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When the stars of Warner Bros.’ upcoming DC slate take the stage at Comic-Con Saturday, the stakes couldn’t be higher. It will be the culmination of a months-long campaign to convince the fans who were disappointed by Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice that there is still plenty to look forward to in the DCEU.
The divided response to Batman v. Superman saw the studio tasked with reassuring the DC Comics faithful that there will be a course correction as they move forward with their movies — including the crown jewel, Justice League (opening Nov. 17, 2017).
In May, the studio elevated Ben Affleck, whose Batman was the best-received part of Batman v. Superman, to executive producer on Justice League and shuffled executives around behind the scenes. Warner Bros. also worked to win over press, inviting reporters to the London set of Justice League, where it promised a more fun, lighter tone for Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman followup. And on Tuesday, it released the much-vaunted R-rated, Batman v. Superman Ultimate Edition, which has been touted as clarifying some of the gaps from the theatrical release.
The studio has had major wins at Comic-Con in recent years, with the 2013 announcement that Batman and Superman would be facing off sparking pandemonium. Henry Cavill (Superman) and Affleck opening the Warner Bros. presentation in 2014 sent the crowd into a frenzy. And last year, with no Marvel Studios presence at Comic-Con, Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad footage was among the most buzzed about of the convention.
Suicide Squad (Aug. 5) and Wonder Woman (June 2, 2017) are confirmed to be a part of this year’s presentation, and it’s hard to imagine there won’t be a surprise appearance by the Justice League cast and a splashy sizzle reel from the film to accompany them.
Fandom has both a long memory (people still aren’t over 1997’s Batman & Robin) and a surprising ability to move on. Marvel Studios had an early misfire with 2010’s Iron Man 2, and in hindsight, Phase 1 films such as Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger pale in comparison both financially and critically to Phase 2 movies Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
If Suicide Squad, which is tracking for a huge opening, is well-received by fans, the DCEU will finally have the win it’s been craving since Man of Steel divided fans in 2013 — and all may just be forgiven.
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