Comic-Con: Batman, Wonder Woman and Other DC Superheroes Suit Up for Marvel-Free Spotlight

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer Still - H 2015

After years of being big-footed by Marvel (who is skipping this year’s Con), DC’s heroes finally have a shot to shine … unless 'Star Wars' crashes their party.

A version of this story first appeared in the July 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Remember Comic-Con 2013? When Zack Snyder came onstage as a surprise guest at the Warner Bros./DC Comics panel and announced to a crowd of thousands that he’d be making another Superman movie, this one — incredible! — also starring Batman? It was the biggest moment of the convention … for about six hours. Then Disney/Marvel held their panel in Hall H, spilled a few details about Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron, and that’s all anyone remembers.

This year, though, Warners and DC finally might have a chance to steal the show. Archrival Marvel — with its $8 billion superhero empire — will be sitting out San Diego. Instead, Marvel presumably is saving its teasers for Disney’s biannual D23 fan event, which will take place just a month after Comic- Con. "I think it’s a smart play [for Marvel]," says one studio exec. "It’s a cool power move — they keep the mystery up."

It might turn out to be a cool move for DC, too. With Marvel out, Warners’ Saturday presentation — which will likely include the stars from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Justice League (Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller) and Suicide Squad (Jared Leto, Will Smith, Cara Delevingne, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman) together for the first time — definitely will grab attention.

"Comic-Con is a global event and offers a unique opportunity to interact directly with the passionate fans who flock to the convention from here and abroad and whose voice can be critical in a campaign. Our goal has always been to surpass even their high expectations. But with the rise of social media, the impact of a strong showing can truly reach around the world," says Warner Bros. president of worldwide marketing and international distribution Sue Kroll.

Alas, there is one Disney project with the potential to ruin Warners’ week. Star Wars is presenting for the first time since 2004 (when the title for Episode III was revealed to be Revenge of the Sith). While Lucasfilm and Disney showed off the first trailer for The Force Awakens at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim in April, there’s other news that they could reveal at the Friday panel including a director replacing Josh Trank in the spinoff or more casting for Rogue One. With many of the stars of The Force Awakens making their way to the stage, Star Wars fervor could very well eclipse any attempts by Warner Bros. to own the convention.

Don’t count out Fox and Legendary either, which will also both present on Saturday. Fox’s presentation will likely include many of the stars of X-Men: Apocalypse (a splashy cast that includes Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender), plus the leads of The Fantastic Four and The Maze Runner sequel, The Scorch Trials. And Legendary’s panel is expected to include Crimson Peak director (and geek favorite) Guillermo del Toro and talent from Krampus and Warcraft.