San Diego Comic-Con 2017 has come to a close after four days of panels, trailers, cosplay and toys. The Monday morning after Comic-Con always brings a flurry of news both large and small from the convention floor, and if you weren’t among the fans glued to the coverage over the weekend it’s easy to get a little lost as you’re trying to find the big stuff. So, if you missed Comic-Con or you just want a nice refresher course, here are the biggest pieces of news from this year’s events.
And if you’d like to catch up on trailers, we’ve got a round-up of the essentials on that front too.
BEN AFFLECK DENIES HE’S DONE WITH BATMAN
Heading into SDCC last week one rumor was dominating the nerdier corners of the internet: Despite a new planned solo film for the character, Ben Affleck could be out as Batman after this fall’s Justice League. Affleck’s been gradually reducing his role in that film over the last few months (he was originally set to direct it) but until this weekend it was a given that he would be the star. Amid reports that he’d be bowing out, Affleck took the con’s Hall H stage during the Warner Bros. Pictures panel to assure everyone that’s not the case.
“Let me be very clear,” Affleck said, “I am the luckiest guy in the world. Batman is the coolest part in the universe. I’m so thrilled to do it. It’s fucking amazing.”
The star went on to say he would “be an ape on the ground” for The Batman director Matt Reeves, and that he believes all of the Warner Bros. executives who’ve given him their assurances they want to keep him around.
So, that’s that. Unless it isn’t.
THE FLASH MOVIE GETS AN INTRIGUING NEW TITLE
Eventually, Warner Bros. will give Ezra Miller’s Flash his own movie but it’s not clear when. The project’s had trouble getting off the ground, losing two directors and sending the script back to the drawing board. At this point, a release date for the film is still to-be-determined but on Saturday Warner Bros. did reveal an intriguing new title: Flashpoint.
Now, all we know at this moment is that title. There’s been no elaboration from DC Films on the plot, but if that name sounds familiar it’s because it’s also the title of a 2011 DC Comics crossover event from Geoff Johns (a major creative for at DC Films) and Andy Kubert. That event sees Barry Allen (aka The Flash) waking up to an alternate reality where he has no powers and the Justice League never formed. Realizing something is very wrong, he sets out to find Batman. In this reality, Bruce Wayne’s father Thomas took up the mantle after his son was gunned down. Ultimately, Barry’s efforts to restore his reality create a brand-new one. This is the New 52 universe DC used to reboot its entire comics line in the fall of 2011.
So, what does this mean for the DC Extended Universe on the big screen? Maybe nothing. Maybe it’s just the title, like what Marvel did with Age of Ultron for The Avengers. Maybe it’s just an excuse to have a big reality-hopping adventure with Miller’s Flash. Or maybe, just maybe, this is how DC plans to ultimately replace Ben Affleck as Batman. The implications are still very mysterious and the film is still a long way off, but this news blew up Twitter when it hit.
SHAZAM! IS THE NEXT BIG DCEU FILM
The future of the DC Extended Universe is a little murky right now. We know a lot of films are planned – including The Batman, Wonder Woman 2, Green Lantern Corps, Gotham City Sirens and the aforementioned Flashpoint – but very few of these films have released dates. We’re getting Justice League this November, Aquaman in December of next year and… that’s basically it. Now, though, we do know which film is next on the production docket.
It was announced during Comic-Con that Shazam! will head into production for DC very early next year, with director David Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation) at the helm. “Shazam!” is Billy Batson, a boy with the power to turn into a fully-grown superhero by uttering the word…“Shazam!” The character has a distinguished history and at one point in the early 20th century was outselling Superman at the newstands. He was known as Captain Marvel, but for obvious reasons DC Comics has altered that mantle in recent years. He’s got a very loyal and beloved fanbase and, with his Superman-level power set, will be a very interesting addition to the DCEU.
At this point the Shazam! development is most notable for the casting of Dwayne Johnson as the character’s archnemesis, Black Adam. However, DC Films co-head Geoff Johns told Yahoo! that Black Adam will actually not appear in the Shazam! film and will instead debut in his own future solo movie. Billy Batson and his heroic alter-ego have yet to be cast.
SPAWN RETURNS TO THE BIG SCREEN
Two decades ago, Image Comics superhero Spawn – a demonic avenger who was one of the biggest-selling characters of the 1990s – got his own movie. It was a PG-13 disappointment, and ever since then Spawn’s creator – Image Comics co-founder and comic book legend Tood McFarlane – has been working on a way to return the character to the screen. For the last five years or so, McFarlane has regularly updated fans on his progress in creating a new Spawn script, this time for an R-rated adventure, and he teased that Comic-Con would bring a big announcement. He was right.
McFarlane revealed that an R-rated Spawn adventure is indeed on the way and that it will be produced by Blumhouse, the revered studio responsible for horror hits like Get Out and Split. McFarlane will write and direct it himself and hopes to enter production early next year. There are no plot details yet, but McFarlane has teased a “dark supernatural thriller” for his beloved hero.
