THEORY – Doctor Fate’s Eyes and The Potential Significance

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On Friday morning, Dwayne Johnson opened Super Bowl weekend with a 60-second trailer featuring clips and footage from every DC film expected to release in 2022.

We got some rehashed (but still exciting) footage from The Batman, got a couple of new shots from Black Adam and The Flash, and our first bits of footage from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. But, as all those clips rolled by, there were only a few moments that really held my attention: the reveal of the JSA. 

Atom Smasher played by Noah Centineo, Cyclone played by Quintessa Swindell, Hawkman played by Aldis Hodge, and Kent Nelson played by Pierce Brosnan – they all look amazing.

As we saw in the trailer, Kent will not only carry around the Helmet of Fate throughout the runtime but he will also don it and become Doctor Fate at some point during the story. But his appearance as Doctor Fate is what really got my wheels turning.

We only got one shot for each hero, presumably because there is a lot of CGI involved in their costumes and they had to share trailer time with 3 other movies, but the couple of shots we got of Nelson and Doctor Fate come together in a really interesting way.

(Warner Bros/DC)

We see in the trailer (and we saw back at DC Fandome) that Kent is carrying around the Helmet of Fate like some sort of idol that Indiana Jones has taken from a sacred temple. The Helmet of Fate looks really great here and I love the way it shines and reflects in the light. As if you could spot it from across a room and it was beckoning you to come closer.

What’s really interesting though, is when you see what Doctor Fate looks like. At the moment where Nelson is holding the Helmet, you can see what looks like eye holes, because of course you’d assume every helmet needs them. But then when Doctor Fate makes his appearance wearing it, there are no eye holes to be found.

The easy answer is that this is probably just some inconsistency. Maybe the character here is CGI and they just hadn’t added the eye holes yet. We know because of Thor: Ragnarok’s trailer you can never fully trust anybody’s eyes in CGI enhanced trailers. But seeing the Helmet two times only seconds apart really exaggerated that difference and I think there could potentially be something more to it.

As I talked about in a theory after DC Fandome (here), there is a certain aspect to Doctor Fate that could be super interesting to explore. There’s a relationship between the Helmet of Fate and the person who wears the Helmet…who essentially becomes a pawn for the Helmet/the god Nabu.

If my past theory about the Helmet’s relationship with Kent is true, and that Kent seems to be apprehensive about putting it on given the fact that he’s carrying it, then maybe the relationship between Kent and Nabu isn’t as good as it should be.

Maybe the Helmet is only donned by Kent in a moment of need, where he knows that he can help if he would just give himself over (and essentially sacrifice himself) to become Doctor Fate once again. Now, this is where the eyes come in. 

(Warner Bros/DC)

Perhaps, over the course of the story, we see Kent carrying the Helmet around as a way for Nabu to communicate. Maybe he has some information they need on the villain of the story, or maybe he’s just helping them find Adam.

Well, if you’re carrying around a bucket it would be hard to imagine a personality behind that, so it would make sense for them to slap some eyes on it. Maybe they’ll even glow when he talks. But then, once Kent dons the Helmet and becomes Doctor Fate once again, they visually represent that loss of humanity and personality by stripping the most expressive part of one’s face away from him: his eyes.

I know this seems tedious and even potentially far-fetched. But, film is a visual medium. Every frame is tediously combed through, set up, and executed with precision. Doing something as simple as removing the eyes of a character could represent that loss of humanity and maybe even make that moment more impactful for the audience, as we watch Kent Nelson slowly slip away from us.

Black Adam hits theaters on July 29th, 2022. 

You can watch the 2022 trailer for DC films right here.

What do you think is going on with Fate’s helmet? Could it just be a CGI or editing mistake, or is there potentially some deeper meaning involved? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @mycosmiccircus!

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