2017 was an interesting year for the DC Comics half of the "Big Two." While Wonder Woman was a massive success, smashing box office records and becoming one of the best movies of the year, other areas DC's empire made headlines for different reasons.
With the tragic loss of Batman icon Adam West, The CW's popular DC Comics Arrowverse shows becoming ensnared in Hollywood's sexual misconduct scandal, and all of the complications with Justice League in seemingly every stage of the film, many of DC's more newsworthy moments this year left the entertainment giant trying to figure out what next.
Of course, a new year means a new start and DC has some promising things on the horizon for 2018. Aquaman is set to hit theaters next December and the comics side of DC Entertainment is poised for a good new year as well. DC Comics dominated the top ten best-selling comics titles of 2017 and one of those hits, the Watchmen crossover Doomsday Clock, has only begun with the second issue of that title coming out just last week. So, before we start to look forward to the promise of the new year, let's take a look back at the biggest DC-centric stories of 2017.
While contemporary portrayals of Batman in both film and television depict the Caped Crusader as being a dark, brooding character, the definitive small-screen Batman was a distinctively lighter character. Adam West's portrayal of the iconic hero in the classic 1960s Batman television series gave the world The Bright Knight, a campy, humorous take on Batman that in turn made West himself an icon.
However, the world of Batman grew a little darker back in June when, after a short battle with leukemia, West died at age 88.
"Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight, and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans' lives," his family said in a statement when news broke of West's passing. "He was and always will be our hero."
West's final performance as Batman, the animated Batman vs. Two-Face, was released in October.
Ben Affleck's status as Batman came into question early in 2017 and as the year closes out fans still aren't certain what the actor's status is when comes to the Caped Crusader. Last January, it was announced that Affleck was stepping down as director of The Batman and a few months later, news hit that Warner Bros. Studios was looking to "gracefully usher" the actor out of the role of Batman entirely.
Affleck addressed the idea that he would be leaving the role of Batman at San Diego Comic-Con in July, not only confirming that he was "thrilled" to be playing the character, but that he was excited to star in The Batman under the direction of Matt Reeves, who took over the project after Affleck's departure.
"With Matt Reeves doing it, I would be an ape on the ground for Matt Reeves, never mind being Batman," Affleck said at the time. "It's incredible."
However, Affleck's statement hasn't quieted the rumors that he might be walking away from Batman entirely. As 2018 dawns, rumors that Jake Gyllenhaal or Jon Hamm might take over for Affleck have been making the rounds while Affleck himself has hinted that he is "contemplating" an exit from the DC Extended Universe role.
The eagerly-anticipated superhero team up film Justice League was in post-production when a personal family tragedy for director Zack Snyder changed the trajectory of the film.
In May, Snyder announced that he was stepping away from Justice League in order to spend time with family following the tragic suicide of his daughter, Autumn.
“In my mind, I thought it was a cathartic thing to go back to work, to just bury myself and see if that was way through it,” Snyder said. “The demands of this job are pretty intense. It is all consuming. And in the last two months I’ve come to the realization...I’ve decided to take a step back from the movie to be with my family, be with my kids, who really need me. They are all having a hard time. I’m having a hard time.”
While the idea of pushing back Justice League's release was considered, Warner Bros. ultimately brought Joss Whedon on board to complete the film. Whedon ended up doing reshoots and making changes to the film, so much so that he ended up receiving a writing credit on Justice League and leading many fans to, once the film was released, petition to see what Snyder's cut would have looked like.
Even before Justice League debuted in theaters, controversy about the film's Rotten Tomatoes score was a hot topic.
Ahead of the film's debut, Justice League's Rotten Tomatoes score was leaked on social media and revealed that the eagerly-anticipated film only had a 48 percent fresh rating. The leak of the score would prove to only be on element of the controversy. Fans also had questions about the film's actual score, considering the disparity between critical response and audience reaction. Critics largely panned Justice League (the film sits at a 40 percent critical score as of the time of this article) while audiences had a far more positive response to the film. Justice League's audience score was dramatically higher -- 78 percent.
Of course, this wouldn't be the last time in 2017 where a film's Rotten Tomatoes score was called into question. Just a month after Justice League's release, Star Wars: The Last Jedi also encountered controversy around its rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Superman doesn't have a moustache. That's something even most non-comic book fans can tell you. But when it came time for Henry Cavill to film his reshoots on Justice League, Cavill was in the middle of shooting Mission: Impossible 6 and in that film, Cavill's character has an impressive moustache.
