Batman: Year One, based on Frank Miller's seminal 1980s Batman book (the spiritual follow-up to The Dark Knight Returns) is being released next Tuesday, October 18th, along with a Catwoman short featuring the voice of Eliza Dushku (read Kofi Outlaw’s review of both here).
Today, at the New York Comic-Con DC Animated Panel, producer Bruce Timm and Voice Director Andrea Romano talked in detail about Year One, Eliza Dushku came onstage to premiere the Catwoman short film, and last, but not least, Kevin Conroy made an appearance to discuss the upcoming DC Animated film, Justice League: Doom, and to premiere the first trailer.
First, Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse) came out to present the Catwoman short to the audience (the short was written by Batman: The Animated Series veteran Paul Dini and directed by Lauren Montgomery), most of whom seemed to react fairly favorably to the film.
The ridiculous size of Catwoman’s bosom aside, the film was actually a very simple, action-packed, and entertaining throwback to the old Batman: The Animated Series cartoon of the 1990s (the subtle humor was particularly reminiscent).
As Kofi mentioned in his review, there’s a pretty sizable portion of the film that takes place in a strip club and Catwoman herself even performs a (very tame) strip tease for the villain of the story (voiced by John Di Maggio of Futurama fame). Of course, it’s all just a ruse to get the guy's guard down – and frankly, you’ve probably seen worse on network television – but some might argue that it’s overly sexual, especially when people might assume they can show this to their kids.
Bruce Timm said of the short: "[It was] ten minutes of sex and violence we couldn't put in Batman: Year One [which also features Catwoman as voiced by Elisha Dushku]."
After the film, Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano discussed the production of Batman: Year One. Basically, Timm wanted to capture Frank Miller's story onscreen as faithfully as possible, because it's one of his favorite comic books - down to the characters, dialogue, overall plot, and mood.
In fact, Timm believes that not only is Year One a cop story, as opposed to a superhero story, but he also believes the protagonist is Lieutenant Gordon instead of Batman. As for Romano, she particularly gushed over Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston as Lieutenant Gordon. Basically, Cranston was just so good at what he did she "got out of his way and let him do his thing."
Eventually, Kevin Conroy (the voice of Batman in The Animated Series) joined the panel and uttered the three lines he’s probably most famous for: “I am vengeance; I am the night; I – am – Batman.”
Justice League: Doom
The panel then proceeded to discuss the upcoming Justice League: Doom, which will likely be released in February or March of 2012 - before moving on to the general plans for the future of DC Universe Animated. Check out the trailer for Doom below, before moving on to notes about the panel:
- Justice League Doom is the last DCU Animated movie to be written by the late, great Dwayne McDuffie.
- While based on Mark Waid’s Tower of Babel storyline from the pages of JLA, Justice League Doom seems to have removed R’as al Ghul as the villain (perhaps because he's going to play into The Dark Knight Rises?) and replaced him with the immortal Vandal Savage and his Legion of Doom.
- The plot of JLD, like Babel, sees Batman’s contingency plans for taking down each member of the Justice League – “in case they go bad” – fall into the wrong hands
- Besides Vandal, the Legion of Doom is comprised of Bane, the Royal Flush Gang, Star Sapphire, Mirror Master, and more.
- Cyborg is a member of the Justice League for JLD, a la The New 52.
- The look of JLD doesn't resemble Bruce Timm's patented B:TAS style as much as it does the style of Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (which, in my opinion, was pretty underwhelming).
- Asked if changes made to the DCU, via The New 52, have affected future DC Animated movies or TV Shows, Bruce Timm said, simply, “No.”
- The Dark Knight Returns animated movie is being made now - and will likely drop in 2013.
- Bruce Timm has discussed doing more animated Batman Beyond, but there are no official plans currently.
- Similarly, Timm has discussed possibly doing a Blackest Night animated movie in the future (a DC story where deceased superheroes come back from the dead to destroy their friends and loved ones) but he can’t comment specifically on it at this time.
DC's animated slate will be expanding pretty rapidly over the next couple years, what with DC Nation, Green Lantern, and Beware the Batman coming to Cartoon Network - as well as The Dark Knight Returns joining the DCU Animated movie library in 2013. What more could a DC Comics fan ask for?
But what do you guys think? Are you looking forward to Batman: Year One, the Catwoman short, Justice League: Doom, and so on? Let us know in the comments.
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.
Batman: Year One, along with the Catwoman short, hits shelves on DVD and Blu-Ray on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011.