During this SDCC panel, producers Glen Murakami, Mitch Watson, Michael Jelenic, and Jeff Prezenkowski share what’s to come with the next season of DC Animated programming, including clips of the two big new series, Teen Titans Go! and Beware the Batman.
Plus: Kevin Smith!
Smith moderated the panel, describing a highlight reel of upcoming episodes of Young Justice: Invasion and Green Lantern: The Animated Series as what he envisioned in his head thinking about DC Comics on TV.
Some of the big beats revealed in the clips: the Monitor, Guy Gardener, and Ch’p in Green Lantern, with Aqulad going undercover in Black Manta’s organiztion in Young Justice: Invasion. More from Young Justice: Deathstroke and Static Shock will be appearing in the next season of the series.
Discussing the early concepts for Beware the Bat, Watson says that an original idea was too dark, and then Glen Murakami hit on the idea that the series shouldn’t use any villains we’ve seen before. The vision of the show is about Batman the detective, exploring the character after he’s been profoundly affected by his parents’ deaths and unable to turn his alter ego off.
Showing off some of the new character designs for the CG series, Murakami talked about the animators building out Gotham city over the last five months. Additionally, it’s been a trick to get the lighting right for the character, who has a more slender build than earlier incarnations (Smith gushed about the turnaround images of the character).
Murakami says that they built a cardboard, full-size version of the Batman’s utility belt to see and feel how it worked, making sure these would be plausible in the world they were building. DItto, the switchblade-style batarangs.
The new, low-slung, almost Ferrari-influenced Batmobile was iterated on paper a few times.
In terms of the character of Bruce/Batman, they said they broke Bruce up into three characters: first, the public persona, a beloved philanthropist and businessman in the mold of Richard Branson; then there’s Bruce’s private face which only Alfred ever gets to see–this is the character at his most anxious. Then there’s Bruce as Batman: clipped, robotic, and precise. This version of the character is so efficient at crime fighting that he doesn’t even eat solid foods, and he attempts to minimize his sleep.
This is the character in his second year in costume.
We also saw turnarounds of the brawny new Alfred, drawing more points of reference from the characters’ history in MI-6. He’s in his 60’s, a working-class Brit inspired by Sean Connery.
Discussing the voice cast, Third Watch star Anthony Ruviviar is playing Batman/Bruce, with Summalee Montano (Transformers Prime) as Katana, and JB Blanc as Alfred and the Batcomputer. Genre film vet Udo Kier is onboard as Mr. Toad, and we also saw character art for Anarky (who is they describe as the White King to Batman’s Dark Knight), Mr. Pyg, Metamorpho, and Lt. Gordon.
With Teen Titans Go!, the goal is to create 11 minutes of comedy. The character designs use a softer line than in the previous Teen Titans series. The goal was to find a middle ground between the DC Nation shorts and the typical superhero: the emphasis was on making the characters adorable, working from Glen Mur. The panelists confirmed that the original voice cast would be returning for the show.
The pastel-colored backgrounds were credited to artist Dan Hipp.
When asked if we might see Terry McGuiness in the DC Nation block, Watson confirmed that we would without elaborating on how or when. As for when we might see the DC Nation shorts collected, there’s no word on that, but they’re all mostly available online on the Cartoon Network site.
As for revisiting the original Teen Titans animated series, Watson says that there are no plans for a direct-to-video feature, but viewers can catch up with the show on Boomerang.
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