For 2021, DC FanDome was a nearly four-hour livestream updating fans on the latest DC films, TV series, comics projects, and video games. Even just watching it for the film and TV content was a task worthy of Earth’s Mightiest Mortal, and categorizing the announcements is the sort of thing you might set Brainiac 5 to do. Nevertheless, we tried to live up to Shazam and Brainy, watching all of it and compiling everything related to film and television at DC FanDome 2021 — from the look of Blue Beetle’s costume to Ace the Bat-Hound’s drinking habits. To say there is a lot of DC Entertainment material on the horizon is an understatement. Just take a look at what we learned:
DC Entertainment made a big push with its feature film slate this time around. With two films shooting, one completing production, and two in pre-production, there was a lot to talk about even if only The Batman had a proper trailer to unveil during the event.
FanDome began with a look at Black Adam, featuring a scene of the title character (played by Dwayne Johnson) being awakened from millennia of slumber by archeologist Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi). Of course, her team of explorers came with an armed detachment, so bullets start flying and Adam calls down the lightning. Literally. Combined with some behind-the-scenes footage, it at least confirms that the film – in development for over a decade – will actually come out next year.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom also offered some behind-the-scenes footage and a first-look at Black Manta’s (Yahya Abdul-Manteen II) upgraded costume. Eagle-eyed viewers also spotted a black variant of Arthur’s (Jason Momoa) classic costume. Shazam: Fury of the Gods also unveiled a behind-the-scenes sizzle reel with co-star Asher Angel confirming the end of principal photography. The film sees Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu playing goddesses arriving in Philadelphia to tangle with the Shazam Family. It’s due out in 2023.
(Photo by DC)
Over on the HBO Max side of things, the principal creatives and stars of Batgirl and Blue Beetle offered the briefest of teases, including design art of the title characters’ respective costumes and a broad sense of what the films will be. Batgirl star Leslie Grace said the character is a “girly girl, but she’s capable and strong and determined… She’s sincere and wants to prove herself.” Co-director Adil El Arbi also confirmed the character will have red hair and use a cowl as part of her outfit (some recent Batgirl costumes favor goggles instead).
“It’s going to be crazy, but it also has feelings,” Blue Beetle screenwriter Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer said of the project. “It contains all that’s great about Blue Beetle.” Things like the scarab, Jaime Rodriguez’s (Xolo Maridueña) costume, and his family were referenced as key elements Dunnet-Alcocer and director Angel Manuel Soto wanted to bring to the screen. “He’s a Mexican-American kid who wants to be a part of this world, but he’s hitting the same obstacles a lot of us face,” the screenwriter said. He also added that the “closeness of family is part of what sets him apart” from other superheroes – noting he has no way of keeping his suit or powers a secret from his parents.
(Photo by DC)
And as for the suit? “I know for a fact we have the best suit, and I haven’t seen it yet,” Maridueña said.
There is one animated feature on the roster, DC League of Superpets, which sees Johnson giving voice to Krypto the Superdog while Kevin Hart voices Ace the Bat-Hound. In a brief clip, Ace can be seen, well, relieving himself while Krypto looks on in dismay. The film will also feature the voices of Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski, Vanessa Bayer, Natasha Lyonne, Diego Luna, and Keanu Reeves. It is set for release on May 20, 2022.
(Photo by DC)
But perhaps the most impactful presentation outside of The Batman trailer was the first-look at The Flash. The long-in-development film — which has missed half-a-dozen release dates at this point – genuinely looks amazing from the footage director Andy Muschietti compiled for FanDome. For one thing, Barry’s (Ezra Miller) new suit(s) looks incredible, and the teases of Supergirl (Sasha Calle), Batman (Micheal Keaton), and a second Flash (also Miller) provided some of the best moments of the whole four-hour event. Capping it off: a shot of Barry examining the Batmobile as it hides under a tarp.
If there’s one thing this year’s FanDome made clear, it is that HBO Max is the new hubworld for DC’s expansive multiverse. Beyond Batgirl and Blue Beetle’s eventual debuts on the service, Pennyworth – previously an Epix exclusive – will be moving to Max for its third season late in 2022. The previous two seasons will become available to subscribers early next year.
Additionally, most of the DC Universe orphans Max adopted — Titans, Doom Patrol, and Harley Quinn — will return for subsequent seasons next year with fourth seasons of Titans and Doom Patrol confirmed at the event. Harley Quinn will return “sometime in 2022,” according to Harley (Kaley Cuoco) herself. The last of the rescued DC Universe shows, Young Justice, debuted two episodes of its fourth season (subtitled “Phantoms”) on Max immediately after FanDome concluded.
If all of those shows weren’t enough, Peacemaker’s premiere date was also announced during FanDome: January 13, 2022. Creator James Gunn also unveiled a teaser trailer which suggests Peacemaker (John Cena) may actually grow a little on his next adventure. That said, the star said the hardest part of playing the character is “becoming a super a–hole. I’m usually a regular a–hole.” Gunn wrote all eight episodes and directed five, extending his time in the DC Multiverse. In fact, Cena expressed a wish to continue playing Peacemaker in subsequent seasons, which may mean more of Gunn’s sensibility in the future.
Although HBO Max’s focus is on the DC superheroes, it will also be the home of DMZ, a four-part limited series based on a comic published by DC Comics’ now-defunct Vertigo imprint. Ava DuVernay directs Roberto Patino’s adaptation of the book, which stars Rosario Dawson as an outsider who may tip the scales in the US’s second civil war.
