After some highlights from Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One and Blade Runner 2049, the real star of Warner Bros.'s Hall H takeover at San Diego Comic Con Saturday was the DC Comics panel. The studio announced a slew of new movies (like Wonder Woman II), flipped the script on previously announced movies (The Flash movie will now be Flashpoint), and addressed the rumors that Ben Affleck is ready to bounce from his Batman gig. There's a whole lot of shit to unpack from this panel, and a few surprises like maybe Justice League will be good, and why is it so hot when Jason Momoa makes kids cry? So let's parse through everything you need to know about DC and Warner Bros.' upcoming films.
Justice League, Now Being Marketed as a Wonder Woman Movie, Actually Looks...Good?
Justice League has been plagued by rumors of extensive reshoots ever since Joss Whedon took over directing duties from Zack Snyder (in the wake of his daughter's death), which the cast addressed head-on at Comic-Con. Ray Fisher, who portrays Cyborg, said the reshoots were "brief, if anything" and insisted Whedon was mostly there to put on the finishing touches.
Regardless, the trailer that debuted today in Hall H was highly impressive. The film, which gathers Batman (Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Momoa), Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Fisher) to take on the villain Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) ,who hails from a race of "New Gods" and presumably has a pone to pick with the world created by the old gods (you know, the ones from Wonder Woman's mythology). The original teaser trailer focused on Batman gathering a group of heroes in the wake of Superman's death, but after the massive success of Wonder Woman, this new Justice League trailer might as well have been the trailer for Wonder Woman II. She's in the majority of the trailer (with Moma's Aquaman the second highlight) and we even get confirmation that the Amazons of Themyscira are getting in on the action.
If there were any doubts that Justice League might be as messy as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, this trailer helped ease those concerns. Could we finally be entering the era of great DC films? I hope so, especially since DC Comics' print issues have been so refreshing and vital to the comic book landscape this year.
Is Superman Really Dead?
If you ask Momoa, like a kid in the audience did, he will tell you: "Son, I'm not sure if your parents showed you the last movie, but Superman's dead." The moment, said in jest, probably scarred that kid for a few months but let's also admit Momoa tormenting kids is kind of a turn-on. Gadot saved the day like she always does by chiming in: "If you're a big fan of Superman, I'm sure you're going to be very, very happy to watch Justice League." Because, duh, nobody thinks Superman is dead. But at least Henry Cavill gets to enjoy a vacation while everyone else is doing a press tour!
Why Aren't We Getting Aquaman Sooner?
Aquaman doesn't come out until goddamn December 2018, so exclusive footage of the film where Momoa is fun and charming and stunts like him running through Hall H carrying Aquaman's triton will have to hold people over until well over a year from now when he gets his own movie.
Is Patty Jenkins Directing Wonder Woman II?
Who knows! Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer at DC Comics, announced that the film is happening and he's working on the script — rumored to be set during the 1980s Cold War with the Soviets — but there was no announcement about Jenkins returning to direct. It wouldn't be uncommon for a popular franchise to dump its female director for a man when the sequel rolls around (hello Fifty Shades of Grey), but WB doesn't seem insanely stupid so Jenkins will assuredly return to helm the sequel.
What the Hell Is Flashpoint?
We'd be here all day if I tried to explain the DC Comics arc known as Flashpoint so let's just say it involves The Flash traveling across multiple timelines to save his mother's life in the past (and fix DC's continuity, which has always been a mess). We already did Flashpoint on the TV series (literally last October!), but for some reason, WB wants to do it in their cinematic universe too. I'm a diehard fan of Flash, but I'll admit that this doesn't make any damn sense. Audiences barely know Miller's Flash, so why should his first film involve straightening up the timelines of the DC Universe? Shouldn't we actually get to see him, I don't know, as a character before we jump into a convoluted story that's more plot than character?
Of course, there are rumors that using the Flashpoint story might be an easy way to recast Affleck's Batman. But surely there's an easier way to do this than using a popular character to service a casting decision?
Does Ben Affleck Hate Being Batman?
I need everyone to leave Affleck alone to vape in his house and rewatch Red Sox games on VHS. When Paper isn't drudging up 20 year old quotes to try and call Affleck homophobic, you have The Hollywood Reporter calling him too out of shape to play Bruce Wayne. I've had enough and Affleck has had enough. He was downright giddy talking about how much he loves playing Batman and that he's "the greatest fucking part in the world" and he's "thrilled to do it." Affleck even claimed he'd play an ape in the background of one of The Batman director Matt Reeves' Planet of the Apes films, that's how much he loves him.
Is Green Lantern Coming Back?
The trailer for Justice League mentions Green Lantern and DC has a film titled Green Lantern Corps slated, so we can probably expect some casting on that front to roll out within the next year. It probably won't be Armie Hammer and I'm sure he's pressed.
What's Up With Gotham Sirens?
There was no news about the upcoming film starring Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Catwoman, but David Ayers is still attached to the film and planning to make it.
What Else Is DC Planning to Release and Will It Be Good?
Well, aside from Flashpoint, Aquaman, Wonder Woman II, Gotham Sirens, The Batman, and Green Lantern Corps, they're also making a Shazam! movie I'm not sure anyone asked for. But we're getting it anyway! Shazam is the alter ego of a young boy named Billy Baston who can turn himself into a superhero by uttering the words "SHAZAM!" If this sounds like a '90s movie starring Sinbad, that's probably because it should be.
Justice League Dark is also slated, based on the 2011 comic series of the same name. This version of the Justice League gathers DC's offbeat and occult characters, rather than traditional heroes like Wonder Woman and Superman. The original line-up of the group consists of John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Shade, The Changing Man, and Zatanna. Constantine has already appeared in the DC Universe in a 2005 film starring Keanu Reeves and a canceled 2014 NBC TV series starring Matt Ryan. After the series was canceled, Constantine showed up in an episode of Arrow. But as DC has established, the films have no connection to their TV universe, so don't expect Ryan to appear in Justice League Dark.