Amidst Batlfeck controversy, DC did their best to put on a brave face, beginning their panel by teasing an entire slate of new films –  Green Lantern Corps, Aquaman, Justice League Dark, Batgirl, Wonder Woman 2, Suicide Squad 2, Flash: Flashpoint and, of course, Justice League. Other than naming most of these films, there was no new info to be released, so the main draw was Aquaman footage and a new Justice League trailer.

General observation: DC and Warner Bros’ are using Wonder Woman to lead the way. The Amazonian Warrior was the anchor of every sizzle reel, trailer and marketing clip. They know that she’s the best thing they’ve got, but as awesome as she is, it also showed that DC still has no plan for their announced slate. These films still don’t connect other than sharing characters, and the character choices seem scattershot. Despite some intriguing footage and a panel of stars with real chemistry, the entire thing made DC look like it was still shooting arrows in the dark.

Jason Momoa came out first, trident in hand to debut some footage and a special video from director James Wan.

The footage crafted a unique tone. Two older men are sitting on a tiny fishing boat. All of a sudden, something bites on one of their lures, it drags their boat, almost sinking it, before letting go and leaving the two men within inches of their lives. From there, an aerial view reveals a giant formation of ships just below the surface, all ominously heading to an unknown location. The camera then dips underwater for a better look at these ships and their alien-like structures. There are also creatures riding what appear to be shark-like creatures. The entire thing ends with Aquaman, Jason Momoa himself, in the wreckage of a ship (and out of water), dressed in a leather biker vest and armed with a one-liner that I can’t remember. After that, we got tons of concept art, a surprising amount of the character above water, and Wan mentioning that this will be an origin story. Momoa would later confirm that the Armada of ships belonged to Ocean Master (Patrick Wilson), his brother, and that they’d be squaring off in the Atlantean king’s feature debut.

The big takeaway here is the tone – it started out comedic and fun, before getting bigger in scope. All in all, the footage didn’t reveal much, but it was something nice for fans, promising that this will be an adventure.

Next up, the entire Justice League walked up on stage. Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher joined Momoa. Hardwick addressed the rumors of Affleck leaving the DCU, making way for a cryptic non-answer from Affleck. The actor went on to gush about the character and how lucky he was to be Batman, but didn’t overtly say whether he’d be vacating the role anytime soon. Awkward.

As for the Justice League footage, you can view the trailer right here:

This looks better than what we’ve seen in the past, with lighting brightened up significantly, more team chemistry and an establishment of the film’s baddie, Steppenwolf. The idea that Superman left a hopeful mark on the universe still feels hollow, and that blatant tease at the end falls flat. Why leave Superman out of marketing if we know he’s still around? How does his role fit in and why does it matter that he’s not there? I feel that this marketing hook just doesn’t work.

Addressing the big hole, Gal Gadot mentions that if you’re a Superman fan, you’ll enjoy watching Justice League. Overall the cast (aside from Affleck) seemed genuinely happy to be there and were fun to watch. Let’s hope this translates to the film!

Last stray observation: Ray Wise has got a smooth, deep voice that cuts like butter. Get him to do some audio books :)!

Final thought: I really LOVE the Alex Ross vibes of this new Justice League poster.

SG