Friday night at New York Comic Con closed out with first-look footage from the forthcoming Warner Bros. Animation feature “Batman: Bad Blood.” On hand for the panel discussion were Jason O’Mara, who voices Batman; Batwing voice Gaius Charles; producer James Tucker; director Jay Oliva and character designer Phil Bourassa.
The DJ warming up the crowd between panels was surprised by a dancer with gold hair leading an intense dance-off, drawing many from the crowd to surround him and another dancer. This continued for a good ten minutes before the presenter offered the dancer a gift card. But then he continued dancing in the aisle. With SilentÃ³’s “Watch Me Whip” now playing, the party showed no signs of stopping right up until the panel’s start, at which time a now larger group of dancers yielded to the panelists. After the unexpected excitement, the audience was electrified even before the panel began.
Getting right to the point, the first footage from “Batman: Bad Blood” ran first, opening of course with the bat symbol — which then goes dark. Damian taunts Batman, who unmasks as Grayson.
After bringing the panelists on stage, another clip plays, in which Batwoman says she was “there the day Batman died.”
Tucker said he wanted to bring more exciting, current characters from Batman comics into the animated universe.
Bourassa said we “always look at the source material” when designing new characters, but then look at how to make that work for animation. “With Batwoman, she has such a striking look from the comics, and it’s so simple,” he said, adding that his design is “pretty much one to one.” “But with Batwing, it took a bit more back and forth.”
Since Luke Fox gets his Batwing suit from his father, who designs tech for Batman, Bourassa said the look “needed to fit with what came before.” O’Mara added that “we wanted this to be the 1.0 suit for what Terry McGinnis would wear in ‘Batman Beyond.'”
“With DC characters, you’re working with these archetypal characters,” Bourassa said, but he enjoyed designing the henchmen like Killer Moth because he had more leeway. “The one I saw on Google image search was just absurd,” he said of the character’s comic book appearance.
Charles, who is making his voice acting debut, spoke about all the Batman shows that folks have grown up with. “Having the opportunity to step into this role, be a part of that, has been amazing,” he said.
O’Mara said that “finding the differences between Batman and Bruce Wayne has been incredible,” noting that listening to his early takes on the character showed that he had still been developing the voice.
Saying of Batwoman actress Yvonne Strahovski, Tucker joked that “Australians can do anything” and “Americans never play American heroes anymore.”
The floor was then opened to fan questions.
Asked about another season of “Young Justice,” the crowd erupted in a chant for more. Bourassa said the question is “above our paygrade,” but Tucker added that “your pleas have been heard.”
A fan asked about the shift from adaptations of comics to original features. “At first we were pretty much told that’s what we were going to do,” Tucker said. He mentioned that, of the three annual films, one tends to be an adaptation, with the next being “Killing Joke.” Tucker said “they said we could make it an R” for “Killing Joke,” quickly adding “”not saying that’s what it will be, but we’ll see.”
Asked about Tim Drake and Jason Todd, Oliva began by saying that they hadn’t been introduced yet and right now there have only been two Robins; when this elicited boos, Tucker added, “they exist in this universe, but they haven’t been Robin yet.”
A fan asked “when will we see Joker in the Damian saga.” Tucker replied, “you have to see Joker in the ‘Killing Joke’ saga first.”
As to what C-list character they’d like to see in the animated universe, Oliva instantly replied, “Booster Gold.”
Charles noted that Harley Quinn began as an animated character and said he hoped his appearance as Batwing would inspire new Batwing comics.
Asked about using Batwoman instead of Batgirl, Tucker noted that Batgirl has appeared in previous animation projects. “I just thought you might like to see something you haven’t seen before.”
Another clip played, showing off Batwing’s suit as he fought off some evil nuns.
Asked about the possibility of a dark “Teen Titans,” Tucker said simply, “we have plans for Teen Titans.”
Tucker said he doesn’t shoot for an Adult Swim audience, but “we always aim a little older than we’re supposed to.” If Adult Swim were to commission a Vertigo-based series, though, he’d be all for it.
Asked who else he’d like to play in the DC Universe, Charles said, “I also kinda dig John Stewart.”
O’Mara said “I’d love to square off with Kevin Conroy,” responding to a fan’s question about a multiple-Batman movie. “I’d also like to square off with him in real life,” he joked.
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