But for all the hour-long live action DC shows calling HBO Max home, Green Lantern was conspicuously absent from FanDome. The program, from Arrowverse mastermind Greg Berlanti, is set to star Jeremy Irvine as Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott and Finn Wittrock as 1980s fan-favorite Guy Gardner and sees the characters in their respective time periods facing social issues and weird space threats. Also absent: Berlanti’s Strange Adventures anthology series, first announced at HBO Max’s initial public unveiling, and any mention of J.J. Abrams’ live-action projects.
(Photo by Everett Collection)
One project Abrams did promote, though, is the upcoming Batman: Caped Crusader. Produced and developed by Abrams, Batman: The Animated Series’ Bruce Timm, long time DC animation executive producer James Tucker, and The Batman director Matt Reeves, the series will go back to what Timm called the “original principles” of Batman: TAS with fewer broadcast restrictions. Set in the early days of Batman’s war on crime, it will feature a version of the character who uses Bruce Wayne as a mask to hide his activities as the Caped Crusader.
“It’s just Batman,” added Reeves. “No Justice League.”
And because the series takes place so early on in his career, animated Batman audiences will see him in a lower-tech situation than usual. According to Tucker, “We find him discovering these things.” That means viewers may see several iterations of the Batmobile and, quite possibly, the trial-and-error involved in creating Batarangs. Tucker added that as the series begins, no one trusts the Batman and vice-versa. He also teased that some of the Dark Knight’s traditional relationships may not form. “Nothing is assumed in this series,” he said.
Reeves and Timm agreed the series will lean heavily in to the 1940s noir style, but the characters will be more modern in terms of inclusivity. Timm also added that the program will be, overall “more Batman: The Animated Series than Batman: The Animated Series.” It is unclear when the series will debut, but it will be available on both Cartoon Network and HBO Max.
Caped Crusdaer isn’t the only word on DC animation, though, with an HBO Max Superman animated series, My Adventures with Superman, in production, the preschool-targeted Batwheels preparing for release, the currently running Aquaman: King of Atlantis, and a stellar upcoming lineup in the dependable DC Animated Movie direct-to-video range.
Indeed, DC FanDome was the occasion to debut a trailer for Catwoman: Hunted, an upcoming DC Animated Movie featuring Elizabeth Gillies as Catwoman and Stephanie Beatriz as Batwoman. The pair must team up to take down the organization known as Leviathan in a stylish, anime take on the characters. Other DC Animated Movies set for release in 2022 include Green Lantern: Beware My Powers, Battle of the Super Sons, and a compilation of the 2022 DC Showcase shorts headlined by Constantine: The House of Mystery. Matt Ryan will, of course, reprise his role as magician and con man John Constantine.
Before all of that, though, is the release of Injustice, a DC Animated Movie based on the video game and comic book of the same name. During FanDome, a clip was released featuring Joker’s (Kevin Pollak) “masterpiece” – a brutal act of violence which sets Superman (voiced by Justin Hartley) on a dark path. The scene is surprisingly grim and offers those less familiar with the DC Universe Animated line an idea of the sorts of films available. Injustice debuts on home video platforms this Tuesday.
Although not part of the HBO Max lineup, The Sandman received a little recognition via the debut of Gwendoline Christie’s Lucifer in a first-look photo. The image recalls the Bowie-esque appearance the Prince of Darkness assumed in his first Sandman comic book appearance. Its unclear if Christie will keep the look in subsequent appearances or evolve like her comic book counterpart. Curiously, though, Lucifer’s initial androgyny gave way to a more masculine countenance as The Sandman’s story wore on. Perhaps that will also be part of the changes writer Neil Gaiman and his collaborators have in mind for the adaptation of his comic book.
Shortly after the Lucifer reveal, Gaiman took to Twitter to clarify that the series will debut on Netflix sometime in 2022. Initial messaging about the series suggested it could launch in late 2021, leading to some confusion and Gaiman’s exasperation in the tweet.
In one of the earliest announcements of the event, The Flash TV series star Grant Gustin revealed Barry is finally getting gold boots like his comic book counterpart. “It’s always been the final element that I think has been missing from our suits,” Gustin said. “The suit we have now is the closest we have to a lot of the [comic book] iterations … but I always thought the gold boots would be the final touch.” DC released a close-up image of the boots and a look at the suit with the footwear added. As Gustin intimated, the boots have long been a running joke behind the scenes. They will debut when The Flash begins its eighth season in November.
Beyond the long-awaited kicks, the Arrowverse was also represented at DC FanDome via an assortment of special videos. Batwoman stars Javicia Leslie and Rachel Skarsten teased Batwoman and Alice’s state-enforced team-up while the cast of Supergirl looked back their six seasons. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow celebrated 100 episodes in 100 seconds and the cast of Superman and Lois presented a tour of the Kent farmhouse.
And although not technically an Arrowverse show (it takes place on the Post-Crisis Earth-2, after all), Stargirl took an extended look at this week’s upcoming episode, which sees Courtney (Brec Bassinger) trapped in the Shadow Lands, where she runs into the Golden Age Dr. Mid-Nite (Alex Collins).
But to cap off the Arrowverse presence at FanDome, Naomi star Kaci Walfall debuted a first look at the program, in which she stars as a high schooler who discovers her connection to the DC Multiverse is more staggering than she can imagine. And as the scene shown during FanDome revealed, it all begins with a Superman sighting.
Naomi will debut on The CW sometime in 2022.