With a 2023 Slate Hobbled by Controversial Stars, Warner Bros. and DC Stick to 2022 Titles in Muted Comic-Con Appearance

For most of the 2010s, Warner Bros. cast a massive shadow at San Diego Comic-Con. Between its substantial presence on the showroom floor and a pull-out-all-the-stops display in Hall H that could stretch well beyond two hours, the studio apartment was second to none — not even its main rival, Marvel Studios — in its ability to leverage the largest fan conventionality in North America to its advantage .
This class, the studio took a decidedly unlike access. It skipped the testify floor completely, including a presence for DC Comics. And while it did use its hour-long panel in Hall H to showcase two of its 2022 releases — “ Black Adam ” and “ Shazam ! ferocity of the Gods ” — the studio apartment ’ randomness biggest DC movies for 2023, “ Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom ” and “ The Flash, ” were wholly MIA. There was no mention of other DC titles like “ Batgirl ” ( expected to debut this year ) and “ Blue Beetle ” ( the first Latino superhero film ), nor updates on the future of Gal Gadot ’ s “ Wonder Woman ” and Robert Pattinson ’ s “ The Batman. ” ( interim, persistent internet rumors of an appearance by “ Man of Steel ” star Henry Cavill proved to be arsenic baseless as they seemed. )

alternatively, “ Shazam ! 2 ” star Zachary Levi bantered with costars Lucy Liu, Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer and conductor David F. Sandberg, while Helen Mirren and Rachel Zegler appeared in a scripted video recording message in which Mirren celebrated her female costars by saying, “ Yay, cunt office ! ”
It was up to Dwayne Johnson, in costume as Black Adam, to bring the play, emerging on a raised chopine surrounded in smoke and sending a gobble of lightning into the hearing — activating blue lights in lanyards handed out to the Hall H audience .
The crowd lapped it up, but there was a palpable sense that they were eager for more : An hearing extremity asked Levi if Shazam would fight Superman ( Levi played dumb and then winked at the hearing ), and Johnson was asked how Black Adam would fare against the world of steel. ( Johnson ’ s eyebrow-raising reply : “ It probably all depends on who ’ second playing Superman. ” )
This is besides the inaugural Comic-Con for Warner Bros. under its new possession at Warner Bros. Discovery, and CEO David Zaslav has made clear he ’ second taking a hard look at outgo across the company — including for events like Comic-Con, where studios have to shell out for endowment, caparison, department of transportation and staff. studio insiders say “ Aquaman 2 ” and “ The Flash ” are besides far away on the schedule to warrant a big splash at Comic-Con, or to have enough materials to support one .
In former years, though, Warner Bros. has used Hall H as a launch pad for films well beyond the calendar class. The 2014 panel for the studio apartment included the first-ever look at 2015 ’ s “ Mad Max : Fury Road. ” Zack Snyder first announced 2016 ’ s “ Batman v Superman ” at Comic-Con in 2013 ; the panel for the film was held in 2015 .
Both “ Aquaman 2 ” and “ The Flash ” completed shooting months ago, which could have given their respective directors, James Wan and Andy Muschietti, clock to put together at least some footage to whip up the buzz commensurate with the characters ’ stature among the Comic-Con close.

“ Aquaman 2, ” however, costars Amber Heard, who barely spend months at the kernel of one of the surly public court battles in Hollywood history against her ex-husband Johnny Depp — during which Heard ’ s condition in the film was a major point of controversy. A jury found in June that Heard and Depp each defamed each other, but Depp was awarded millions more in damages against Heard, who was besides relentlessly ridiculed and excoriated by Depp ’ sulfur fans on social media. ( She filed a notice of solicitation on July 21. )
And “ The Flash ” star Ezra Miller is facing multiple allegations of abusive demeanor, including choking a womanhood in Iceland and harassing another woman in her dwelling in Berlin, a well as two arrests in Hawaii this year — once in March, for disorderly behave and harassment, and another a calendar month late, for second-degree attack. ( Miller has never commented on the allegations of mismanage against them ; a beginning close to the situation told Variety in June that the actor is privately focusing on their health and bring around, hoping to address the allegations at some point in the future. )
The circumstances of Heard and Miller ’ sulfur situations are quite different. however, in both cases, Warner Bros. is facing down an impossible dilemma without much precedent, even in the # MeToo earned run average : How to promote their escapist superhero franchises when their stars are embroiled in toxic scandals that overwhelm all other conversation about them .
In the case of “ Aquaman 2, ” Walter Hamada, who runs the studio ’ s DC unit, testified in a video deposition in the Heard-Depp trial that the studio apartment did consider recasting Heard in the function of Mera antonym star topology Jason Momoa because the actors “ didn ’ metric ton have a set of chemistry together. ”
“ editorially they were able to make that relationship make in the first movie, but there was a concern that it took a bunch of feat to get there, ” Hamada said. It ’ s not precisely a rousing endorsement for a movie.

Mera, however, international relations and security network ’ t the cardinal character for “ Aquaman, ” and promotion for the film could downplay Heard ’ s presence. That international relations and security network ’ thyroxine possible for “ The Flash, ” which is built around Miller ’ sulfur performances as multiple versions of their speedster fictional character, Barry Allen. Though the studio could replace Miller for any future “ Flash ” movies, calls to reshoot Muschietti ’ s film with a new actor are financially indefensible .
The Flash was referenced during the dialog box, in the “ Shazam ! 2 ” dawdler, just not by name ; though the character appeared on sieve, Miller ’ s face did not. ( By line Aquaman and Batman get a wide name-check in the trailer, with Momoa and Ben Affleck ’ s faces both appearing on screen. )
At some steer, Warner Bros. will need to engage the DC fan base about these films and the actors within them. But rather than try to navigate these choppy waters in front of some 6,000-plus superfans at Comic-Con, Warner Bros. elected to avoid them raw — for now .

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