UPDATE: Wonder Woman and Cyborg week have been rolled into one. This now means there are two full weeks without an associated character, increasing the possibility of a Superman showcase. The original article follows.
Justice League's marketing is entering its final phase, and a key part of that is its "character weeks" where the film's social media feeds are dominated by coverage of one of the heroes. But does the timing of this launch suggest we'll be getting a reveal of Superman?
The "character week" idea started with Aquaman, announced by Justice League channels and Jason Momoa last Wednesday (which we'll chalk up to a delay in settling on the idea). This week's followed up (this time on the logical start point of Monday) with Ezra Miller and The Flash. The characters left are Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Batman (Ben Affleck), presumably in that order.
Regardless of how it plays out, assuming one a week then we hit a snag. That puts the final "character week" starting on November 6 and ending on November 12. Justice League comes out on November 17, meaning there's one final week without a character. Now, it's quite possible that Warners are having each character week build until the week of release which will be about the full team - "all in", "united", "Justice League week" or some other buzz phrase - to avoid any one hero stealing the spotlight. But there's the Kryptonian elephant in the room: Superman.
How DC's Hiding Superman
Supes' handling in the marketing thus far has been rather confusing. To begin with, he was front and center: Henry Cavill was given prominent placement in all press releases and Supes stood proudly with the team picture from SDCC 2016. At some point, however, there was an evident decision made to double down on the character's death in Batman v Superman and create an air of mystery. For the past year or so, Kal-El has been completely absent from the marketing, with only his legacy discussed.
Most recently, the final trailer found a sneaky way around the Superman actor's inevitable presence by having Cavill appear in a supposed dream sequence as Clark Kent. As this was the start of the final stage of marketing, it seemed to be DC drawing a line in the sand and announcing they were fully committing to not showing Superman before the movie's release. However, he is still there - in merchandise, theater standees and refreshments, as well as an an ever-present logo heralding his ascension to the team.
The question remains of if all that teasing (and, in the case of the theater merchandise, teasing is a very light way of putting it) is meant to build to the movie or be transferred into some explicit drive to the cinema. After all, while the manner of Superman's return is a big topic in fan circles, to general audiences he's either evidently dead from Dawn of Justice or, to those not up to date with the DCEU, he's simply not present in the flesh. There is no promise of the original superhero in the movie based on the original superhero team. So, can we expect everything to peak with a full-on Supes reveal?
Can We Expect Superman Week?
"Superman Week" leading into the release of the film itself would address those wider concerns and the way the dates lead up currently leaves a prominent gap. That said, all that character weight aside, having Cavill suddenly at the forefront opens up many of the problems placing Affleck or Gadot there does: it puts focus on a singular part of an ensemble piece. The individual weeks mainly exist to keep already-sold fans discussing the film on social media and thus building the discussion even when the film is over a month out (and Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok is yet to hit), so may not be need for a character week when it's actually releasing.
That still wouldn't rule out teasing Superman more overtly in some way to get everyone up to speed. And, at this point, a stunt like this - having him just appear - would feel like the most effective way to do it. However, it ultimately comes down to what we've been asking since March 2016; if Superman is, as expected, only going to make his return in the film's third act, it's a safe bet he'll be teased only to the point of potential existence to avoid a repeat of Batman v Superman's Doomsday fiasco.
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017