How I experienced the event and what I thought of it.
So, DC Fandome (the first part of it at least) has come and gone. The first-ever all-digital all DC event was held last weekend and came with a slew of new announcements, cool interviews and more. I'm sure that by now many outlets have already published everything there is to say about the event, have dissected every single trailer frame for frame and that there really isn't really anything I can add to all of that. But you know what? That's OK. I never intended this post to be like that. No, what I want to talk about is my own experience with DC Fandome. To tell you what I thought about the event and what I thought about the panels I 'attended'. So, this is how it will go: this post will get divide the entire event up in the different panels I watched, in the order, with my final thoughts on the whole event at the very end. Some of the panels I have a lot to say on, some of them not, but I'm going to cover all of them either way.
Without further ado, let's dive in!
Wonder Woman 1984
DC Fandome kicked off with the one movie of the DCEU that just can't catch a break when it comes to the release: Wonder Woman 1984. Originally meant to release last summer, it got pushed back 2020 due to failure of the Justice League movie and the behind the scenes organization of the DCEU that followed. With the current pandemic, its release date got pushed back once more. We haven't had much in terms of promotional material or news regarding the movie as a result of this, so this panel was something many fans were looking forward to. They were starving for some more news about the movie and they got it! I have to confess that due to network issues, from both the events servers and my own connection, I missed out on big chunks of the panel but I still feel I got what I wanted out of the panel.
During the panel director Patty Jenkins alongside cast members, Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Chris Pine (Steve Trevor), Kristen Wiig (Cheetah) & Pedro Pascal (Maxwell Lord) answered fan-submitted questions alongside taking a look at a bunch of lovely fan-art. Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman in TV show way back in the '70s, also popped up. As I said, I mostly missed this part, but from what I saw it was pretty nice. I did catch that the team behind the movie are confident that the movie will hit the cinema's and not go to video-on-demand, but we'll have to wait and see if this ends up happening. Luckily for me, the connection was stable enough that I got to see the premiere of the new trailer without any hiccups. The trailer didn't offer up much in terms of story, but it finally gave us as a good look at Cheetah something fans had been waiting for.
Warner Bros. Games Montreal Announcement: Gotham Knights
Right after the Wonder Woman panel came the announcement of a brand new game. We knew that Warner Bros. Games was working on two new DC projects, but only the Suicide Squad one had been properly revealed. Presented by Shazam actor Zachary Levi, I think I'll get the most by talking about the trailer itself, as that took up most of the panel. Said trailer begun with vague news reports about a disaster that had happened. The more the broadcasts go on, the more information you get. To get to the point: Bruce Wayne has been pronounced dead after (presumably) Wayne Manor gets blown up. At this point, I thought the game might be an Arkham Knights sequel and you know what? It kind off is! It's not set in that universe, made clear by a walking Barbara Gordon but it sure takes a lot of inspiration from those games. With Batman (seemingly) dead, Gotham City has descended into chaos. It's up to the rest of the bat-family, Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood and Robin, to save the city and get to the bottom of the mystery of who killed Bruce. Oh, and take down the Court of Owls as well.
The announcement was accompanied by some gameplay footage as well, showing off the game in action. It looked quite good, definitely something you expect the next-gen console to run. It's still a pre-Alpha built so don't expect it to look quite this good at launch though. Still, it was impressive and so was the gameplay. The section felt rather scripted to me, but you got a good look at the combat and what the game had to offer. Very Arkham like, in terms of that but that isn't a bad thing necessarily. Any Batman game will inevitably be compared to the Arkham series, it's what basically every superhero games will be measured up to for quite some time to come. From that standpoint, I think it is a smart decision to focus on the Bat-Family instead of Batman himself in this game. Not only does it offer something new gameplay-wise in that the game will be co-op focused, but they don't have to directly 'compete' with the Arkham games as Batman himself won't be the playable character.
Let me end my section of Gotham Knights on a small, little detail that I noticed from the footage shown that I think is pretty neat. They've given Batgirl police inspired baton to fight with and I find this a stroke of genius. Not only do you refer to her father Commissioner Gordon and her growing up amongst police officers, but it also serves as a connection between her and Nightwing. A baton and fighting sticks aren't that different from each other after all!
|Yeah. This is a cool.|
After two longer panels, Saturday ended for me with two small panels back-to-back. First: the introducing Flash panel all about the upcoming movie. This panel didn't offer up much in terms of information really. It was mostly Ezra Miller and some of the crew, including director Andrés Muschietti, talking about the Flash itself and what they wanted the movie to be. We got a teaser image showing the Flash's new costume for the movie including a Michael Keaton Batman tease but that was about it. I still wouldn't call the 10-minute panel a waste of time though. The panel might not have offered much in terms of information on the movie, but it was quite fun to watch. It had a cool opening show different incarnations of the Flash, it had cheesy title cards that divided the panel up into sections, Ezra Miller's flash-facts and just a lot of heart and humour.
My Saturday ended with the Beyond Batman, which was a bit of a mystery panel. We didn't know much about the panel, other than 'Batman Beyond and his mentor, Old Bruce Wayne, intercept a broadcast of the 1966 Batman TV show!'. Turns out: this meant old Bruce (Kevin Conroy) and Terry McGinnis (Will Friedle) riffing on an episode of the old Adam West Batman for about five minutes. Fun if you like that sort of thing, but to me, it was a tad disappointing.
