DC Comics and Warner Brothers brought their second annual FanDome on Saturday, October 16, 2021. The four-hour live stream updated many about new films, tv shows, comics, and games coming out soon. Some new bold adventures will come along, and others will be returning. We got insights on The Batman, The Flash, Black Adam, and more. Here are five major takeaways from the event.
#1 At long last, Dwayne Johnson joins the DC Universe.
It has been a long time coming, but the long-gestating film will be releasing in the summer of 2022. Johnson made an appearance at the FanDome, claiming he “was born to play Black Adam.” The teaser trailer (found here) gives a dark vibe from the antihero’s solo story. Many will be excited when he crosses over in the DC Extended Universe to meet Shazam or the Justice League heroes.
Johnson will also be in the upcoming DC League of Super-Pets film, voicing Krypto the Superdog. In May 2022, he will become joined by Kevin Hart, Marc Maron, John Krasinski, and Keanu Reeves.
Suppose Johnson decides to stick around in the DC for the long term. In that case, it will bolster their success as he is a well-renowned name and could easily have DC start making more headlines to combat the gargantuan nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
#2 HBO Max is the new foundation for DC’s projects.
If there is one thing that became evident during the event, HBO Max will start broadcasting more DC material. Batgirl and Blue Beetle, which both got design art and teases, will debut on the streaming service. Pennyworth’s third season will move to Max in 2022, and more shows will return with subsequent seasons.
And let’s be fair, Zack Snyder’s Justice League was the main selling point of HBO Max (as it wasn’t released theatrically) until Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat joined (via hybrid releases). They each garnered millions of views and brought in more subscribers. DC has already updated the service with their previous material and will continue onward.
And speaking of HBO Max…
#3 John Cena might have struck gold with Peacemaker.
John Cena’s Peacemaker, who debuted in The Suicide Squad, is making a return in a series centered around the villain on HBO Max. The FanDome announced that January 13, 2022, is the premiere date, along with a trailer that implies Peacemaker may have more of a heartfelt backstory. James Gunn wrote all eight episodes and directed five, and both he and Cena have expressed interest in giving the character more seasons.
The character was one of Cena’s best performances as of late as he embodied the role of a cold-hearted sociopath so well in The Suicide Squad. He utilized the “Johnny Topper” card, cherishes peace so hard he’ll kill anyone for it, and even wore tight white underwear that they brought back in the television series. Cena’s charisma and humor are unparalleled, and coupling that with an evil villain persona (which many folks had begged to see in his days during the WWE) is pure gold.
Having Cena continue to play this character for the future will continue to build his credibility as both a mainstream actor and box office sensation. And hey, since Dwayne Johnson is in the DC now too, maybe we’ll see a third showdown between them (since Johnson will not be returning to The Fast and Furious saga after his ongoing beef with Vin Diesel).
#4 Another Batman solo film (or franchise)?
Look, it doesn’t take a grain of salt to recognize how many times Batman has been portrayed in a live-action feature by different characters. Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck all have donned the black outfit. Now, Robert Pattinson will also play the caped-crusader role in the upcoming feature in 2022. And it is nothing again Pattinson since he is an extraordinary actor.
The problem is, it’s another Batman film. It’s another one we must all try to get excited for again. Not even Superman or Spider-Man could say the same thing since those films have not had that number of actors playing them. The trailers look fantastic, embodying a gritty tone and a dystopic Gotham City. Heck, even Colin Farrell’s transformation for the role of Penguin seems astonishing.
But it merely could be “another” Batman story. And since Ben Affleck remains signed with the DC Extended Universe, does that mean we have two Batman characters to deal with now? What is the goal for Warner Brothers and DC?
#5 DC is no Marvel, and Marvel is no DC.
Remember when Marvel Studios released a 3-minute video celebrating their accomplishments and future projects with a voiceover of the late Stan Lee in May 2021? Or how they now have a whole slate of Disney+ shows that still maintain the continuity of their franchise?
We’re getting to the point that Marvel has outgrown the term ‘hierarchy” because almost everything they’ve done with the Avengers and Spider-Man franchises has reliably earned money and reputation. The DC cannot quite grasp that because their poor officiating of the initiation of the DC Extended Universe nearly thwarted them, and the continuation remains middling.
Man of Steel was objectively fine, but then Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad broke the entire world (literally). Wonder Woman regained followers, but Justice League soured many. Aquaman, Shazam!, and Birds of Prey rebuilt the footing of DC storytelling admirably. Then Wonder Woman 1984 shattered logic. Zack Snyder’s Justice League pleased but cost Warner Brothers mightily. And The Suicide Squad was superb but lost the war to COVID-19 and branding.
DC taking baby steps to reach that level of respect Marvel holds is equally slow and unwieldy. Exactly how many more misses can Warner Brothers endure on the film side? What if this doesn’t lead to another Justice League film? We’re a long way from anyone reaching the heights of Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise.
From now on, DC needs to create compelling, consistent products and understand that it cannot catch Marvel’s wit and determination.
Build trust in the brand and then attempt the risk to pay off, not the other way around.