DC Extended Universe Wiki
DC Extended Universe Wiki

"If you seek my power, you must prove your worth."
―King Atlan[src]

Atlan was the king of Atlantis prior to the nation's submergence, during the time of Darkseid's first invasion of Earth. He led his army to the shores to aid in the battle against Darkseid, and was one of the three people entrusted with the security of the Mother Boxes.

Later, he went into exile and died when Atlantis sank into the ocean during a test with the Trident of Atlan. His skeleton held the trident ever since, which was guarded by the Karathen. Millennia later, Arthur Curry, a distant descendent of Atlan, followed the leads left by his ancestor and obtained the trident, becoming the true King of Atlantis, accepting the name of Aquaman.


Becoming King of Atlantis

At some point, Atlan gathered the Atlantean tribes together into one civilization, and became the first king of Atlantis. He created a trident to rule the kingdom. Because of his lead, Atlantis faced great technological advancement.[2]

Invasion of Earth

Earth's people unite to combat a young Darkseid and his forces

Around 3,000 B.C., Atlan led the Atlantean forces, who fought alongside the Amazons and humans against a powerful being called Darkseid and his army of Parademons during the New God's invasion of Earth. During the battle, Darkseid combined the mother boxes and used The Anti-Life Equation to begin to terraform the planet into an extension of his home world of Apokolips. However, with the power of the combined forces of the Atlanteans, Amazons and Humans as well as Zeus, Ares, and Artemis of the Old Gods and Yalan Gur of the Green Lantern Corps, they were able to stop the invasion and destroy the Unity, with King Atlan himself generating a shockwave that stunned and helped incapacitate Darkseid.

"Left behind, the Mother Boxes were too dangerous to be kept together. One was entrusted to the Amazons. One to the Atlanteans. Both sealed and guarded in secure strongholds."
Diana Prince to Bruce Wayne[src]

King Atlan holds a Mother Box

In the aftermath of the battle, Darkseid and his forces were forced to retreat on their mothership, and the three Mother Boxes as well as the Equation were left behind. Fearing their power when combined, the three tribes of Earth decided to each take one of the Mother Boxes and guard them so that they could never be used again. One was entrusted to the Amazons, another buried by the Humans. The Atlanteans were also entrusted with one of the Mother Boxes, which they secured in a stronghold.[2]

The great fall and exile

"It was a time of great prosperity and technological advancement. We had unlocked the secret of unlimited energy at a time when the rest of the world still thought the Earth was flat. But we became too ambitious; too hungry for power. The ocean swallowed us, and Atlantis sank."
Nuidis Vulko tells Arthur Curry about the history of Atlantis[src]

Atlan holds his Trident on his throne

Between 753 B.C. and c. 1000 A.D., a disastrous experiment with the Trident of Atlan headed by Atlan caused Atlantis to sink beneath the waves. Horrified and guilt-ridden by this travesty, he went into a self-imposed exile and died in a deep pit in the Hidden Sea. Before his death, Atlan left behind a message inside of an artifact that can only be displayed when inserted into a stand in the forge in the Kingdom of the Deserters, where the Trident was made. In the message, Atlan guides the true heir to the Trident, telling them that with its power they can unite above and below.


A life-size statue of Atlan was constructed and placed in a remote location, away from Atlantis beneath the sea. Arthur Curry regularly visited this statue before finding the real remains of Atlan, which enabled Nuidis Vulko to track him down when the Atlantean Stronghold was on the verge of being attacked.[3]

Discovery of the Trident of Atlan

King Atlan guides Arthur and Mera through a projection

In January 2018, Arthur Curry and Mera traveled to the Kingdom of the Deserters while in search of the Trident of Atlan. Upon finding the forge, Mera used her powers to insert some of Arthur's sweat into the artifact, causing the machine to activate, playing Atlan's message to the both of them.