To keep Cavill in compliance with the demands of his Mission: Impossible 6 obligations as well as keep Superman appropriately clean shaven, Justice League employed some seriously expensive CGI. The removal of Cavill's moustache via VFX cost millions of dollars and Cavill insisted that the digital shave wasn't all that difficult, explaining the what the process for the digital shave was.
However, when the film finall debuted, fans saw for themselves that Cavill's digital shave didn't quite go as well as the actor had insisted. The end results left Superman with an odd-looking upper lip, a far cry from Cavill's earlier insistence that the moustache was "nothing to cover up."
When Superman was killed fighting Doomsday at the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, many fans wondered how Justice League would bring the hero back to help fight Steppenwolf and his Parademons.
While man were hoping that Justice League's resurrection of Superman would lead to seeing the hero don the black super suit, how he actually returned in the film ended up not involving a wardrobe change. Instead, Bruce Wayne has the idea of using Cyborg's Mother Box technology to bring Clark back to life. Despite Wonder Woman and Aquaman being less than convinced, Clark is given a jolt and Superman returns.
Of course, it wasn't quite that easy and Superman initially attacks the team before the presence of Lois Lane seems to do something to restore Superman. After flying off with Lois, Superman returns just in the nick of time to help the League defeat Steppenwolf and Superman is back in all his glory.
Of course, should Man of Steel ever get a sequel, explaining how Clark Kent has returned to life might be a little more complicated.
After the massive success of Wonder Woman earlier in the year there were high hopes that Justice League would follow in that success. However, that ended up not being the case.
Instead, Justice League struggled at the box office. The film was initially expected to make $100-$120 million in its opening weekend, but that number quickly dropped to $93.5 million. And things did not improve for the Warner Bros. DCEU film. By the time Justice League ended its box office run, the film made roughly $675 million total, making the film the second-lowest earner of the franchise ahead of Man of Steel. Even the critically panned Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad did better than Justice League, marking a sad finish for a film that had held so much commercial promise.
Wonder Woman was a huge success for Warner Bros. in 2017. The film not only did well at the box office, but it was well-received by critics and fans alike.
And it wasn't just star Gal Gadot receiving all the praise. Gadot's co-star Chris Pine also was praised for his role as Steve Trevor, so much so that despite the character's death -- Trevor sacrifices himself to save the Allied Forces from a deadly chemical weapon developed by German military scientist Doctor Poison near the end of the movie -- fans hoped that the DC Extended Universe would be able to find a way to bring Chris Pine -- and Steve Trevor -- back for Wonder Woman sequels.
While clones, magic, and a Captain America-like time jump situation all have been suggested, fans would even settle for Steve Trevor to get his own prequel film. And the best part of that option? Fans could get more Etta Candy (Lucy Davis) action, too.
Hollywood was rocked by sexual misconduct allegations in 2017. As victims began opening up about the harassment they had experienced in all facets of the film and television industry, many actors, directors, and producers came under investigation with several of them resigning or even being fired over the allegations.
That included Supergirl and The Flash producer Andrew Kreisberg. In November, Kreisberg was suspended from his duties on The CW Arrowverse shows following a report alleging that he had a pattern of abusive behavior over several years, including inappropriate physical contact with the sexual harassment of 15 women and four men. While Kreisberg denied the allegations, he was fired two weeks later.
Despite the scandals and Justice League's lackluster performance, 2017 wasn't all bad for DC and that's due in no small part to the massive success of Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman became the highest-grossing superhero origin movie in the United States ever, beating out Sam Raimi's Spider-Man. The film also closed out the year as the third highest-grossing film for the entire year, behind Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
And while the film smashed records at the box office -- Wonder Woman is the highest grossing film ever directed by a woman, the largest domestic opening for a film directed by a woman, and the largest box office opening for a comic book movie featuring a female lead -- the film was a critical success as well. Wonder Woman has landed on a number of top lists for the year, including AFI's Top Ten Movies of 2017 and has garnered quite a bit of Oscar buzz as well.
For fans, however, the perhaps the best part of Wonder Woman's theatrical success is that a sequel has already been greenlit, meaning Wonder Woman will return to theaters on November 1, 2019.