King Atlan is a major posthumous character in the DC Extended Universe, appearing as a flashback character in the 2017 film Justice League and its 2021 director's cut Zack Snyder's Justice League, and as the posthumous overarching protagonist of the 2018 film Aquaman.

Atlan was the legendary first King of Atlantis, a flourishing nation of technological genius with ever-increasing ambition. Five thousand years ago he lent his armies to the defense of Earth, fighting alongside the Amazons, Humans, Old Gods, and Green Lanterns to defeat a New God invasion. Eventually, Atlantis sunk into the ocean after Atlan experimented with new technology.

Consumed with guilt, Atlan journeyed to the Hidden Sea where he remained in exile for the rest of his life. The people of Atlantis prevailed, evolving into an underwater race of superhumans. The Trident of Atlan, held by Atlan upon his death, became a coveted relic that signified its wielder as the true King of Atlantis.

Atlan was portrayed by Julian Lewis Jones in the 2017 film Justice League and its 2021 director's cut Zack Snyder's Justice League, and by Graham McTavish in the 2018 film Aquaman. McTavish has also played Dwalin in The Hobbit and Charlie Cutter in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.

Trivia

  • In the comics, King Atlan was the first and greatest King of Atlantis whose family was murdered and throne usurped by his younger brother Orin. Overwhelmed by grief and rage, Atlan used his scepter to sink the Kingdoms of Atlantis into the oceans. He subsequently fell into a deep sleep, and was accidently awakened eons later by his brother's descendant Aquaman. Now known as the Dead King, Atlan tried to usurp Aquaman's throne, although he was defeated and finally laid to rest.

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