DC Fandome – A Recap of All the News and Reveals

Today was DC Fandome, an event designed to rival this year’s Comic-Con at Home. Promising exclusive panels, clips, and reveals, it was the big day for DC to present their upcoming projects to audiences in an attempt to create hype. I love DC Comics; they’re what I grew up on and I will always want the films and television shows to be good. So, I tuned into DC Fandome with a lot of nervous energy and unsure expectations. Comic-Con at Home was a bit disappointing, so I hoped DC Fandome would be better. And, largely, it was, thanks to some great edition from the DC team to make it look better than glorified Zoom calls, some great footage and announcements, and some panels filled with a lot of fan-interactions. On the whole, it was a great event that made me very excited for future DC movies and games. But, the things that everyone’s most interested in are the reveals and trailers. So, let’s break that down.

Wonder Woman 1984
First up was Wonder Woman 1984. It’s the DC movie that’s coming out the soonest and it was the first panel at DC Fandome. The panel itself didn’t reveal much new information. Everyone seems to be playing things fairly close to their chests – and that’s understandable. What it did show off, though, was the cast’s chemistry. Obviously, Gal Gadot and Chris Pine ooze chemistry; we saw that in the first film. But it was nice seeing how well Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wiig fit in with that duo. Watching the four of them simply interact together did a lot to get me excited about the film. The biggest moment, of course, was the trailer reveal. Much like the first trailer, it’s loaded with 1980s vibes, but the cinematography and narrative get a chance to shine here. We finally get a glimpse at what the plot of this film actually is – with Pascal’s Maxwell Lord offering to give people their biggest desire. He seems to be at the center of the film, the force drawing these characters together. The biggest reveal, though, was Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah costume. It… looked better than I feared it would but still looks a bit awkward – especially around the face. Maybe the CGI isn’t quite finished there, but at this point, you’d think it would be. That said, it never comes close to Cats levels of unsettling and it’s nice that they kept Cheetah’s distinctly cat-like look. All in all, it’s a great trailer that, when combined with the cast’s electric energy at the panel, proved effective at exciting me for the film’s theatrical release – whenever that is.

WB Games Announcement: Gotham Knights
Up next was the reveal of WB Games Montreal’s new Batman videogame: the long-gestating Gotham Knights. It’s been teased all week in cryptic social media posts, and it’s been rumored for far longer than that. So, it was nice to finally have that confirmed. What’s particularly interesting about is that Batman seems to be dead at the beginning of the game. It’s a Batman game that’s going to focus on that Bat-Family, allowing players the opportunity to play as those characters instead of Batman. A trailer was released at the beginning of the panel, introducing that premise and teasing the game’s ultimate villain – The Court of Owls. The trailer didn’t reveal a lot in terms of what the game’s story would be, but it was nice to have the confirmation of the Court of Owls’ involvement in the game. I’m not particularly qualified to talk about video games as I don’t really play them, but the previews shown look neat. The graphics are impressive – both in the cinematic teaser and in the gameplay footage shown. But gameplay footage can be deceiving; what looks fun in a video might not be fun to play. So, we’ll have to wait until the game actually releases to judge how good it is. But, in this first look, it seems cool. It’s a neat premise and I’m excited to have the opportunity to explore new parts of the Batman world with characters like Nightwing and Robin (Tim Drake), Jason Todd (Red Hood), and Batgirl. Plus, I really love The Court of Owls. So, this game looks cool.

The Flash
I understand why they’d want to have The Flash at DC Fandome, but it’s really hard to generate excitement for something that isn’t even close to beginning filming. There was no footage to show and all of the exciting information about the film (like Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton’s returns as their respective Batmans, and the film’s intention of establishing the DC Multiverse on film) had already been revealed. This panel was just a fluff piece and didn’t even reveal some of that information that had previously been revealed (nothing was mentioned about Keaton or Affleck, aside from the Tim Burton Batman theme playing in the background at one point). That said, the panel was short and fun. Andy Muschietti and Ezra Miller clearly have a lot of passion for the project. I am excited to see how they pull off the introduction of the DC Multiverse. The very idea of a Multiverse in these films is appealing to me because of the freedom it allows creators. Each movie doesn’t have to fit in a carefully constructed universe; instead, they can coexist in their respective universes while still crossing over with each other as desired. The coolest thing revealed at the panel was concept art for The Flash’s new costume, built in-universe by Batman. While it’s a cool design, we’ll have to wait to see it in live-action before we can judge it. I wish there’d been more revealed at this panel, but it’s hard to promote something you haven’t started making yet – a problem we’ll see crop up a few more times throughout the event.

The Suicide Squad
Going into this panel, the thing that everyone wanted to know was which characters were each member of the cast playing. Well, we have an answer! The cast list for The Suicide Squad is as follows: Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Michael Rooker as Savant, Flula Borg as Javelin, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, David Dastmalchian as Polka Dot Man, Daniella Melchior as Ratcatcher 2, Idris Elba as Bloodsport, Steve Agee as King Shark, Mayling Ng as Mongal, Peter Capaldi as The Thinker, Alice Braga as Sulsoria, Pete Davidson as Blackguard, Nathan Fillion as TDK, Sean Gunn as Weasel, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and John Cena as Peacemaker. Much of this had been previously rumored, but it was nice to have it all confirmed. The other big news from the panel was a first-look behind the scenes featurette, showing off some footage from the film and a look at its creation. Maybe it’s because the first Suicide Squad film was so bad, but this sneak peek got me excited for this film. It looks very fun and very colorful and very action-packed. I guess it’s not surprising since James Gunn is very good at making fun films, but I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie. And, to be fair, I’m still hesitant. Behind-the-Scenes featurettes are notoriously fluffy, presenting the film in its best light possible. But this featurette did its job: it makes the movie look good and it makes me want to see more. It looks exactly as fun as I wanted the first Suicide Squad film to be, so I’m hoping this new one lives up to this preview.

