Saturday was a busy day for Keanu Reeves at Comic-Con@Home: He appeared in a panel celebrating the past – the 15th anniversary of his fan-favorite flick, Constantine – before looking to the future (and also the past), with a panel on the upcoming sequel Bill & Ted Face the Music. Plus, producer Guillermo del Toro and director Scott Cooper went deep on their creature design work for horror flick, Antlers, and Rick and Morty revealed a first look at the show’s fifth season.
We’ll kick things off with something Comic-Con–adjacent, rather than something officially from the convention. At fan event Justice Con, Zack Snyder dropped some big Justice League news. First up, he revealed that the world will get its first look at his cut of Justice League with a teaser that will drop at DCFandome, a free and global virtual convention taking place on August 22. (He will also reveal whether Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be a single movie or be cut into episodes at the convention.)
Then he threw red meat to the fans by showing a tiny bit of footage that revealed Henry Cavill’s Superman in a black suit in a deleted Justice League scene in which he flies to Bruce Wayne’s hideout and runs into Alfred. You may recognize the deleted scene from Justice League‘s home release, but in that scene the suit is still the usual red. And here we saw it in un-cropped IMAX formatting, which is the format in which the entire Snyder cut will be released. The story goes that Snyder always wanted Cavill’s Superman to don the black suit but that Warner Bros. felt it was too dark a turn for the Man of Steel.
Our first look at Henry Cavill in Superman's black suit from Zack Snyder's #JusticeLeague.
— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) July 25, 2020
In a special panel celebrating the 15th anniversary of comic adaptation Constantine – which, despite mixed reviews, has become a big audience favorite – Keanu Reeves revealed he had to do some reconciling when considering the role of the cynical DC Comics demon-hunting con artist and detective.
“I’m not English and I’m not blond, and the character is,” Reeves told Collider Editor-in-Chief Steven Weintraub, explaining his reaction to being pitched the role. “So I had to reconcile that, and part of that was, well, what was at the base of the character, what could I bring to the character, why even do it?”
Eventually Reeves says he connected with John Constantine’s cynicism, humanitarianism, and world-weariness. “He’s tired of all the rules and morals and ethics, and angels and demons, but is still a part of it,” Reeves said. “And I loved his sense of humor.”
Those tuned into the panel – which also featured Constantine director Francis Lawrence and producer Akiva Goldsman – hoping to hear official news of a sequel would have been disappointed. While Goldsman said they have always wanted to do a sequel and “we’d probably do it tomorrow,” Lawrence said that because of the movie’s oddness and only moderate box office success, “We always talked about a sequel more than the studio.”
One idea the trio considered involved Constantine waking up in a cell with a mysterious person who turned out to be Jesus.
Warner Bros. may consider changing its mind on the sequel front, given the slow-growing cult status the film has earned in the last 15 years. Lawrence, who directed the last three Hunger Games movies, said it is the movie about which people approach him the most; despite its box office performance and lackluster critical reviews, people love the movie.
As evidence of its improving reputation, he even gave us at RT a little shoutout: “Rotten Tomatoes posted an article apologizing to Constantine for, you know, the Rotten Tomato count that it had,” he said. And we did, sorta, in a piece you can read here.
Watch the full panel above, which includes breakdowns of some of the movie’s coolest scenes and an explanation as to why Michelle Monaghan was largely cut from the film, despite having signed on for and shot a major role.
On Friday night, during a not-actually-Comic-Con panel on Twitch, Adult Swim gave fans of Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon’s cult-hit sci-fi animated series a sneak peak of the upcoming season 5, which the Rick and Morty team has been working on remotely while in lockdown. The show’s first four seasons have all been critical smashes – season 4, which ended in May, is Certified Fresh at 94% – and Harmon revealed that he is already in the writing stages for season 6.
“I remember very clearly, when I was working with Scott and Guy Davis, and later with everybody at Legacy, creating the creature, I said, ‘You have to remember, we’re not creating a monster, we’re creating a God,’” Del Toro said. “So the design needs to have elements that are completely unnatural, that are almost surreal or abstract.”
The movie centers around the Wendigo, a mythical creature in the folklore of First Nations Algonquin tribes in the Pacific Northwest, and First Nations consultants worked with the creative team. “The Wendigo has very specific cues you have to follow,” Del Toro explained. “The antlers, for example, are a must.”
As with all of his creatures since Mimic, the Wendigo in Antlers will be largely practical, with some digital enhancements.
Cooper, who had never worked with creature effects, expressed his excitement about collaborating with Del Toro and his team for Antlers. “Guillermo and the folks at Legacy created something that’s wholly unique,” he said.
Watch the full panel for a featurette and teaser for the film, some deets on Del Toro’s upcoming Nightmare Alley – including how they’re planning to shoot with new COVID-19–related restrictions – and some serious filmmaking geekery. (Yes, this one goes deep on coverage.)
In a panel that was less about big news moments than sharing the love, Samara Weaving, who plays Bill’s daughter in the new movie, said her favorite moments on the project were witnessing the original trio work together.
“Watching those three have that very special [time], it felt almost intimate, that was really touching and incredible,” Weaving said. “I felt so lucky to actually be there and watch that.”
It was a sentiment Reeves homed in on, too. “I can’t feel or laugh or do anything like [that] the way that [I do] working on Bill & Ted and working with Alex,” Reeves said. “That doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world for me.”
Perhaps the biggest news from the Comic-Con panel on the hotly anticipated sequel came from Kevin Smith, who confessed at the outset to being a huge fan of the franchise and gave us our first indication of whether the new movie is any good. As well as claiming the movie is hilarious, Smith said, “I cannot tell you how emotional this movie was for me.” He also said it was “adorable.”
We’ll see whether the critics agree when the movie is release on-demand and in select theaters September 1, 2020.
One of the best-reviewed series from streaming newcomer Apple TV+, For All Mankind, gave fans a first look at season 2 with a new teaser trailer. And if you were looking for all-out war in space, well you’re getting it. The series tells an alternative history in which the Space Race never ended, and is created and executive produced by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), and Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi (Fargo, American Crime Story.) Stars Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Jodi Balfour, and Wrenn Schmidt return for season 2, which has no set premiere date as yet.