The power players from DC Entertainment‘s Animated Universe hit the stage at New York Comic-Con this weekend to discuss some of their upcoming projects including Batman: Year One, the Catwoman animated short, and Justice League: Doom.
The panelists on stage for the discussion were voice casting director Andrea Romano, Bruce Timm, and Batman himself, Kevin Conroy, who was a surprise panelist (Conroy had been in the IGN Theater early in the day for the panel for Batman: Arkham Asylum, in which he also voices Batman).
They talked about all three of the titles, and the first project they discussed was Catwoman, which was actually screened in its entirety during the panel, which I’ll get to my thoughts on that at a later date. The short was written by comic scribe and DC Animated legend Paul Dini and directed by Lauren Montgomery, who has also directed several of the DC animated features. The story is about Catwoman (voiced by Eliza Dushku, who came out to introduce the film) discovering a human trafficking ring based out of a strip club. The short also featured the amazingly talented John DiMaggio as a new villain to Gotham City. One of the interesting bits about the feature was that Timm stated that this “came out of necessity.” He went on to explain that Dushku did such an amazing job in Batman: Year One that they wanted to give her a feature. Paul Dini had a script together and the rest is, as they say, history. And I do have to say, thoughts on the film aside, Dushku has an incredible voice that suits Catwoman to a T. Romano even went on to say that one of the most fascinating things about Dushku was that she loved and nailed the process of recording grunts and sound effects for fighting scenes, which is normally a very tedious task. I could see her as the go-to voice of the character for a very long time.
The next film they talked about was the primary reason for being there, Batman: Year One. There weren’t a lot of new details, but some of the high points were when Bruce Timm spoke about how much he loved the Frank Miller-scripted comic and how he approached this project as opposed to other DC Animated features. He went on to say that this movie was not to be taken like any other superhero movie, and in fact they made this movie like a cop movie. All the score work and action in the movie was to be grounded in reality, which is a far cry from Batman teleporting from dimension to dimension. But that’s exactly what the adaptation of Year One should be, so I have no doubt that this will be perfect. Romano also went on to say what a pleasure it was to work with Bryan Cranston, Ben McKenzie, and Eliza Dushku, as well as all of the other new voices that are featured in Batman: Year One.
Lastly, they showed the first footage from Justice League: Doom which is the last of Dwayne McDuffie’s DC Animated scripts before he passed away, and it was based off of Mark Waid’s Justice League: Tower of Babel story. The story, for those of you that are unaware, is about a villain who gets his hands on a secret file that Batman has kept on all of his co-heroes in the Justice League. This dossier features all of their weaknesses and how to defeat them if need be. Basically, since Batman prepares for everything, that means he’d prepare a failsafe for if and when his super-powered colleagues lose control and start killing everyone around. How he neglected to prepare for when someone would steal his file is beyond me, though, but not to Kevin Conroy who gave some insight on how this could happen when he said in Batman’s voice, “Damn that iPhone.”
Doom‘s voice cast is a return the greats, as the panel announced that Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Susan Eisenberg, Carl Emory, Michael Rosenbaum, David Kaufman, Phil Morris, and Nathan Fillion will be making up the cast list. The footage shown was also excellent and featured an animation style much like that of Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. There were also a lot of audience questions, but the one that stood out was when the panel was asked about the upcoming Batman: The Dark Knight Returns feature, which the panel noted should come out late 2012 or 2013.
I was really excited about all these projects, but after seeing this panel and the footage, I’m amped up even more. Batman: Year One and the Catwoman companion short feature will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 18, 2011.