Phillip Kennedy Johnson Was Hired By DC For 5G – But Not On Superman

One of Bleeding Cool's biggest scoops of 2019 was the news that DC Comics was planning a major relaunch called 5G. It would have seen the DC Comics Timeline rewritten and expanded allowing stories to be told with many more characters in many more time periods – but also reinvent many lead characters for the present day. This would include Jonathan Kent being the new Superman and Tim Fox – sorry, I mean, Jace – being the new Batman. But the main instigator of this plan, DC publisher Dan DiDio, was fired and DC took advantage of the pandemic to junk the 5G plans almost entirely. I say almost. Because instead much of it was repurposed as the Future State event two-month event – while the planned two-month event Endless Winter was also shrunk back into a mini-event.

Phillip Kennedy Johnson Was Hired By DC For 5G - But Not On Superman
YouTube screencap – Phillip Kennedy Johnson

None of this has been officially confirmed of course, and DC Comics does not admit that 5G even ever existed. But certain creators have. Including DC's new Superman writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson, whose Future State book House Of El will be out in February. He recently appeared on John Siuntres' Word Balloon podcast, was asked about 5G – and he talked. More than any other DC Comics creator to date.

John Siuntres: Let's get into Future State because I give DC a lot of credit for taking what started as 5G projects and turning them into a good opportunity to keep that stuff. I don't know when you started your story, if it was still a 5G project but you could tell me if it did change now with the current editorial edict, treating Future State as a speculative "what if" future rather than this is the new status quo, where we're moving forward.

Phillip Kennedy Johnson: So I was involved in 5G, it was not on Superman though. They were building this cosmic line and I was brought in to be a big part of that again. It's like, we got this guy who writes songs and languages and ancient texts that don't actually show up on the page, he's just like he's psycho, so let's bring him in to help his world build.

And that was my role and as the vision for 5G changed and ultimately kind of went away, we still had all these people doing amazing super creative things. We still wanted to do all these stories, there was some such great work being done because the concept of 5G was just so unbelievably audacious and bold and just aggressive. They were just blowing everything up into starting completely over. It was just so much creativity in the air.

So when we decided to go a different direction, we still want to get to a lot of those ideas. But now we're going to be doing them more organically if that makes sense. We're going to get to these ideas as the as it makes sense to get to them. So Future State takes the best part of 5G without having to destroy continuity. It's this blank slate where we can do anything because it's speculative future stuff where you can be anything.

If you want to tie it in to what's coming you can, you should potentially, but you don't have to. It can be things that might happen, features that we need to be aware of, it's just so much freedom to do anything and this honestly has been some of my favourite work to write at DC or anywhere. Because you're taking these characters that you love and you can do literally anything with them.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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