Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Says 'Aquaman 2' Script Is Better Than the First One

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

The actor plays the big bad in the upcoming sequel.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has high hopes for the upcoming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. The actor recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter and opened up about the sequel, which he's currently gearing up for.

"I think the script is better than it was in the first one," Abdul-Mateen shared in his cover story profile. "It gives the actors a lot of good storytelling moments."

Abdul-Mateen had a smaller role in the first film, playing Aquaman's famed nemesis Black Manta, who is set to take the stage as a much more significant antagonist in the forthcoming sequel.

"In Aquaman, we just got a small introduction to Black Manta and to some of his motivations. In this one, I get to exercise and breathe a little bit more," he shared. "I’m showing some different colors with this one."

Apart from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, Abdul-Mateen has a seriously impressive slate of projects hitting theaters in the near future -- with Candyman, the Michael Bay-directed action heist movie Ambulance, and the hotly anticipated Mad Max: Fury Road sequel, Furiosa.

He's also set to star in The Matrix 4, the long-awaited sequel to the groundbreaking sci-fi saga, and he reflected on what it was like being a part of the iconic franchise.

"I remember Keanu and his first line. I looked up, and there was Keanu, and I said, ‘Oh s**t, I’m really in The Matrix,'" Abdul-Mateen recalled. "It was just Keanu in that voice."

Abdul-Mateen explained how the film is "so ambitious" with how it pushes the limits of technological filmmaking -- just as the original Matrix did when it hit theaters in 1999 -- and reflected on what it was like shooting the project during this challenging time.

"It was really interesting to be making Matrix 4 at a time when the world was so warped and when reality was so distorted," he said. "It could creep in a little bit if you let it."

As for his work on Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, Abdul-Mateen is clearly putting in the work when it comes to getting in super villain shape. The actor took to Instagram earlier this month to show off his impressive physique with a snapshot of himself at the gym.

"🚧BLACK MANTA 🚧 Back Under Construction! #Aquaman2" the 35-year-old star captioned the black-and-white selfie.

Abdul-Mateen's Black Manta will face off against Jason Momoa's Aquaman when the long-awaited sequel hits theaters Dec. 16, 2022.