DC FanDome Should Be an Annual Event

If you were even passively paying attention to the Internet over the weekend, you most likely saw something relating to DC FanDome. The one-day virtual convention aired eight straight hours of programming across a 24-hour period, allowing fans from all over the world to check out the latest in DC Comics' movies, TV shows, comics, video games, and more. From the day opening with a new trailer for Wonder Woman 1984, to things closing with the long-awaited first footage from The Batman, FanDome provided DC fans with an experience unlike anything they'd seen before. To an extent, the very existence of FanDome is tied to the events of this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused essentially every major convention to move online or be canceled altogether. But DC FanDome undoubtedly made lemons out of lemonade, easily rising to the front of the pack of virtual conventions held this year -- and proved that it could and should still be an event in the years ahead.

Almost from the second that it was first announced, DC FanDome made headlines for its ambition and its wide variety of programming. The event's initial schedule and roster of guests ranged from current movie and TV actors, to decades-long veterans, to a rogue's gallery of comic creators. If anything, the scale of DC FanDome - and the exclusivity of it - proved to work in its favor, so much so that a slew of additional panels have had to be moved to a second event that will be held in September. Even with the entire slate of programming being split across two days, last week's event (dubbed "Hall of Heroes") still showcased a wide variety of programming, including at least half a dozen different movie panels, TV events for The CW's The Flash and DC Universe's Titans, and reveals of Gotham Knights and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League video games. In and amongst all of that were multiple panels surrounding diversity in DC storytelling, panels tied to DC's comics output for both Sandman and Milestone, and an entire discussion solely around confirming that the company is going for a live-action multiverse. Even the event's shorter moments - reruns of the underrated "World's Funniest" shorts that DC and Aardman Animation made years ago, snippets from DC-related documentaries, and five minutes of Kaley Cuoco's Harley Quinn making NSFW jokes - only kept the momentum of the event going.

Unlike the conventions that have come before it, which either tasked fans with choosing which of multiple panels was "most important" for them to pay attention to, or (in Comic-Con@Home's case) left fans a bunch of poorly-produced YouTube links to watch on their own time, DC FanDome truly embraced the idea of being an event -- one with something for everybody. (The production value of the event, complete with art designed by DC exec Jim Lee, made that abundantly clear, turning what could have been a series of boring Zoom calls into a dedicated virtual space.) If a fan was only really excited about one particular panel or reveal, the event as a whole could still pique their interest in some way, whether by alerting them to the existence of upcoming things like a Black Adam movie or sequels to Shazam! and Aquaman, or by showcasing existing properties that might not already be on their radar. And with the confirmation of the aforementioned live-action universe - and the sense that everything DC is connected, but you don't have to follow every single installment - fans could have their pick of what to be excited about. Are you not a fan of Robert Pattinson's Batman, who made his debut in the first trailer for The Batman? That's okay, because the day also brought concept art of Michael Keaton returning as Batman in the upcoming The Flash movie, and footage of Ben Affleck's Batman in Zack Snyder's Justice League.

(It's also worth mentioning the global and accessible nature of DC FanDome, which leaned heavily into how DC properties are embraced and loved throughout the world, all while keeping the event entirely free to ensure fans could participate from the comfort of their own homes. Comparing that to the way traditional conventions are run, with fans getting FOMO over not being in San Diego Comic-Con's Hall H during a major panel, there was something very surreal about the epic reveals and behind-the-scenes details being universally available.)

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Even then, the reveals and details from the day of FanDome still left fans with unanswered questions, ones that will hopefully help sustain hype around certain projects in the months and years to come. The Suicide Squad, which is set to debut next August, confirmed its eclectic roster of characters and shared a behind-the-scenes sizzle reel, but still left fans eager to eventually see actual footage from the film. Black Adam provided more details surrounding Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's long-awaited DC debut, but we still have no clue who will be playing the Justice Society of America characters joining him in the film. The Batman still has a majority of its movie left to film, but the footage screened at FanDome has already sparked dozens of theories amongst fans. Even with the logistics of the entertainment industry continuing to evolve amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and certain big-budget projects taking longer to hit theaters or get off the ground, FanDome still provided a sense that there will never be a shortage of things for DC fans to be excited about, and that details about them can be revealed without spoiling or ruining the plots of other projects. When you compare that to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has essentially screeched to a halt after productions were shut down and Black Widow's theatrical release was delayed, it's clear that DC has (and would have) enough pans in the proverbial fire to theoretically sustain making FanDome a recurring thing, with different projects coming into focus at different times.

While the entertainment and convention industry has essentially had to think on its feet amid the COVID-19 pandemic, DC FanDome showed the best possible result of that. It was a seamless virtual space for fans and creatives worldwide to connect when they desperately needed it, all while providing dozens of reasons to be excited for what's to come. Even when the convention circuit begins to return to a new normal, there's no reason why FanDome couldn't and shouldn't continue on. It allowed fans and critics alike to experience what the entire DC brand has to offer, "breaking the Internet" in a way that feels so much more profound than a weekend of media brands competing for attention in Hall H. DC's absolutely has a (literal) multiverse worth of existing and upcoming properties for fans to enjoy, and here's hoping that DC FanDome continues to play a part in that.