SAN DIEGO — After “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” put the launch of the DC/Warner Bros. universe on shaky ground, the studio came back swinging at Comic-Con Saturday armed with movie stars, brand new footage and a sense of humor.
The 6,500-some fans in Hall H got a glimpse of never-before-seen footage from the superhero all-star film “Justice League ” from director Zack Snyder, as well as the action-packed first trailer for “Wonder Woman ,” starring Gal Gadot.
Snyder and the cast flew in from London to tease “Justice League,” which is currently in production and not set to hit theaters until November 2017.
The lively “Justice League” footage highlights Bruce Wayne’s recruitment of what will be the Justice League team, including The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa). Ben Affleck, who plays Bruce Wayne/Batman, hyped the film with his fellow cast mates, including Gadot and Superman actor Henry Cavill — putting to bed any lingering suspicions that his character was actually killed off for good at the end of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
The lighter touch in the “Justice League” reel is likely a direct response to the widespread criticism of the self-seriousness of “Batman v Superman,” and will be a pivotal moment for the studio in bringing together all of the personalities that they hope will also stand on their own, much like Marvel and Disney have done with “The Avengers.” Warner Bros. has 10 films pegged to the interconnected universe over the next few years including “Suicide Squad,” which comes out next month, “Wonder Woman,” ”Aquaman,” ”The Flash,” and the stand alone “Batman” film, which Affleck is directing and starring in.
To kick things off, Affleck was joined on stage by all of his fellow directors David Ayer (“Suicide Squad”), Patty Jenkins (“Wonder Woman”), James Wan (“Aquaman”), Rick Famuyiwa (“The Flash”) and Snyder.
“DC is the foundation of what we all know about comic books and heroes. To have my voice be a part of that is really exciting,” Famuyiwa said.
Wan, who made his name in horror films like the “Saw” and “Conjuring” films said that he’d be bringing some of that sensibility to “Aquaman” as well.
Neither Wan nor Famuyiwa had any footage to show, since “The Flash” and “Aquaman” don’t come out until 2018, but fans did get a first look at director Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman ,” which highlights the romance and World War I-era adventure of Diana Prince’s origins. The movie comes out in June of 2017 and will be the first time the iconic superhero has had her own film in her 75-year history.
“Knowing how many people care so much for this character … it was important to portray (her) in a way everyone can relate,” Gadot said, seated alongside co-stars Chris Pine and Connie Neilsen, who plays her mother. Audiences first met Gadot’s “Wonder Woman” in “Batman v Superman.”
The baddies of “Suicide Squad,” out Aug. 5, took the stage too, including stars Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto.
“This is not a movie about good versus evil,” Smith said. “This is a movie about bad versus evil.”
It wasn’t all comic books and superheroes in the studio presentation, though. Audiences saw the first trailer for “Kong: Skull Island ,” a 1970s-set King Kong story starring Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman and “Straight Outta Compton’s” Jason Mitchell and Corey Hawkins, from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts that comes out in March 2017.
“Kong is film history. Kong is where genre met mainstream,” Vogt-Roberts said of the classic character.
The studio also unveiled a trailer for “The Lego Batman Movie,” an irreverent, joke-packed spinoff of the breakout “Lego Movie” character voiced by Will Arnett set for February 2017.
Charlie Hunam was also there to tease “King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword ,” which looks as frenetic and deadpan as most of director Guy Ritchie’s films, as was the cast and director of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ,” coming to theaters this November.
A title and ship for new ‘Star Trek’ series: ‘Discovery’
The next chapter of the “Star Trek” franchise will be called “Star Trek: Discovery.”
The title and footage of the starship Discovery were teased at the end of a Saturday panel at San Diego Comic-Con International featuring actors from every previous “Trek” series.
“Discovery” executive producer Bryan Fuller said the show coming to the CBS All Access streaming video service will draw upon the optimistic tone established by “Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry.
“We have to celebrate a progression of our species,” Fuller told 6,500 fans gathered inside the San Diego Convention Center. “Right now, we need a little help.”
The brief teaser featured close-ups of a Starfleet vessel called the U.S.S. Discovery moving out of a docking station located within an asteroid.
Fuller was joined at the pop-culture convention by original “Trek” series star William Shatner, “The Next Generation” actors Brent Spiner and Michael Dorn, “Enterprise” leading man Scott Bakula and “Voyager” actress Jeri Ryan.
‘Vampire Diaries’ to end after 8 seasons
The eighth season of “The Vampire Diaries” will be the supernatural series’ final entry.
The cast and crew of the CW show announced Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con International that the forthcoming season will be its last.
“The Vampire Diaries” executive producer Julie Plec called the ending “bittersweet and emotional.”
Plec was joined at the pop-culture convention by executive producer Kevin Williamson and cast members Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Kat Graham, Candice King, Zach Roerig, Matt Davis and Michael Malarkey.
The adaptation of the book series debuted in 2009 and centered on the spooky happenings in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia.
The eighth and final season will premiere Oct. 21.
‘Double Dare’ revived at rowdy Comic-Con event
For one night only, Marc Summers returned to the podium to host “Double Dare.”
The kids’ game show was celebrated Friday night during a raucous invite-only Comic-Con event that revived the super sloppy Nickelodeon series to commemorate its 30th anniversary.
“The fans of this show are so passionate, it seemed like the best way to honor that passion was to bring it back,” Summers said. “What better place to do that than at Comic-Con?”
The messy affair, which was streamed live on Facebook, featured adult fans — including this reporter — and cast members from the Nickelodeon kids’ sketch series “All That” serving as contestants. The red and blue teams answered trivia questions, competed in physical challenges and took on an obstacle course.
“It feels like no time has passed and my maturity level remains the same,” said “All That” cast member Lori Beth Denberg.
The truncated final course featured four of the show’s signature stunts, including a massive human hamster wheel, a whip cream-covered slide and a giant, snot-filed nose.
The event looked like a typical episode of “Double Dare,” which originally ran from 1986 to 1993, but it was certainly an adults-only affair. The party’s attendees sipped free-flowing booze from an open bar, and Summers and Denberg exchanged some cheeky sexual innuendo on the obstacle course.
“That was the stuff you never heard on Nick,” joked Summers.
The celebration marked Summers’ first time hosting “Double Dare” in 16 years. While the game show is no longer produced, reruns frequently air as part of a 1990s-themed programming block known as “The Splat” on the TeenNick network.
San Diego Comic-Con International continues through Sunday.