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Producers Speak of “The Brave and the Bold”

by  in Movie News, TV News Comment
Producers Speak of “The Brave and the Bold”

Though it was announced at Comic-Con International at San Diego this past July that “Batman: The Brave and The Bold” would be ending with the completion of the Cartoon Network series’ third season, producer James Tucker tells CBR News that twenty-eight of the total sixty-five episodes are yet to air, leaving plenty more Batman adventures in store for fans. “[We start with] the two-parter ‘Starro’ episode, which is actually the end of the first half of the second season,” he explained. “That means there’s thirteen more left from just the second season. After that, the third season starts, which is a thirteen episode season. So basically, there are twenty-eight more brand new episodes that haven’t aired yet.”

“Even though it’s been announced that the show was ending, we’ll probably be getting new episodes a year from now, I imagine,” added Tucker’s producing partner, Michael Jelenic.

“There will be new episodes well into late 2011,” confirmed Tucker, furthering the point. “And they will probably hold some over until 2012, actually.”

Tonight’s episode, “The Siege of Starro! Part One,” the second two-part story in the series, actually owes its origins to a Starro toy for the “Brave and The Bold” toy line. “The toy company wanted to see Starro as much as possible, because they were going to put a big push behind that character,” Jelenic explained. Initially requesting a four episode arc to put Starro in the minds of the viewers, the producers offered a unique compromise to maintain the general one-episode story format of the show. “We’ll have three teasers that feature the Starro subplot and then we’ll end it with a big two-parter,” he recalled. The pre-credit teasers offer a brief scene disconnected from the rest of the episode, the perfect space to build the Starro storyline. “It’s an interesting use of structure. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that before on a show where you have serialized teasers connected to a larger show which has nothing to do with the teasers,” the producer remarked.

“Or even having teasers that have nothing to do with the episode. I’m surprised that worked as well as it did, actually,” Tucker interjected. “It was just my need to want to tap into as many C-Listers as possible, and the only way to really do that in the show was to give them the first two minutes before the main titles.”

“We definitely got a little bit of concern from people going that way in the beginning. It was like, ‘These aren’t related! Why are you doing this?'” Jelenic remembered of the initial development of the series.

Tucker quipped, “Actually, you gave me that line!”

It was also during those initial stages that Aquaman developed the unique persona seen on the show. “I should probably give credit to [executive producer] Sam Register, because when we were developing the show, he kept saying, ‘Push the characters away from what they’ve been,’ or ‘Find the essence of the character,'” replied Tucker when asked how the King of Atlantis came to be more bombastic than his usual presentation in other shows. “He did mention giving him a personality like Hercules. Now, I think he may have meant Marvel’s version of Hercules, but what I took it to mean was the Steve Reeves/60s Hercules from the gladiator movies. I immediately started drawing Aquaman based on that guy – that’s where the visual came from.”

“I looked at James’ design and it actually looked like someone I used to work with who had this sort of everything-was-over-the-top [way],” Jelenic explained. “Getting a cup of coffee was this great adventure – ‘I just grabbed a cappuccino!‘ – Everything he talked about [was big]. That’s why I pushed the writers to go in that direction. I think one of the early voices I had in my head before we cast [John] DiMaggio was John O’Herily from ‘Seinfeld.’ Then DiMaggio came in and sort of completed the visual and the writing and made it so it wasn’t just a caricature. I mean, a little bit, it is, but he really made it work.”

“He’s the secret ingredient that makes it work, because had anyone else voiced it, it wouldn’t have clicked. We probably wouldn’t have used Aquaman as much as we do and it might not have gone beyond that first initial appearance and maybe some cameos,” added Tucker. “We loved what DiMaggio did with it and he is such a cool guy himself, so it was always fun to write Aquaman into a show. You instantly know he’s going to make any scene he’s in better and click.” Tucker noted “Journey to the Center of the Bat” as the episode where everything really worked for Aquaman. “That’s where, really, we knew that he was a cool character that we could do a lot with. Just the dynamic between him and the Atom; it was, I hate to say the term ‘comedy gold,’ but I’ll say it was comedy gold.”

Aquaman became part of the first season stable of recurring characters. According to Jelenic, there was a master plan to focus on a small group of characters, due in part to the toy tie-in aspect. “You have a series where Batman is teaming up with somebody different each week. The toy company wasn’t initially excited about that prospect; they’d rather see Batman with same guy week after week. The compromise that we came up with at the time was to focus on five different heroes.” While they would later introduce more characters into the series, that initial group dominated the first season. “We would try to work in [those characters] at least three times, either in teasers or episodes, so they would have the strongest relationships with Batman. We’d see them the most often. Those were Aquaman, Plastic Man, Red Tornado – who ended up sort of falling by the wayside -, I think the Outsiders, too?”

“Yeah, initially, the Outsiders were going to be in a lot more,” Tucker confirmed. “Did you mention Blue Beetle?”

“Blue Beetle was another character that Sam pushed and he saw a lot of potential for,” said Jelenic.

“Then we bartered and said ‘Oh, we’ve got Blue Beetle in one, let’s stick Huntress in there, too,'” added Tucker. “We wanted to have these characters dealing with not only Batman, but each other and see how they bounced off one another. Just to really have their relationships just going zing all over the place. That was what our ideal wish for the show was.”

One such character is B’wana Beast, who has the power to merge animals and is featured in the “Starro” two-parter. “He’s a pretty ridiculous character on the surface, I think. His power is pretty silly,” Jelenic laughed. “We wanted to take a character like that and make you care about him. So, we’ve had a couple of episodes leading up to this with him and it all sort of pays off at the end of this two parter, so if you like B’Wana Beast, check it out.”

One villain who will never appear on the series is Joseph Coyne; the source of the giant penny seen in the Batcave. “I thought about it and it’s such a kind of film noirish kind of story – yes, I do know the story – and it’s very dark,” Tucker explained. “But no, we won’t. I would’ve loved to have done that, though.”

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