Zack Synder’s Justice League
The biggest news out of the Justice League panel is that the film will be presented as four hour-long parts on HBO Max, with the intention of eventually editing those parts together into one, four-hour-long film. Additionally, fans in countries that don’t have HBO Max will have some way of watching the film, though no further news was shared. Then, of course, there came the teaser trailer. It immediately feels distinct from the theatrical cut, with an atmosphere and color correction that hews closer to Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. Having it set to “Hallelujah” feels really on the nose but I am still interested in seeing how it differs from the theatrical cut. Do I expect it to be good? Not necessarily. I hope it’s better than the mess that was the theatrical cut, but it’ll still be a Zack Snyder movie at the end of the day, with all of the pros and cons that come with that. The trailer, itself, is fine. There’s a lot of new footage in it, but without any context, it’s hard to make heads or tails of anything. It’ll be nice to see how this all turns out, though. It’s an effective enough teaser, even if the song choice is almost laughable. On the whole, though, the trailer did its job. It previewed the film and how it differs and I do want to see more, out of sheer curiosity.

Black Adam
Like The Flash panel, there wasn’t much that could be revealed at the Black Adam panel, given that Black Adam has not started filming yet. However, there were still a few surprises. The biggest being that Noah Centineo is officially confirmed as playing Atom Smasher in the film. Joining him are a few other heroes from the JSA (the Justice Society of America), Hawkman, Doctor Fate, and Cyclone. There were a few animated pieces, with art from Jim Lee and narration from Dwayne Johnson, that introduced Black Adam and the JSA to audiences who might not be familiar with them. They were nice pieces, if very brief. Still, it was a suitable preview of the film. Dwayne Johnson has a palpable passion for the project and I’d be willing to give it a chance based solely on his involvement. We know very little of it, but Johnson sells the hell out of it.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Since the game was confirmed as releasing in 2022, the panel didn’t reveal quite as much information as the Gotham Knights one did. However, there were a few big nuggets teased. Firstly, it was revealed that Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, King Shark, and Deadshot would be the main characters of the game. Secondly, it’s a 1-4 player game. You can play it alone or as a co-op game. All of the main characters are playable at any time. Thirdly, it was confirmed that the Suicide Squad would be tasked with killing the Justice League, who seem to have gone rogue (or, at least, Superman has gone rogue). Fourthly, it’s a continuation of the Arkham series, carrying over some of the gameplay mechanics and story threads while combining them with new elements tailored to these characters. And, most excitingly, they released a trailer. It was a cinematic trailer, so we don’t quite know what the gameplay will look like, but the atmosphere of the game seems like a lot of fun. Which, to be fair, is exactly what I’d want from a Suicide Squad game. So, we’ll see how it all comes together.

The Batman
The Batman panel probably revealed the most new information of any DC Fandome panel. Firstly, The Batman officially exists in its own universe, separate from the main DC Universe. It’s Batman’s second year in the cowl; it’s not an origin story, but it deals with Batman’s beginnings. This Batsuit was created by Batman, himself, and is tailored to his needs. This Batman is still young and reckless, with much of Gotham scared of him and/or not believing in him. All of these villains (Cobblepot and the Riddler) are early days, too. Secondly, this Batman is broken. Bruce is taking a psychological toll from being Batman and this movie is going to explore that some. There are a series of murders Batman investigates throughout the film, giving the movie more of a detective feel. Thirdly, Reeves wanted his Gotham City to feel timeless and a bit unidentifiable, taking inspiration from real locations but tweaking them. 

The biggest news, of course, is the trailer, which is moody and atmospheric. At parts, it feels reminiscent of the Nolan Batman movies but heightened a bit. It’s easy to see the influence of certain classic comic arcs (a bit of “Year One,” a bit of “Long Halloween.”) I’m not sure what’s happening, but I like how menacing a threat the Riddler seems to be, even though he never appears onscreen. Pattinson’s Batman seems pretty threatening, though we don’t get a chance to see him in action much. That scene of him pummeling that criminal was effective. I’m very intrigued by his Bruce Wayne, though. The one good shot we get shows him looking pretty haggard. I’d be down for a look at the psychological toll of being Batman. Ultimately, the trailer does exactly what a teaser trailer should do – it’s grabbed my attention and made me very excited to see the movie.

A few final random bits and bobs:

  • A Static Shock film was teased at one point.
  • A new Batman comic from John Ridley – likely featuring a person of color under the cowl.
  • According to James Wan, the second Aquaman will be more serious and feature some new worlds.
  • No news on a third season of Harley Quinn, though the brief panel teased one.
  • Shazam: Fury of the Gods is the title of the second Shazam movie and Sinbad may or may not be in it.
  • Gotham P.D., the previously announced HBO Max spinoff of The Batman, will be set during Batman’s first year and further explore the corruption at the heart of Gotham City in Reeves’ universe. 

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