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      Warner Bros. To Hold Massive Virtual Event for Fans to Replace SDCC


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      Comic-Con may be cancelled this year, but Warner Bros. will convene a 24-hour virtual gathering of the biggest names in the DC Comics universe.

      The studio announced Tuesday that DC FanDome will be held on August 22 starting at 10 a.m. PDT.

      The event will feature talent announcements and reveal new content from WB games, comics, film and television.

      The announcement comes a couple months after Comic-Con, which attracts tens of thousands of comics fans to San Diego, was cancelled due to the coronavirus-related restrictions around large gatherings.

      Virtual panels will feature cast and creators from DC films including The Batman, Black Adam and Wonder Woman 1984. The panels will also highlight casts from television shows such as The Flash, Stargirl and Black Lightning.

      Wonder Woman 1984 was expected to be one of the summer's biggest releases, but its arrival in theatres has been delayed until October.

      FanDome will be spread out across six different areas on the event's website: Hall of Heroes, DC WatchVerse, DC YouVerse, DC KidsVerse, DC InsiderVerse and DC FunVerse.

      Content will be available in 10 languages.

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      DC FanDome A Virtual Geek Convention Rises as Real Events Close

      The real world is crushing and heartbreaking, so DC is creating a new one for fans to escape into.

      Conventions have become a kind of lifeblood for fandoms, a place to unite people from all over the world in a shared love for expanded fictional universes. These gatherings are where new TV shows and movies are announced, where stars come to meet and greet admirers. The events themselves can also be lucrative for studios, with festival-long badges selling for anywhere from $150 to more than $300.

      But all of them have been wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic this year, along with practically every other kind of large-scale conclave—including Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, which was canceled outright on Monday. On Tuesday, DC announced that it is stepping into the live-event void in a surprisingly ambitious way.

      The comic book and entertainment company is creating the DC FanDome, a free virtual experience set for August 22 that will run for an entire day. Insiders tell Vanity Fair it will be more than a glorified Zoom call. Expect not just panels and presentations, but something more akin to Fortnite or the little kids’ virtual playground Roblox—a digital world with a map of events that visitors can explore and attend, along with hidden treasures, secret rooms, and presentations to discover.

      A map of the gathering’s various worlds was included with the announcement, although we don’t yet know what it will look like when those areas are visited on computer screens. The event will be mainly accessible only on laptops or desktops, barring some technical innovation that makes it compatible with phones and tablets.

      While the ATX Television Festival and the Paley Center have been airing recorded panels in lieu of in-person gatherings, DC FanDome is making the convention experience more of a game. It won’t have avatars or characters that visitors can see, but they will navigate through this virtual world from a first-person perspective. Visitors can explore a gallery of comic book art, lingering as long as they like in front of the images—just like visitors in a museum.

      Panels will be presented with speakers appearing as holograms instead of via laptop cam videos from their homes, and the topics will range from new looks at director Patty Jenkins’s upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 (recently pushed back to an October release) to an exploration of the much-heralded Zack Snyder cut of Justice League, a film that was originally released with major retooling by Joss Whedon.

      Organizers also teased new information about The Batman, the forthcoming Caped Crusader film starring Robert Pattinson and directed by Matt Reeves—which was in the midst of shooting in England when the pandemic shut down production—as well as James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. Other presentations will focus on DC’s comic book slate and a universe of TV shows that includes Supergirl, Black Lightning, Superman & Lois, Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman.

      There will also be meet-up spots where subsets of the fandom can hang out together, like the Blerd & Boujee House. For the unfamiliar, “Blerd” is shorthand for “Black nerd” and “Boujee” is hip-hop slang (popularized by the Migos song “Bad and Boujee”), referring to something or someone who is luxurious, high-class, or upwardly mobile.

      While there’s no doubt people the world over are eager to resume attending real-life events, virtual festivities like DC FanDome may become a way for even more people to participate without the need or expense of travel, even after the threat of COVID-19 is a distant memory.

      San Diego Comic-Con, one of the largest fan gatherings in existence, has already announced it will host the virtual Comic-Con@Home this July on the same dates that the in-person event was set to take place. Film festivals may not be far behind, perhaps offering at least a sample of their wares in this format to those who can’t make the journey.

      Still, live events are major revenue generators for the cities that host them—and they’re profitable. As long as there is money to be made, people will be massing together for these epic events, once it’s safe to do so. If all goes according to plan, though, virtual conventions like this one may become an entirely new revenue stream.

      pDC FanDome Mapp

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