Almost three weeks have now passed since the spectacular virtual event that was ‘DC Fandome’ (and we are a few days away from the second, less anticipated part of the event), and while I did initial reaction to all the major announcements and trailers that were released, I now want to do a reflection on the event and look at the winners/losers, and what it means for the future of the DCEU.
It is worth noting before I start that since DC Fandome, filming on the Matt Reeves film ‘The Batman’ restarted and then almost immediately had to shut down again when it was revealed that Bruce Wayne himself, Robert Pattinson, had tested positive for Covid-19 and would need to isolate for two weeks. We wish Robert and any other crew potentially infected a swift return to health.
As for DC Fandome itself, I will start with my list of winners, the middle ground, and losers from the event, and then will finish on what I think all of this may mean for the future of DC Films.
The Batman – The clear winner of the event was the closing panel, where Matt Reeves appeared to talk at length about his vision for the film and the character in general. He then revealed a few moody looking photos of Robert Pattinson in the role, and then, despite having shot only 25% of the movie at this stage, revealed an epic trailer that won the night. It was packed full of style and great character moments, and hinted at everything may of us have wanted to see from a more detective focused Batman. The trailer seemed like it had come from a full movie, despite the knowledge that it was only a quarter of the way through. It is like if David Fincher did Batman, and with that thought alone, this film cannot come fast enough.
The Suicide Squad – James Gunn had been hyping up his appearance here for weeks and he did not disappoint. He showed up with the entire cast to play a few fun quiz games, reveal who everyone was playing, and show off the great chemistry between this remarkable cast. He then played an extended behind the scenes feature that gave us some great hints about the story, the scale of the film, and also some brilliant looks at Margot Robbie’s new outfits as Harley Quinn. Robbie’s Harley is absolutely the MVP of this film and some of her outfits here look entirely new (with large video game inspiration) and yet she looks amazing and perfectly matching for the character. Halloween 2021 is going to be the same level of Harley Quinn mania as 2016 was I imagine.
Suicide Squad Kills the Justice League – It was a big night for Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad, as the trailer for the new game was released and it looked like everything you would want. Wise cracking Harley, fascinating character design, and the Suicide Squad being tasked with taking down an ‘evil’ Justice League.
Wonder Woman 1984 – This film is a follow up to one of the most successful and universally liked superhero origin films of all time, and due to release date shuffling and then delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it has found itself in a very awkward position where it is running an advertsing campaign whilst not knowing when it will actually be released. However, the new trailer features even more glamour and beauty, with Gal Gadot again beign radiant in the lead role and Chris Pine again looking like he will steal the show. My only worry is about the casting of Kristen Wiig (a great actress but I’m not sure about the role suiting her) and the CGI/effects on Cheetah, but Patty Jenkins has not let me down yet so I am of course giving it the benefit of the doubt.
Black Adam – Despite having not yet started filming and not having any new casting announcements (or official Henry Cavill cameo announcements), Dwayne Johnson still showed up with his usual swagger and managed to deliver. He explained the basics of the film and how he hopes the character will have a huge impact on the DCEU, and provided a beautiful animated sequencing detailing the origins of the character.
Gotham Knights – The other major game announcement of the night should also be classed as a success as it looked to feature some interesting plot points and compelling game play. However, the reason it is here and not in ‘winners’ is simply because the Suicide Squad game seemed to gain more traction and universally positive feedback. Still a very strong launch for this game though.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League – I was hesitant to place this here as I still think it is going to be a major deal when it launches on HBO Max, I am happy Zack Snyder gets to tell his version of this story, and I think the decision to turn it into a mini-series is smart for all involved. However, the actual reveals and the trailer simply didn’t offer enough new stuff and got lost in the traffic online (where the this particular fandom usually thrives) and things like ‘The Batman’, ‘The Suicide Squad’ and ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ ended up dominating conversation more. I think the main reason for this may have been the trailer that was released. Firstly, it was set to ‘Hallelujah’ which is a song Zack Snyder has already famously used on a blockbuster film featuring DC characters, and much of the actual footage, while undeniably visually impressive, most of the shots and narrative seemed to be mostly similar (without the unnecessary and often very poor jokes) to the version of the film we have already seen. This all added up to a feeling that this just doesn’t live up to the anticipation for the truly new things coming from DC.
Man of Steel 2 – While this film doesn’t actually exist so can’t technically be a loser, it was much discussed and rumoured that a new film would be announced at the event and many believed that it would be the long-awaited sequel to ‘Man of Steel’ starring Henry Cavill. However, apart from a off-hand reference from The Rock, there was no sign of Cavill officially returning to the role in any capacity.
DC TV – There was no season 3 announcement for the spectacular ‘Harley Quinn’ animated show, and for the rest of the shows, despite some presence, non of them really managed to cut through the zeitgeist and make an impact.
The multiverse was at the heart of everything, with Walter Hamada and Jim Lee themselves showing up to discuss how it will play into the DCEU and that it will be used to allow filmmakers total creative freedom whilst still allowing for the possibility of crossover and team-ups.
The Batman will operate in a different universe to Joker, and both will be in different worlds to the main DCEU. ‘The Flash’ will crash through the multiverse, potentially rebooting parts of the universe and likely acting as a farewell to Batfleck and a re-introduction to Michael Keaton’s Batman, who is going to appear in multiple films as a ‘Nick Fury type’ going forward.
The future seems incredibly bright and very diverse for DC right now, and DC Fandome just proved that (they should make it an annual event).
Now all I want is to see ‘The Batman’, get season 3 (and beyond) of ‘Harley Quinn’ and eventually get a ‘Gotham City Sirens’ film with Margot Robbie, Zoe Kravitz and Ana de Armas…