On Saturday evening, New York Comic Con attendees were treated to new footage from Warner Bros. Animated’s upcoming “Justice League Dark” film. Additionally, “Constantine” star Matt Ryan and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s” Jason O’Mara as well as producer James Tucker, director Jay Oliva and character designer Phil Bourassa stopped by to offer some insight into the project, which will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD in early 2017.
Gary Miereanu took the stage to introduce the clips as well as the cast and crew of the film. As he introduced the project to the audience, he confirmed that “Justice League Dark” does not yet have a release date.
“There’s a lot of magic, there’s a lot action — it’s superhero stuff with a lot of magic spells,” explained Tucker.
In the first clip, the Justice League sat around a table to discuss a new global crisis: law-abiding citizens were creating chaos in the streets with no probably cause. Wonder Woman suggests magic as the source of the outbreak, which Batman dismisses despite past encounters with Circe and Trigon. When Bruce Wayne goes home, however, he has a supernatural encounter himself; he begins to see the name “Constantine” etched into the mirror as well as the walls of his bedroom. The scrawling on the well then transitioned over into the film’s opening credits.
In a second clip, Constantine uses a spell to force Jason Blood to transform into Etrigan in order to battle a handful of demons. Shortly after Etrigan changes back to Blood, Blood punches Constantine in the face and tells him he’s been fighting Etrigan for 500 years. He asked Constantine if he knew the risk, and Constantine said that he weighed the risk and decided saving his own skin was worth risk.
“Basically, I asked myself what I would do if I made a ‘Harry Potter’ movie, and that’s basically this film,” Oliva shared.
“The most interesting thing about doing him in this context is exploring his relationship with these characters… all of whom Constantine has very precarious relationships with. Playing that out was a very fun thing to do,” Ryan said. “It was a very different kind of a working. It was so freeing in a way.”
“I don’t think it ever gets easier. I never, ever take it for granted. I approach each project on its own merits… because I want to make sure the voice keeps evolving and changing,” O’Mara said of his role as Batman. “There’s definitely been a progression from ‘Justice League War’ to ‘Justice League Dark’… This isn’t a Batman who works alone. This is a Batman who has a complicated backstory and family baggage, which the other Batmen don’t quite have.”
As to Constantine’s spells, Ryan shared, “They were always very, very difficult to do. We had fun when we were recording them because I kept getting them wrong… I was pretty okay at it. I’d done it a few times [on the TV show]. They’re always difficult to get your mouth around… It can be a difficult thing.”
“Literally, I met Jason [O’Mara] this morning,” he recounted.
A third clip shows Constantine, Zatanna, Batman and Deadman visiting an old friend. Constantine encounters a few shrouds, who threaten to drag him down to hell. They express an interest in Batman, who they say “has cheated death many times.”
Oliva revealed that Camilla Luddington, who voices Zatanna, actually performed her spells backwards; they did not record her lines and then reverse them.
“Deadman tries to possess Batman, but it was great for me to record because I then had to do Nick Turturro‘s voice but as Batman in my head,” O’Mara revealed.
“I think, for me, it’s just the fun of being able to draw character that more pushed and you have a tremendous amount of room to play. Etrigan was a ton of fun to play. When I draw Etrigan, I think of Kirby, of course,” Bourassa said, adding that he tries to put his own spin on them nonetheless. “Swamp Thing is a ton of fun to draw… it’s almost an artist’s playground because he’s so organic.”
In the fourth clip, Constantine, Batman, Zatanna, Deadman and Jason Blood go to meet Swamp Thing. Batman doesn’t buy that Swamp Thing exists. However, when Constantine casts a spell and threatened some “posies” in his swamp, Swamp Thing rises from the swamp — but the clip cut away before Swamp Thing was truly revealed.
As to whether or not Constantine will return to “Arrow,” Ryan said, “I think there’s always a possibility. I’ve been lucky enough as an actor to be busy since I did ‘Arrow.’ This is the first time since ‘Arrow’ that I’ve been free.”
Another fan asked if O’Mara’s role in Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” caused any complications with his DC work. “It doesn’t cause any complications for me, because I’m on ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Tuesday nights and I’m here right now for DC!” he said.
When a fan asked if Lucifer could show up in a future DC animated film, Tucker said, “Just buy this one, and we’ll get a sequel, and yeah, sure.”
“I think the DNA of the character is very much the same,” Ryan said of Constantine about the difference between his TV and “Justice League Dark” versions of the character.
“I love the character,” he said. “I feel like we just scratched the surface of him… so if there was a chance to explore other sides of John [Constantine], yeah.”
“For me, I love the villains. I love the classic villains. To me, the greatest all-time villain is Joker, but it’s getting harder and harder because there have been so many Joker performances over the years,” O’Mara shared. “Mark Hamill has that sown up! Maybe Riddler. I like it when Riddler is really bonkers.”
As to which other he would like to play, Ryan pitched in, “Wonder Woman.”
“The ‘Dangerous Habits’ one was my favorite [comic run],” he shared.
“If this sells well and we get a sequel, I’d like to put Spectre in it,” Oliva said.
“We’ve already announced another ‘Teen Titans.’ We discussed with Warner video, and they have ‘Wonder Woman’ on their radar in some form or fashion,” Tucker revealed.
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