The Snyder Cut of Justice League
My Sunday started with quite a big panel, in terms of hype at least. The Snyder Cut. After a year's long fan-campaign Zack Snyder finally gets the chance to complete the movie he had envisioned all those years ago before that family tragedy forced him to step down as director. I was never that invested in the movement myself, I didn't even see the movie until it dropped on Netflix late last year I believe. I didn't like Batman V Superman or any other work by Zack Snyder really but I'm still invested in this version of the movie for another reason. I'm in it for the cast and crew, for the fans. That Zack and his wife and all of the people who worked on that original version finally get the chance to finish it. To close that chapter of their life. The movie might turn out spectacularly, it might suck, but I'm at least grateful that they got to finish it.
The panel itself was set up neatly. Zack Snyder himself interacted with the main cast of the movie, Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher and Ezra Miller who each brought a message/question of their own + a fan-submitted one. After that, Zack talked with two fans who were integral to the Snyder Cut fan-campaign which was a fun thing for Zack to do. It's because of these fans that we're getting the movie in the first place, so them acknowledging that like this is pretty cool.
Now for some of the announcements that the panel brought. We got something of a trailer, more akin to just some footage spliced together under Hallelujah, but it was good to see regardless. The point came across: this movie is going to be quite a different experience than the one seen in theatres, the Josh Whedon cut. There's too much in that footage for me to repeat here, but some of the things that caught my interest were a shirtless Darkseid, a new design for Steppenwolf, black suit Superman and who might just be Iris West. Zack also gave us some more practical details regarding the cut. The whole thing will be split up into four, one-hour parts but these parts will also be punt into one, four-hour-long bundle for those who want to experience it uninterrupted. Don't have (access to) HBO Max? Zack's got you covered! The team is also looking into other distribution methods for the movie. No word on what does will be yet, it might not even end up happening, but it's good to hear that they're looking into the option.
|All. Hail. Shirtless Darkseid!!!|
For the second Flash-related panel, we jump over to the world of TV. The CW is home to the entire universe of DC Superhero shows, of which the Flash is longest (still) running show as well as the most popular. With season 6 getting cut short due to the pandemic, I was interested to see if they were going to say anything about how they were going to work that into season 7. Almost the entire cast was present for the panel together with showrunner Eric Wallace. They talked a little about both seasons, some of the things they enjoyed doing as actors etc. They showed a sizzle real that had some new footage and talked about how the first few episodes of season 7 will cap off the Mirror Mistress story. Nothing out of the ordinary really, so let's move on.
Ask Harley Quinn
The second final panel I watched was the 'ask Harley Quinn' panel. I took a look at the pilot episode of the series and while I could see the show was good, it just isn't for me. The show has aired two full seasons at the moment and its popularity has only grown since the airing of that first episode. I watched the panel mostly because I was interested in how they would handle it. I wanted to see if and how the panel would be animated. It was indeed animated, but rather cheaply. They had a basic model of Harley Quin whose arms, lips, head and eye made basic movements. It wasn't much, but it did the job. Harley, voiced by Kaley Cuoco, answered viewer questions in her typical sweary manner though she did get censored. The biggest take away from the panel was definitely that a third season is still not confirmed, though could still happen.
Suicide Squad Kills Justice League
The last panel I attended was the Suicide Squad Kills Justice League one, the second WB games panel. We knew this game was coming, it had been announced a few weeks ago, but this was the first time we got to see it in action. In all honesty, I didn't like what I saw. From what I can tell from both the trailer and what they told about the game it looks to be an Overwatch/Destiny/Anthem clone with superheroes. The heavy focus on multiplayer, the entire four-player squad structure it all screams this to me. I never saw the appeal of those games, so this just doesn't interest me. I'm also not keen on the team recycling Brainiac as a villain (his broken-down ship is seen at the very beginning) and the 'evil' Superman from Injustice. Not the game for me, though it is interesting to know that it's set in the Arkham universe and is made by the same team as those games. Both games are Arkham sequels in their own way and I find that interesting.
So, those were all the panels I attended. With them out of the way, what do I think of DC Fandome on a whole? I think that the event was a success. I've never been to a convention myself, so I can't compare and contrast the two experiences but I enjoyed it and if social media is anything to go by so did many others. The Fandome itself was set up pretty slick with the basic live stream big on the stream with a Twitter feed on the right so you didn't have to feel you were alone. The panels were easily translated from how they would have been in real-life with added backgrounds and music here and there. Not every panel was of the same quality though and I'm not just talking about everyone's own internet connection or microphone setup.
Some had the aforementioned neat backdrops and added background music while others lacked it completely. I don't understand this decision if you can do it for a few panels why not for all of them? Go all the way with that I say, keeps the entire event more consistent and of a higher quality. What I also appreciated was the fun breaks in-between panels. You had stuff like the Beyond Batman riff where I no doubt others laughed hard at, but also lots of fan-art was shown off cool music was played and they even had Claymation segments!
DC Fandome, in my opinion, was a success. It gave the fans exactly what they wanted, including some fun stuff you wouldn't normally see at a con, all from the comfort of their home. It doesn't quite beat out an actual convention I'd think, you can't interact with anyone physically and the connection wasn't always the best. All in all though, a success nonetheless. I had fun with it and I'm looking forward to 'part 2' DC Fandome: Explore the Multiverse next month. I hope to see you there!