Having suffered through the COVID-caused movie drought of what appeared to be a promising summer season, DC fans and moviegoers around the world rejoiced upon the arrival of DC’s virtual summer convention, DC FanDome. Because of the cancellation of the highly popular San Diego Comic-Con, DC held a virtual fan event on August 22nd. This 24-hour long event showcased the future of DC, and revealed new trailers and sneak peeks for various future projects.
Leadup to FanDome
The DC Universe has been a mixed bag these last few years, including many mess-ups and successes. Many found Batman v Superman (2016) to be a bloated movie with a thin plot and an obsession with the name Martha. Later that year, Suicide Squad (2016) proved to be a muddled mess with many problems similar to Batman v Superman. This culminated into the critical and financial disappointment that was Justice League (2017). The film greatly upset fans, especially Zack Snyder’s fandom, thanks to its bare-bones plot, underdeveloped villain, overreliance on CGI, and its more comedic and family-friendly tone. The film under-performed financially, costing $60 million in losses. Additionally, its failure caused Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck to sign off of their roles.
However, DC balanced its failures with the origin stories for Wonder Woman (2017) and Shazam (2019). Both had significantly better writing, less overuse of CGI, and were financial and critical successes. Most recently, Joaquin Phoenix’s genius portrayal of the Joker, under the directorial leadership of Todd Phillips, earned Joker (2019) a plethora of critical acclaim. It earned several awards at numerous ceremonies, mostly for Phoenix’s performance. Joker also became the first R-rated movie to gross over $1 billion worldwide.
FanDome: In a Nutshell
Many fans were initially skeptical of the event. It soon erased those doubts after it released trailers and sneak peeks from the event. Among them were full-length trailers for Wonder Woman 1984, The Batman, and the Snyder Cut for Justice League. Additionally, The Suicide Squad and Black Adam received their own teasers. Fans of the Flash received a trailer for his TV show, which is (mostly) separate from the DCEU, and a first look into his upcoming, stand-alone movie. Trailers for the new Gotham Knights and Suicide Squad games dropped too. The event held panels for all superhero titles, with many revealing new information, details, and footage. A second FanDome will occur on September 12th, with more great news about the DC universe.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
The Fall of Justice League and the Push for the Snyder Cut
In March of 2017, Zack Snyder’s daughter, Autumn, tragically ended her life. To properly deal with his loss, Snyder stepped down from directing Justice League while it was in post-production. Hired by Warner Bros., Joss Whedon, the director for The Avengers (2012), stepped up to replace him. Worrying that fans had tired of Snyder’s vision, Warner aimed to rework the majority of Justice League for maximum appeal. Whedon wrote about 80 new pages of script and made extensive but rushed reshoots. Warner mandated the reshoots and a shortened runtime (only 2 hours). In the process, they altered or scrapped significant portions of Snyder’s movie for Whedon’s more marketable version.
The end result angered fans, with many feeling angered that Warner had so dramatically ruined Snyder’s vision. This sparked a massive online movement pressuring them into releasing the Snyder Cut. The movement picked up speed with Snyder’s many public endorsements as well as those from the main cast. Warner conceded, and on May 20th of this year, Snyder announced its release on HBO Max in 2021. With the announcement of FanDome, all eyes were on Snyder and Justice League.
Accruing over 10 million views on YouTube in about a week, the Snyder Cut dropped its first teaser into the public eye to massive support. Snyder tuned the trailer to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” a nod to Autumn Snyder’s memory while also symbolizing his and fans’ excitement for the movie.
The trailer showed various new scenes left out of the original movie. As shown in previously released footage from Snyder, Superman dons his famous Black Suit from after his death in the comics. Many fans were disappointed in Whedon’s lack of characterization for Cyborg and the Flash, which Snyder aims to fix. The trailer shows Victor Stone dominating in football and more of his origins as Cyborg. It also shows the Flash saving Iris West, a love interest of his from the comics, and utilizing new powers of his. For the villains, more of Darkseid’s ancient invasion of Earth is shown. This is a change from Whedon’s cut where Steppenwolf invaded instead. Speaking of Steppenwolf, his character design appears very well upgraded.
Snyder gave out some information at a panel during the FanDome event. He expanded a little more on Cyborg’s role, calling him “the heart of the movie.” He also talked more about the Flash, including his emotional arc regarding his father’s wrongful imprisonment and time-related powers. After interviewing some fans, Snyder covered how the movie would be released. Snyder announced it would be released in 4 1-hour segments next year. However, he did not mention a specific release date.
The Wonder Woman trailer was almost as popular as the trailer for the Dark Knight, and it too was immensely important during the event. While the first trailer focused more on Pedro Pascal as the mysterious villain, Maxwell Lord, the FanDome trailer concentrated on Kristen Wiig’s iteration of Cheetah. She has a new costume before fully transforming into an animal-like form by the end of the trailer. Several scenes of her and Wonder Woman fighting are shown. More of Diana’s Amazonian childhood is shown as well as her relationship with her long lost lover Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine.
The start of the panel began with director Patty Jenkins and the cast of the new movie, who directed the previous Wonder Woman, being introduced. Together, they answered fan questions for their movie. No more information about the movie was released, but they mostly talked about their experiences filming. A special guest included none other than Lynda Carter, the renowned actress who portrayed Wonder Woman in the late 70’s. Before showing the trailer, Gal and the cast went over cosplays and fan arts for the iconic heroine. Gal talked about the importance of being an icon for female representation and how inspiring it can be. As of writing, the movie is slated for release in October 2nd, 2020.
Lead actor Ezra Miller and director Andres Muschietti, who directed the recent It movies, and Christina Hodson, the movie’s head screenwriter, lead the panel for their upcoming Flash movie. Almost right away, Muschietti talked about the movie being about time travel. In other words, Barry will figure out how to use his abilities to travel through time. He and Hodson reference the Flashpoint comics, in which Barry travels back in time to save his mother from being murdered and his father from being wrongly incarcerated. In doing so, he begins to deteriorate reality, causing the creation of various branch universes.
Most excitingly, Ezra talks about how the movie will open up the DC multiverse. Many DC movies take place in their own universes. As Ezra and Hodson talked about the multiverse, they showed footage from from various DC properties: the current DCEU movies, George Clooney’s Batman, Michael Keaton’s Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman from the 70’s, the Flash’s CW show, Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, and even Keanu Reeves’ Constantine. In introducing the multiverse, the Flash’s movie will open up the immensely exciting possibility of all characters from different movies colliding.
Lastly, Muschietti revealed some new concept art for the new Flash movie. Firstly, he introduced a new suit for Barry. The suit is much lighter and sleeker, sticking to his body more organically. The director mentions how Batman has helped him build his new suit. In doing so, he shows some concept art of what appears to be Barry fighting alongside Michael Keaton’s Batman. Keaton and Ben Affleck have reportedly been in talks with Warner Bros. to reprise their roles as Bruce Wayne in the Flash movie. The movie is still very early in development, with a release date in mid-2022.
CW’s The Flash
In the realm of TV, actors in the CW’s Flash show talked about their characters. They focused on where the show and its characters would be headed in its next season following the events of the Arrowverse’s Crisis on Infinite Earths event as well as the events of the season finale. Lastly, they released a new trailer for the show’s 7th season, set to debut sometime in 2021.
DC FanDome continued.
To read more about DC FanDome, including the dawn of a new Batman and the return of the Suicide Squad, click here.