Fans gathered at the main stage for the final day of New York Comic Con 2017 to view the Batman vs. Two-Face animated film, featuring the late Adam West’s final performance as the Caped Crusader. On hand for the panel was voice talent including William Shatner (Two-Face) and Burt Ward (Robin), producers James Tucker and Michael Jelenic, and director Rick Morales to discuss the making of the film, West’s contributions, and the possibility of a Shatner/Mark Hamill collaboration.
Host Mark Daniel kicked off the festivities by hyping the crowd up before the lights dimmed and the movie began. Batman vs. Two-Face is a follow-up to last year’s Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and is set firmly in the time period of the original 1960s live-action series. The animation style perfectly mirrors how West’s Batman and Ward’s Robin appeared back then, right down to the memorable fight sequence sound effects.
Aside from this being West’s final time as Batman, Shatner voicing District Attorney Harvey Dent/Two-Face really makes Batman vs. Two-Face unique when you consider the character never appeared in the live-action series. Even so, Dent fits in seamlessly as Bruce Wayne’s lifelong friend. A special nod has to be given to Dick Grayson’s jealousy at the Bruce/Harvey relationship.
Another new addition is the mad scientist Hugo Strange, who plays a role in Two-Face’s origin. Strange has developed a device called the “evil extractor,” which he intends to use on the likes of Joker, Penguin, and Riddler to rid them of their evil ways. Unfortunately, the machine malfunctions and results in Harvey being consumed by a green mist that leaves him disfigured.
The majority of the film’s plot revolved around Two-Face framing other villains for crimes while he works to turn Gotham into a city full of Two-Faces. At one point we even witness Two-Face become One-Face when his bad side completely takes over his body.
The movie concluded with one final goodbye to Adam West. As the screen went to black, the words “In Loving Memory of Adam West (1928-2017). Rest Well, Bright Knight” took us to an outro of the characters dancing the night away as the credits roll.
From here, the creatives behind Batman vs. Two-Face took to the stage for an hour of storytelling and Q&A from the audience.
The panel spent the first couple of minutes laughing at a Robin one-liner in the movie that referenced massive circular objects, to the point where the audience was encouraged to chime in.
Robin was the culprit behind many of the film’s more humorous moments, with Ward delivering each line where his excitement almost overshadowed the ridiculous thing he was saying.
“The whole show was double entendres,” Tucker said. “Keeps with the spirit of the show.” Tucker then praised Ward’s delivery of the lines, adding that he and West “were ahead of the game comedically.”
On the subject of Bruce and Harvey’s bromance, Tucker noted the goal was to explore new relationships, while also giving Ward and West more to play with.
Tucker and Ward then what it was like to work with Adam West for what turned out to be his final project. Tucker called it a “full circle moment.” “Amazing person and amazing spirit.”
Ward was asked what Adam was like off the show compared to the stoic, larger-than-life figure he was on it. “Adam was exactly the same off stage as on stage,” Ward said. He then compared West to Charlton Heston.
When asked what was the key to bringing Two-Face to animated life, Shatner said, “Make the voices indigenous. Make the voices meld from one to another.” Something that aided the process was the animators showing Shatner how they created the Harvey/Two-Face transformation, which helped Shatner get into character.
Next, Daniel posed the question of how protective the cast are to these classic roles. “We never broke character,” Ward revealed. “We were superheroes who wore underwear on outside of clothes.” Shatner immediately joked that Ward winked at him while saying this.
The first question from the audience brought up the fact that Two-Face wasn’t in the original television series, and if another movie were to happen, who else would they like to see brought into the 1960s version? “First draft had Poison Ivy, but it was too much,” Tucker said. “She was next one in line.”
Shatner was then asked if he liked being a bad guy. “There’s no difference,” he noted. “A good guy is a bad guy and a bad guy is a good guy. They’re all lurking inside your head. They’re all the same.”
Another fan asked the panel about switching from live-action to voice animation. Ward replied, “For me, if you’re in character, it really doesn’t matter if it’s live action or animation. I prefer animation because I get to fight more and I love to do that. I don’t miss the costume, though. It was horrible.”
Ward went on to recount the feeling of stepping back into the iconic Robin suit. “For me, it never really left,” he said. “It was very easy for me to do it and still is.” Shatner took the opportunity to elaborate on what intrigues him about a mentally unstable person, going so far as to mention the horrific events in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.
“What lurks inside our heads?” Shatner asked while using the Las Vegas shooting as an example. “You say good morning and pet the dog, and then go out and mass murder. What is going on inside that evil head? That’s human beings. That mystery intrigues me.” This was quickly followed by a Two-Face fan getting a signed poster.
Another fan asked, “With the loss of Adam West, are we going to see more Burt, and is there ever a chance to see a reboot of the Star Trek animation?” Ward responded to the first question and teased a future project in the works. “I don’t know what the future holds with Warner Bros. They own the rights to the character. I’m looking at doing a project that would involve 122 episodes of a TV series either my company would produce or WB. I leave the door open. All I can tell you is I love this feature and I love these guys.”
“Did we just hear you pitch a new series?” Shatner asked. “Is Warner Bros. listening and watching?” Ward coyly replied with, “I didn’t say it was with Warner Bros.”
“As for an animation series for Star Trek — I don’t know,” Shatner answered. “Anything’s possible.”
To close the panel, a fan noticed that the last fight scene of the film took place in Loreno’s Oil Factory, which is an ode to the original series.
Batman vs. Two-Face stars the voices of Adam West as Batman, Burt Ward as Robin, Julie Newmar as Catwoman, William Shatner as Two-Face, Steven Weber as Alfred, Jim Ward as Commissioner Gordon, Thomas Lennon as Chief O’Hara and Lynne Marie Stewart as Aunt Harriet. It arrives Oct. 17 on Blu-ray and DVD.
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