Everyone is lusting over Justin Momoa as Aquaman in the new Justice League film, which is out in theaters now. One of the film’s trailers is for the 2018 feature film dedicated to the DC hero, featuring Momoa returning as the lead role. However, it’s not the first time DC tried to make a splash by bringing the comic book hero to life. A failed Aquaman TV pilot has been circulating the internet recently, especially since it features another heartthrob in the titular role.
Developed by Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar for the WB, the pilot featured This Is Us star Justin Hartley as Arthur “A.C.” Curry, a young man living in a beachside community of the Florida Keys who learns about his powers and destiny as the Prince of Atlantis.
The Aquaman TV pilot was expected to debut in the fall schedule of 2006, but following the merger of the WB and UPN, the resulting CW Network opted not to buy the series.
After they passed, Gough and Miller were so passionate about the pilot that they wanted it released in some form so fans could see it. Gough said in an interview, “The implication when a network doesn’t pick up a show is that the pilot sucks and that’s not the case. It’s not a perfect pilot by any stretch of the imagination. There are other reasons—which are a mystery to us—as to why The CW didn’t pick it up.”
It was made available online through iTunes in the United States, becoming the number-one most downloaded television show on iTunes. It received generally favorable reviews, was later released on other online markets and aired on Canadian television network YTV. You can still buy it on iTunes for $1.99.
Hartley’s career may have been slightly stalled because of the setback, however, he’s doing extremely well for himself now. He appears in the successful family drama This Is Us, currently in its second season on NBC.