called Depp’s fans “a bunch of ghastly, creepy, scavenging ogres.”
However, some social media users Depp defended the 60-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean star, with @icononlyx writing: “This is propaganda 101.”
X user @Dancing2NoMusic, who identified themselves as a Depp fan in their bio, posted footage from Heard’s appearance on Dateline in June 2022, in which the Justice League star shared the therapy notes with host Savannah Guthrie.
“I’ve seen several viral tweets today saying that these allegations against Jason Momoa are coming from Amber Heard’s therapy notes, sharing them is an invasion of her privacy and they’re only public cuz us ‘deppies’ want them to be,” she wrote alongside the video. “Well let’s hear what Ms Heard thought in 6/2022.”
Recorded on a legal pad, the handwritten notes suggest that Momoa’s clothing and behavior reminded Heard of Depp.
However, they do not say that the similarities were intentional on the actor’s part, nor an attempt to antagonize Heard. Although, they do claim that Momoa showed up to work inebriated.
“Jason drunk — late on set. Dressing like Johnny. Has all the rings too,” the notes read.
Heard was also convinced that her co-star wanted her removed from the film, telling her therapist: “Jason said he wanted me fired.”
A representative for DC defended Momoa, telling Variety that the actor “conducted himself in a professional manner at all times on the set of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.” However, a source close to Heard said the notes were a legitimate record of the session and confirmed the star was discussing the Aquaman 2 set.
Heard was almost fired early in the production, according to Variety, with Wan allegedly wanting to cut Heard before the trial with Depp had even begun.
Wan reportedly sent a letter to Heard’s attorney, Karl Austen, citing a “lack of chemistry” between her and Momoa as the reason for her removal.
However, Heard’s ex-boyfriend Elon Musk apparently jumped in, having his legal team write creator Warner Bros with a “scorched-earth letter” with threats “to burn the house down” if they dropped the actress.
Although she managed to hold onto the part of Mera, her role is said to have been greatly reduced in the sequel.
During the trial, Heard was asked if the negative publicity brought by the court case had affected her role in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
“They released me from my contract,” she said. “And I fought to stay in it, and they kept me in it. I just don’t know how much I’m in, actually, of the final cut.”
Newsweek reached out to Amber Heard, Johnny Depp, Jason Momoa, Elon Musk and Warner Bros for comment via email.