DC FANDOME 2021: A Disappointing, Bloated Event With A Few Awesome Reveals But No Real News
DC FanDome may have left us with a lot of cool sneak peeks and trailers to enjoy, but beyond that, a lack of news, content without context, and tonnes of filler ensured this was far from a must-see event.
Last year's DC FanDome arrived in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and was a welcome distraction. It certainly wasn't perfect (there were more than a few technical mishaps along the way), but yesterday's follow-up proved that Warner Bros. still has a lot to learn when it comes to connecting with its DC fanbase.
For the most part, we can't fault the content that was released; The Batman trailer, for example, is nothing short of extraordinary. New trailers for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and Peacemaker were appreciated, while those behind the scenes featurettes offered some fun sneak peeks at what's to come (Black Manta's comic-accurate costume in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom or Shazam! Fury of the Gods' villains were among the highlights).
For whatever reason, Warner Bros. failed to officially upload much of that content to YouTube this time, meaning that fans have been forced to rely on bootleg, not fully-HD copies. Making content exclusive to DC FanDome is one thing, but how many people really endured that entire three-and-a-half-hour broadcast and its overly cheery hosts? We're betting not as many as who watched those videos separately after the show. Beyond not being able to present them to you as we'd like, it doesn't really affect us, but for casual fans already turned off by the DCEU after a rocky few years, this wasn't the smartest way to reach them.
DC FanDome often veered from unbearable filler - The Suicide Squad's Flula Borg reeling off terrible jokes and endless galleries of fan art - to being all too brief. The Flash, for example, shared a minute-long sneak peek that teased Michael Keaton's Batman despite concept art from last year showing him suited up alongside the Scarlet Speedster. Supergirl has been spotted in full costume on the movie's set, but barely got a look in here. The celebrity guests, meanwhile, either read scripted promos or looked like they'd rather be somewhere else (there were, however, at least a few exceptions). Ultimately, there was nothing here to break the internet (why not share a first look at the Justice Society, for example?), and while we can appreciate that many of these movies have only recently wrapped shooting, this lack of effort means nothing beyond that trailer for The Batman is likely to leave a lasting impact.
That aside, the lack of news was definitely a disappointment. Sure, we got a piece of concept art for Batgirl and some DC TV renewals, but without a single release date or upcoming movie announcement, it's hard to start looking forward to the future of the DC Extended Universe beyond 2022. Once again, it feels like a lack of planning on Warner Bros.' part means DC properties are still low on the priority list and they probably know as much about what comes next as the rest of us. We're not even talking about building a shared universe here; simply knowing what's on the horizon for this DCEU "franchise" and having at least a few new movies and TV shows to look forward to would have helped DC FanDome a great deal.
Last year's Disney Investor Day was aimed more at investors than fans (hence the name), but along the way, Disney, Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar lovers were given years worth of content to look forward to, most of which actually had a solid release date or debut window. The DC Universe, meanwhile, remains in flux, and we could have all saved our Saturday morning/afternoon/evening had these sneak peeks just been dropped on YouTube. With arguably not a single reveal that couldn't have just randomly debuted on social media over the next few months, the "FanDome" no longer seems like an essential place to visit, especially when those organising it seem unable to connect with or understand the fans it's named at.