• Annie Banks

Phillip Kennedy Johnson Tells All About DC's 5G

DC Comics has announced reworking and relaunches of its comic universe, rebooting itself to expand into different time periods while including more characters along the way. It was reported in 2019 that DC's most recent rehash would shake up the timeline of these comics, but after the firing of DC publisher Dan DiDio, the comic book titan used the COVID-19 pandemic as a scapegoat to ultimately scrap the 5G plans.

The 5G revamp of DC is anything but confirmed officially, and the company remains in denial that the once-more makeover of their heroes, villains, and anyone in-between was ever projected. DC themselves may turn a blind eye to 5G, but some creators, including Phillip Kennedy Johnson, are more than happy to speak up on what could have been. Johnson, who is preparing to release his Future State Book, House of El, in February, was a recent guest on John Siuntres' Word Balloon podcast. Siuntres, like any other curious DC fans, had asked Johnson about his involvement with 5G.


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 into 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.


Johnson was more than eager to indulge Siuntres in his work with the 5G series, quenching those what-ifs that could have made it to the pages of DC's next big shift. Johnson takes the crown for being the creator who opened up the most about the inventive franchise remodel, sharing all about what could have been. For more one-on-one interviews with some of the biggest names in entertainment, Word Balloon is the home to pop culture's freshest podcast.

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