The beloved sci-fi franchise Stargate has been somewhat dormant since the Universe TV series went off the air in 2011, but creators and fans have always been hopeful about a return. In this age of franchise mania, a revival seemed increasingly likely and over the weekend we finally got it.
Stargate: Origins, a 10-episode animated series, was announced by MGM Thursday. The series will be a prequel focusing on the character of Catherine Langford, whose father Paul was one of the discoverers of the titular Stargate portal. Langford has previously appeared in episodes of the Stargate: SG-1 TV series and this new drama will focus on her early efforts to unravel the Stargate’s mysteries.
The series will stream digitally on-demand, which brings us to the other exciting piece of Stargate news. Stargate Command, a new digital platform and “fan experience,” was unveiled as the official streaming home of Origins and other potential new content.
FRANK MILLER WILL TELL SUPERMAN’S ORIGIN STORY
Superman’s had a lot of origin stories over the years, from Birthright to Secret Origin to Superman: Earth One. However, none of those were written by the comics legend who gave us Batman: Year One, the definitive origin story for the Dark Knight.
Frank Miller – also the creator of The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City and 300, among other iconic work – revealed on Saturday that he’s working on Superman: Year One, his version of the Man of Steel’s origin story. Miller will cover writing duties for the project, while the art will be handled by another icon of comics: John Romita Jr. (Superman, Amazing Spider-Man).
Miller’s touched on Superman in his DC Comics work before, including the immortal fight with Batman in Dark Knight Returns, but he’s never really hunkered down to tell his own Superman story. There’s no clear release date yet and much of Miller’s work (ahem, Holy Terror!) isn’t what it used to be, but it’s hard not to be excited about this.
THE BLACK PANTHER CAST HAS A PARTY
The Marvel Studios panel on Saturday in Hall H is often the Main Event of the con. The studio brings their biggest stars, their biggest news and their biggest footage to wow the crowd and this year was no different. Next year’s Black Panther is one of Marvel’s most-anticipated upcoming offerings and much of the cast was on hand to celebrate the reveal of some new footage from the flick. Unfortunately, that footage isn’t online. What is online though is what the Panther cast did after their movie had its moment.
Watch the unbridled joy of a group of people who just know they made something amazing.
MICHELLE PFEIFFER RETURNS TO SUPERHERO FILMS
Michelle Pfeiffer rocked one of the most iconic costumes and gave one of the best performances in superhero history as Catwoman in Batman Returns. A quarter-century later and she’s returning to comic book movies, this time for Marvel. The studio announced during its Hall H panel that Pfeiffer is joining upcoming 2018 sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp. Her role: Janet van Dyne, wife of Ant-Man tech inventor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas).
In the comics, Janet is a charter member and former leader of The Avengers, one of the most important women in the Marvel Universe. In the films, she’s presumed dead after shrinking down to impossible size alongside her husband years ago. The reveal in Ant-Man that someone could actually come back from such a fate left the door open for her return and now it seems she will indeed appear. So, a character relegated to footnote status in the films for years might finally get her due.
Captain Marvel! pic.twitter.com/fOjQPiEMGo— Brian Truitt (@briantruitt) July 23, 2017
CAPTAIN MARVEL HEADS TO THE ‘90S
One of the great question marks on the Marvel Studios slate heading into Comic-Con was Captain Marvel, the studio’s much-anticipated first woman-led superhero movie. We knew Brie Larson would be playing the title role and that the film will be out in 2019, but that’s about it. Now, we have some fascinating new details.
Apparently, the film will be set in the 1990s, before any of the main Marvel films with the exception of Captain America: The First Avenger. Nick Fury, the infamous head of SHIELD, will be so young in the film he’ll still have two good eyes. That raises all manner of questions about how Larson will be incorporated into the current timeline, but that wasn’t the biggest bombshell. The film will also introduce the Skrulls, perhaps the most famous alien race in Marvel Comics. The Skrulls are primarily associated with the Fantastic Four but they’ve had run-ins with the Avengers as well, particularly in the “Kree-Skrull War” storyline from 1971-1972. Since the Kree were already introduced via Guardians of the Galaxy, this conflict will serve as the backdrop to Captain Marvel.
“There’s an entire section of our comics that deal with the Kree/Skrull War and we haven’t tapped into that at all,” Marvel head Kevin Feige said. “And we thought that would be an amazing, huge portion of mythology to belong to Captain Marvel.”
The Skrulls, it should be noted, are also well-known shapeshifters. In the 2008 storyline Secret Invasion it was revealed that they’re so good at shapeshifting that they’d infiltrated the whole Marvel Universe, impersonating various heroes. So, keep that in mind as you ponder a post-Infinity War MCU.
INFINITY WAR ROCKS HALL H
Among the most-anticipated Comic-Con events was the presumed public release of the Avengers: Infinity War trailer revealed by Marvel the previous week at D23. Sadly, it didn’t happen. The Infinity War footage absolutely rocked Hall H with its Thor/Guardians of the Galaxy team-up and bearded Captain America, but the rest of the world still hasn’t seen it.
However, we did get that awesome Infinity War poster you’ll find at the top of this article. Look at it, study it, get lost in Chris Evans’ beard. A trailer can’t be far away.