His skeleton still held the trident, guarded by the Karathen until Aquaman arrived, proved his worth and took it, at which point his skeleton crumbled, his spirit finally at peace, knowing the true heir had arrived.[4]

Powers and abilities


"No man has ever freed the trident from Atlan's grip."
Karathen to Aquaman[src]

Atlan's power over the sea

  • Marine communication: With the help of his trident, Atlan could control marine life, as he saw when he used the trident to make two whales jump.
  • Hydrokinesis: With the help of his trident, Atlan could control the water of the oceans, managing to create two large waves around him while he made two whales jump.


Atlan ruling over Atlantis

  • Expert leader: Atlan was a highly skilled leader, capable of guiding Atlantis in the war against Darkseid. Atlantis also experienced great technological and philosophical advancement under his steadfast leadership.
  • Master combatant: Atlan, as the King of Atlantis, was an exceptional warrior, capable of easily defeating several Parademons and surviving the Battle of Earth that killed many of his fellow Atlanteans without any injuries.


Atlan lays with his trident

  • Trident of Atlan: Atlan wielded this trident throughout his life.
  • Armor: Atlan wore this attire throughout his life.






List of appearances
In chronological order:


  • King Atlan was referred to as simply "Ancient Atlantean King" in the credits of Justice League, though he was later revealed to be Atlan.
    • Vulko states that Atlan was the "first ruler of Atlantis" in Aquaman. Atlan is also king when Atlantis sinks, which means he was the last surface king. "Ancient Atlantean King" (as credited in Justice League) arrives by surface ship, meaning he's a ruler of Atlantis before it sank, and thus, must be Atlan.
  • In the DC Comics, Atlan is the father of Aquaman, Orm and Deep Blue in the Post-Crisis continuity. In the New 52, he is the original king of Atlantis who went mad after his brother Orin betrayed him by ending his open race policy and murdering Atlan's wife and children. Atlan, overwhelmed with grief for the loss of his kingdom and family used the scepter to then sink Atlantis.
  • In Greek mythology, according to philosopher Plato, the first king of Atlantis was named Atlas, and he was the son of Poseidon and the mortal woman Cleito.
  • King Atlan is stated to be the first King of Atlantis and is shown to be king at the time of Atlantis' fall, which means "Ancient Atlantean King" in Justice League/Zack Snyder's Justice League, who appeared before the fall, must be Atlan. There could have been no other king before Atlantis fell if the first king was still king at the time. This means Atlan was born before 3000 B.C., which is the latest the invasion of Earth could have taken place, where Atlan was present. In his clue to finding his trident, Atlan referenced a set of statues including Marcus Agrippa, Scipio Africanus, and Romulus. Specifically, he mentioned that, "only in the hands of the true king..." meaning he was both familiar with Romulus' reign and familiar enough with the lives of the other two to know that they weren't kings. Marcus' time of service was 45-12 B.C. The three men from the statues did not live during the same period, with Marcus active the latest. The statues could have been sculpted any time after Marcus began his career, but since Atlan knew he didn't become king like Romulus did, Atlan must have been familiar with his entire career, meaning Atlan was still alive in 12 B.C. Considering Atlan's age during the Apokoliptian invasion, which is the youngest he's ever depicted, it's not reasonably possible he lived for less than 3000 years, and in fact it was likely much longer.
    • No explanation for this is given, but in the original myth of Atlantis, the king is related to the Old God Poseidon, granting him a long life span.


The DC Extended Universe Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Atlan.
  1. Atlan used Marcus Aggripa's status as never becoming king in his trident puzzle, meaning he must have been alive through Aggripa's military career, which ended in 12 BC. The Karathen also confirmed it had guarded the trident "since the beginning and for a thousand years," which means Atlan must have been dead for at least 1000 years, putting his death between 12 BC and about 1000 AD.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Terrio, Chris, Whedon, Joss (writers) & Snyder, Zack (director) (November 17, 2017). Justice League.
  3. Terrio, Chris, Beall, Will (writers) & Snyder, Zack (writer and director) (March 18, 2021). Zack Snyder's Justice League.
  4. Beall, Will, Wan, James, Johns, Geoff (writers) & Wan, James (director) (December 21, 2018). Aquaman.

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