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'Aquaman' adds some serious action cred with casting of Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus

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Fans awaiting next year's Aquaman movie will be happy to hear that one of the main villains will be played by an action-movie icon.

Warner Bros. Pictures has added another heavy hitter — quite literally, this time — to the cast of its upcoming DC Comics superhero movie Aquaman.

Rocky IV co-star and action movie icon Dolph Lundgren has reportedly joined the cast of the film, which will put the spotlight on its eponymous oceanic hero, played by Game of Thrones and Conan the Barbarian actor Jason Momoa. Lundgren is expected to play one of the main villains in the film.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lundgren will play King Nereus, a character described as the leader of the aquatic kingdom of Xebel. The report indicates that Nereus “claims Mera [the queen of Atlantis, who is played by Amber Heard in the film] as his own and wants to kill Aquaman.” The character has comic-book roots, having appeared in a 2013 issue of DC’s Aquaman series.

Although Lundgren recently played high-profile roles in the Expendables franchise and the popular Arrow television series on The CW, his initial big break — and arguably, his most famous role — was in 1985’s Rocky IV. The film cast him as the seemingly unstoppable Soviet boxer Ivan Drago, and led to a run of starring roles in action movies. Those projects included roles as He-Man in 1987’s Masters of the Universe movie and Frank Castle in 1989’s The Punisher.

Directed by James Wan, Aquaman also stars Nicole Kidman as Aquaman’s mother, Patrick Wilson as Aquaman’s half-brother Orm, Willem Dafoe as Atlantean scientist Dr. Vulko, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as the villain Black Manta, and Temuera Morrison as Aquaman’s father.

Both Aquaman and Mera will appear in Zack Snyder’s superhero team-up film Justice League, which hits theaters Nov. 17. Momoa previously made a brief appearance as Aquaman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Aquaman is expected to begin filming this month, and is scheduled to hit theaters December 21, 2018.