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Hangin' in the Hall of Heroes: A Fan's Day in DC FanDome

When I was six years old, my uncle gave me a box of toys that used to belong to my cousin. One toy, in particular, caught my eye: a man in a grey and black costume with a bat symbol on his chest. I asked my uncle what toy it was. That was the first time I heard the name “Batman.” Along with the toys, I was also given some videotapes. To my delight, several of the titles featured “Batman” on the box. I’m talking, of course, about episodes from Batman: The Animated Series.

From that point, I was hooked. As time passed, I would rewatch those tapes repeatedly and my toy collection grew. I’d recreate Batman’s adventures for hours, fighting the Joker or chasing Mr. Freeze’s truck with my toy Batmobile. I’m not even ashamed to say my favorite movie, at the time, was Batman & Robin. As I grew older, I began to read the Batman comics, which then led to my DC horizons expanding. What a cast of characters! Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, the list goes on.

Fast forward to today, I still love the DC Comics universe. I’ve seen countless movies and television series, played the games, and read more comics than I can remember; if it’s DC, I’ll dig it, especially the darker stories. Even the new DCEU movies are a huge source of enjoyment for me, yes even Suicide Squad. So, when I heard about DC’s exclusive online fan event being held this month, my excitement went through the roof. Let me tell you, they didn’t disappoint.

DC FanDome was a dream come true. I’d never been able to attend Comic-Con or similar occasions, so it was amazing that there was finally going to be an easily accessible event for fans everywhere. I didn’t go full cosplay, but I did come prepared. When the day came, I popped on my Aquaman shirt, sat at my desk with my Batman v Superman batarang on display and entered the ‘Dome.

From the moment the camera transported me into the beautifully rendered Hall of Heroes, I couldn’t believe how amazing it looked. Everything was so carefully constructed to give it the appropriately epic feel it deserved. The stage, designed by DC Comics legend Jim Lee, featured massive holograms of the big three: Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. It was tough to not get emotional when the event kicked off with the ultimate DC hype video of all the epic content we’ve seen over the years. It made it that much more exciting to see where the future of DC was heading over the course of that day.

All the panels were amazing. Each one featured crew members from around the world and it was truly special to see the extensive reach of DC fandom. There was something for fans of all ages: the original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter joining the Wonder Woman 1984 panel, fun Claymation videos of classic DC characters, and even animated Batman clips featuring my favorite Dark Knight, Kevin Conroy, and Batman Beyond’s Terry McGinnis chirping the classic Adam West Batman show. They also had insightful discussions on characters of color featuring new Batwoman Javicia Leslie and cool previews of Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson is gonna “Rock” it) and Shazam! Fury of the Gods. This was quite the show already, but I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about some of the day’s major highlights. Let’s get into it:

The Snyder Cut

Wow, it’s still surreal that we’re getting Zack Snyder’s vision of Justice League. This was a truly fantastic panel. The whole cast (minus Jason Momoa) turned out to ask Snyder questions from fans and there were also special guests from the Release the Snyder Cut movement to talk with Snyder about their work to get attention for the movie. As someone who joined in the tweeting, it feels good that Snyder is finally getting the chance to show his true cut (not the Josstice mess).

We also got to see the first trailer and it was a roller coaster of emotions. The first look at Darkseid and new Steppenwolf, more Cyborg and Flash (and Kiersey Clemons’ Iris West), dramatically improved art design, and even a burnt Joker card all played over a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” The final line of the trailer felt dedicated to the supporters of the Cut and it hit so hard in the context of the journey to get this movie made. Congratulations, Zack Snyder, you deserve it. Can’t wait for next year!

Gotham Knights

Not the Batman game I was expecting but this still looks very promising. I’ve seen concern about the game because it’s from WB Games Montreal (the makers of the maligned Arkham Origins game) but after a five-year gap between Batman games, I won’t complain. I love the use of the Bat Family in Batman’s absence especially a pre-Oracle Batgirl and even Red Hood. The Court of Owls story is perfect for this medium and my theory is that Batman only fakes his death to investigate the organization.

Which brings me to…

The Batman

Yes, I saved the best for last. This was the panel I was looking forward to the most. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a Batman fanatic so this was a big one for me. When the stage turned red and the music from the Batsuit test footage came on, a Joker-esque smile crossed my face. And then, they introduced Matt Reeves and I was hooked. It was great hearing all the attention and care Reeves is giving to this movie. I had no idea it took them a whole year just to design the Batsuit! Reeves answered some questions sent by fans, including some insight into his upcoming Gotham PD HBO series, and then he unveiled the big-ticket item of the night: the first trailer.

The trailer was FANTASTIC, which is impressive given that they only filmed 25% of the movie! So many awesome reveals: the full Batsuit, the first look of the Batmobile in action and the debut of Jeffrey Wright’s Jim Gordon. Colin Farrell’s Penguin makeup is outstanding, and I’m even more excited for Paul Dano’s dark take on the Riddler. His voice alone was chilling, and I like Riddler being used as a Zodiac-type villain (I still like you too, Jim Carrey). When Robert “Battinson” beat down the skull-faced goon, I literally shouted, and when he said “I’m vengeance” in his Bat-voice? Chef’s kiss. Also, Zoe Kravitz looks like she’s going to kill it as Catwoman, very agile and mysterious. I’ll be in the theater Day 1 and it can’t come any quicker.

Other Tidbits

  • Very excited for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and the Rocksteady Squad game, now if only they could announce the Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad (maybe at Part 2 on Sept. 12).

  • BTW, check out FanDome Part 2 on Sept. 12.

  • WW84 looks awesome and the Cheetah effects look great. Looking forward to more Themiscyra sequences.

  • ORACLE, SCARECROW AND RED HOOD ARE COMING TO TITANS SEASON 3! If you haven’t seen the show, get on that.

  • I like the concept to make Aquaman 2 more serious than the first but I hope they still keep some of the goofy aspects. The world needs more Topo the drum-playing octopus.

  • I can’t believe we’re about to have three Batmans! Welcome back, Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck!! HBO Max, PLEASE make Affleck’s cancelled solo movie into a miniseries, that is all.

Oh yeah, it’s a great time to be a DC fan.

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