With all of the excitement Marvel Studios brought to Hall H on Saturday, it was easy to forget that there was another huge comic book studio bringing upcoming releases to theaters this year: DC. And while they didn’t bring a multi-year plan of tentpoles building up to two major crossover events, they still bought something pretty epic: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson!
Hosted by Tiffany Smith, the panel kicked off with a quick peek at Shazam: Fury of the Gods! With a bolt of thunder, we were reintroduced to the world of Billy Batson. And this time, the gods are angry at him and the entire Shazam-ily! Star Zachary Levi came out, in a grand fashion, telling audiences how much he missed Comic-Con, and what they could expect from the film.
He riffed about how much of a manchild he is, and how much he misses Nerd HQ. Then introduced the epic first trailer for the December release.
The trailer gives a good glimpse at the story of the film, which sees the Shazam-ily facing off against the daughters of Atlas, as they steal the power of the Wizard Shazam. It looks like another charming installment in what I consider to be DC’s most heartfelt franchise to date. But the surprises didn’t stop at the footage.
Levi and Smith brought out director David F. Sandberg and the rest of the cast: Jack Dylan Grazer, Asher Angel, and Lucy Liu — wielding the staff of the Wizard Shazam!
Each of the cast members spoke a bit about where their characters are and took some questions from the audience. Lots of questions about whether or not Shazam would fight Black Adam or Superman. Naturally the cast didn’t give anything away. But alas, time ran short, and the panel had to move on to the next huge release: Black Adam!
All of a sudden the lights went out, and we heard voice overs warning of the a change coming to the DC Universe. The room filled with streaks of lightning, and from the ground, surrounded by fog, rose Dwayne Johnson, in his Black Adam costume!
It was without a doubt the highlight of the panel! Following his arrival, the latest footage for the film debuted.
At that point, Smith brought out the rest of the cast and director Jaume Collet-Serra. Aldis Hodge, Quintessa Swindell, and Noah Centineo took to the stage, talking about Hawkman, Cyclone, and Atom Smasher respectively. Then they were joined once more by Johnson, now in street clothes.
Once more, the cast took a few more questions from fans. More about Black Adam fighting Shazam. A question came up about who’d win in a fight between Superman and Black Adam, which Johnson coyly said “Depends on who’s playing Superman.” At that point, the audience expected Henry Cavill to come out and make a big announcement. But nope. That didn’t happen. Despite how much hype from bad rumors went into the lead up to the panel.
That being said, all in all it was still a delightful little panel. It wasn’t the winner of Comic-Con, but it was pleasant enough as a runner up. And I think it generated some buzz for Black Adam. However, that being said, nothing can deny the power and charisma of Dwayne Johnson and his ability to command a room of 6,000 people.
Let’s just hope they bring more next year!