Justice League, Wonder Woman and a pair of Batmen storm Comic-Con

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Ben Affleck and Will Arnett play alternative versions of the Dark Knight

Justice League film footage and first Wonder Woman trailer released

Superman lives, Wonder Woman charms and two Batmen are on the way. The film studio Warner Bros debuted a preview from 2017’s Justice League and the first trailer for its Wonder Woman film on Saturday morning.

The San Diego Comic-Con releases also managed to tease two very different takes on Batman: Ben Affleck’s forthcoming film, which he will direct and star in, and the Lego Batman movie starring Will Arnett.

Affleck compared the character’s story to history’s great dramas. “It’s like a great play that has been done a number of times before,” he said. “So you have all these great artists who’ve done it before and the expectations of the fans who’ve seen it over and over again. There’s a tremendous amount of pressure but it’s also inspiring.”

In a panel partially performed by Lego CGI characters on a giant screen – with a Lego Conan O’Brien to match the real one on the stage – Arnett said the version of Batman in the Lego films was probably overcompensating for something. “When you have somebody who’s that confident, they’re oftentimes making up for deficiencies in other parts of their character,” Arnett said.

“I don’t think anybody in the business does false bravado better than you,” O’Brien told Arnett. “You do ‘I got this, and then don’t have it,’ better than anyone I know.”

“Thank you, Conan, I know,” said Arnett. “I don’t know why you’re wasting everyone’s time with that.”

The Wonder Woman footage debuted complete with battle scenes from the first world war-set movie, and a Q&A with the director, Patty Jenkins, and the stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and Connie Nielsen.

Jenkins said she found herself disturbed by the seemingly endless stream of tragedies in the headlines, and hoped that the movie would promote a kind of heroism that involved mutual understanding rather than grandstanding.

“It’s so hard to be making a movie while these horrible things are happening in the world,” she said. “The world needs love and forgiveness in such a huge way. It’s not about who’s right anymore – it’s about stopping. Be a hero, but be a beautiful, kind, loving hero who has the ability to be forgiving and move forward because you’re a loving character.”

Justice League, Wonder Woman and a pair of Batmen storm Comic-Con
Gal Gadot offers a Wonder Woman pose at Comic-Con. Photograph: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Gadot said she watched a documentary on the real-world Princess Diana to prepare to play superheroic royalty and struck a pose for a girl in the audience who asked her to. She came onstage flustered and told the audience she was pleased to be there. Then she asked O’Brien to repeat a question about the role.

“What was the question?” she asked, smiling.

“I forgot,” O’Brien said.

The Justice League film footage was an unexpected highlight, showing off what appeared to be a more lighthearted script than the director Zack Snyder’s most recent film, Batman v Superman, and featuring the Flash actor Ezra Miller in a role not too dissimilar from the part Tom Holland played as Spider-Man in the most recent Captain America film, Civil War.

The director also revealed that Henry Cavill would return in Justice League as Superman, even though he met his demise at the end of Batman v Superman.

The panel was especially brief – the lineup was large enough that introducing its members took up much of the time – but it was well received by the people who had slept outside in leather, formalwear, PVC armor, or mostly naked in order to get a seat in the hall and look interesting doing it. Most of them stayed happy throughout, even as they squabbled over seats.

For the Suicide Squad panel, cast members told further tales of the Joker actor Jared Leto’s disturbingly in-character on-set behavior.

Will Smith told the audience a messenger had brought a box to Margot Robbie warning, “This is a message from Mr J”. Robbie plays the Joker’s erstwhile love interest, Harley Quinn, in the film.

“I was like, ‘Oh, cool, Jared’s taking it serious,’” Smith said. “And in the box was a live rat. Margot jumped, and I’m playing Deadshot, but if I’d had pearls, I would have clutched them.”

The apparent good humor of the new DC stories extended into cheerful rapport between the cast and fans. As is customary, people yelled out “I love you” at several of the actors, Smith included. “I love you, too, call me!” he said back.

But O’Brien scolded one of the well-wishers: “Don’t rub your nipples, sir. It’s disturbing.”

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