With Marvel Studios on the sidelines at this year’s Comic-Con — along with Paramount and Sony — Warner Bros. was primed to grab the superhero spotlight at its panel Saturday morning, bringing out the big guns for its upcoming “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and bowing the first trailer for “Suicide Squad.”
To hammer home the message that it has come to play, the studio showcased a sizzle reel of its ambitious slate of upcoming DC movies, which stretch through 2020. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman — every major DC hero got his or her moment. “There’s a massive DC universe that’s just waiting to explode,” said "Batman v Superman” director Zack Snyder.
Director David Ayer took the stage to offer the first extended look at “Suicide Squad,” slated for 2016, which will bring together a group of villains to do good in their own bad way. The studio was clearly looking for the chance to put the film on the map, unveiling a dark, violent teaser that introduced the team of anti-heroes, including Jared Leto’s Joker, which the crowd lapped up excitedly.
“It’s all about canon; you guys know what you want, and you’re going to freaking get it,” Ayer said, bringing much of the film’s cast to the stage, including Will Smith, Joel Kinnaman, Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney.
The actors barely said a word, but they probably didn’t need to. Given the enthusiastic reaction to the trailer, it’s safe to say “Suicide Squad” will be one of the winners of this year’s Comic-Con.
The main event, of course, was “Batman v Superman,” due next March, and Warner Bros. whipped out its full utility belt to further stoke the buzz around the film. Snyder and his main cast members were all on hand, including Ben Affleck (Batman), Henry Cavill (Superman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane) and Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor).
Snyder called the opportunity to bring together DC’s marquee superheroes in one film “a dream come true.”
“Getting to make this particular movie, I don’t know how, for me, it gets any better,” he said, introducing the first extended trailer for the film, which combined scenes of superhero-on-superhero combat with a general tone of brooding and menace.
Affleck said Snyder initially pitched him a vision for a Batman who was “at the end of his rope, older, a burnout” and charmed the crowd with a story of running into Christian Bale at a Halloween store while shopping for a costume with his son — in the superhero section, no less.
Bale’s big piece of advice for the actor inheriting the role of the Dark Knight? “Make sure you can [relieve yourself] in that suit.”
While the new teaser was relatively light on scenes of Wonder Woman, Gadot spoke of the honor and responsibility she feels at taking on the iconic role.
“I’ve been given the wonderful opportunity to show the strong, beautiful side of women,” she told the crowd. “I feel very, very privileged.”
This being Comic-Con, the comic-book movies were clearly the stars of the show. But the Warner Bros. panel also featured the studio’s big-screen adaptation of the 1960s espionage film “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” opening next month, and director Joe Wright’s Peter Pan origin story “Pan."
Follow our Comic-Con reporting at the Los Angeles Times Comic-Con team in this Twitter list. And for more news check out Hero Complex on Twitter @LATherocomplex.
MORE FROM COMIC-CON: