During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, there were many drastic but necessary changes made to temporarily minimize large crowd gatherings. One of the many ways these newly announced health guidelines were implemented into social gatherings was by modifying how pop culture conventions or fan expos would be attended for the time being. Simply put, many of the organizations behind these events had two choices. Either take the route of offering attendees a safe way of interacting with convention activities from home or, in a more drastic fashion, shut down altogether and wait until the following year when they hopefully fully resume in-person operations.
A couple of the most prominent examples would be the 2020 San Diego Comic-Con deciding to have a slew of virtual events, ranging from Pokemon TCG tutorials to Mobile Suit Gundam viewings. E3, on the other hand, which is the most prominent video game-related expo there is, decided instead that it was in their best interest not to have an event that year, whether in person or virtual.
In the case of Warner Bros. Entertainment and DC Comics, the latter scenario was not even going to be an option. Hand in hand, the two powerhouse companies desperately wanted to show off to fans all the different forms of entertainment they had coming down the pipeline for 2020 and years beyond. DC FanDome was born.
DC’s Answer to Creating a Virtual Hub
Promptly named the DC FanDome: Hall of Heroes and starting festivities on August 22, 2020, this would culminate into a worldwide virtual convention with over 300 celebrities and many unique segments livestreaming straight into your living room. There were actor panels for future movies such as The Flash, Black Adam, and Shazam: Fury of the Gods. There were world premiere trailers for video games like Gotham Knights and Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League.
There were even some very promising deep-cut explorations of the DC Universe, such as the pioneers of Milestone Media discussing the future direction of the historical comic book company. In another eyebrow-raising segment, there was a discussion among prominent DC writers about how the Watchmen characters would further collide with mainstay DC heroes on a level we’ve never seen before.
DC and WB fans from all over the world could ask questions and show off various forms of artwork that they had made to other virtual attendees. Even though Hall of Heroes was brought to the stage during the midst of the pandemic, the groundbreaking virtual convention brought in over 22 million viewers. Because of FanDome’s obvious success, it shouldn’t be a shock to find out that Warner Bros. gave the go-ahead for the massive virtual event to reconvene the following year.
DC FanDome Brought the Magic
For one underlying reason, DC FanDome in 2021 was starkly different from what we experienced the previous year. Once again, the magic was in the air. Fans from all around the world were excited as ever to see sneak previews of trademarked DC heroes making their way onto the big screen, such as Blue Beetle in his debut film and Aquaman in his upcoming sequel, The Lost Kingdom. There was also a very interesting and surprising announcement that came in the form of an upcoming Batman audio narrative experience called Batman: Unburied, which made viewers more curious than they ever bargained for.
FanDome was a brilliantly designed and one-of-a-kind, much-needed haven for comic book fans during the time of a global health crisis. From the comfort of your own home, you could still feel an immense rush of excitement, knowing you were about to enter a unique electronic space. A virtual world shared by many others who immensely enjoyed the same fantastical worlds and characters as you did.
The number of convention attendees increased almost three-fold when compared to the previous year. Sixty-six million viewers tuned in during the festivities to witness firsthand all the announcements and news that DC had to offer. Even in 2021, every single highlight seemed to bring more positivity than ever to the king of virtual gatherings. But there was one pivotal downside to all of this, which showed that FanDome wouldn’t be sticking around for much longer. The 2021 edition would only have a runtime of about 4 hours compared to FanDome 2020, which was 24 hours long.
What Does the Future Hold for DC FanDome?
If that wasn’t enough as a sign of things to come, on September 1st, 2022, Warner Bros. Discovery made a formal statement declaring that FanDome would not return in the present year. Because the strict health guidelines that were in place due to the pandemic had ceased, WBD instead plans to make its physical presence known at numerous comic conventions around the world, declaring that they are thrilled to connect with fans once more in person.
While the digital convention has seemingly been discontinued, there is still much to be happy about, knowing Warner Bros. Discovery is looking to make a full-fledged return to a conference hall near you. It won’t be long until the familiar sound of raucous applause rocks through a theater right after a new DC movie is announced for the first time.