With their third “DC Comics Special” airing this fall, the cast and crew of “Robot Chicken” returned to Comic-Con International in San Diego for a hilarious and informative — but also oddly short — 35-minute panel.
The presentation featured co-executive producer/writer/actor Kevin Shinick, director Tom Sheppard (who helmed the “DC Comics Special” as well as “Robot Chicken’s” upcoming eighth season), executive producer/co-head writers Doug Goldstein and Tom Root, DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, actor/writer Breckin Meyer, and co-creators/executive producers Seth Green and Matthew Senreich.
The discussion was moderated by Adult Swim Executive Vice President Keith Crofford, who began by revealing that the eighth season will premiere in October, as will the DC special. They then rolled the trailer for the special, which recapped the first two installments before launching into a quick succession of clips from the third, culminating with the special’s full title: “Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 3: Magical Friendship.”
Senreich explained that the special is about Batman and Superman and was inspired by the upcoming “Batman/Superman, whatever” movie. His colleagues jokingly interrupted him, asking, “Did you guys know about this?” Senreich ignored the jabs.
Green said the special also deals with the DC Multiverse. “I forget who pitched the idea of the multiverse,” Green admitted, “but as soon as that came up, it was game over. Then we got Adam West and Burt Ward to play Batman and Robin. Well, Burt Ward plays Burt Ward. A creepy Burt Ward.”
“Wait,” Meyer interjected, “is Burt Ward playing ‘Creepy Burt Ward’ or is Burt Ward a creepy Burt Ward?”
“Those are all questions to be answered in the ‘Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 3,'” replied Green, who lamented that while they’ve included a lot of obscure characters, “We still haven’t gotten Arm-Fall-Off-Boy into a special.”
In a clip from the special, Ra’s Al Ghul gets into a youth-restoring Lazarus Pit and, when he tries to get out, Batman kicks him in the face. A slightly younger Ra’s tries to get out again, only to have Batman thwart him, and this repeats until Batman is forced to admit, “Well, I just killed a baby.”
After barely 10 minutes of discussion, the panel was opened to audience questions. While most inquiries merely prompted jokes, the panelists did reveal a couple interesting tidbits about the show and the special. First, there will not be a Black Cherry special in the spirit of Bitch Pudding, which presumably came as bad news for the question, who was dressed as Black Cherry.
The panelists then responded to a question about the franchises they “haven’t been able to touch.” The wording prompted Shinick to inquire, “When you say ‘touched’ …” Root answered seriously, noting they’ve never been able to crack a “Dexter’s Laboratory” sketch. “We wrote one but killed it,” he revealed.
Green then joked that he would see the questioner, who was dressed as Mo-Larr, Eternian Dentist, in six months for his check-up.
They were then asked if anyone has ever gotten angry with them for destroying a toy. “When we’ve told a story about destroying a Mego Batmobile, we often get the nod of death from people,” Senreich said.
A fan then asked if they would ever include Snowflame in a DC special. Surprisingly, Johns admitted, “I have to say, I don’t know that character. […] Is that the cocaine-created character?” The fan acknowledged it was.
“If you guys have any balls at all,” Meyer said to Johns, “that will be your next movie.”
The next fan asked if any of their sketches had been cut, to which Shinick replied, “For this DC Comics one — and it was cut for time — we cut one where … let’s just say that if instead of the Joker coming up with Joker Venom he came up with Jerker Venom. But you will see it on the Blu-ray.”
Next up was a fan asking why they hadn’t done a sketch based on “Mass Effect,” given that Green was the voice of Jeff “Joker” Moreau in those games. “We just ignore Seth most of the time,” Senreich replied.
“But if you’re interested in Seth Green trivia,” Root added, “you should YouTube his Burger King commercial from 1982, because it’s going to be on this current season, and you’re going to want to do your homework ahead of time.”
Asked who’s the best Batman, Green and Shinick replied Michael Keaton, while Root chose Kevin Conroy. Johns added, “But wait ’til you see Ben [Affleck in ‘Batman v Superman’], he’s pretty bad ass.”
Finally, Crofford wrapped up the panel by asking if there were any special guests on the DC episode. After arguing over who was supposed to bring the list, Green and Senreich rattled off such names as Jonathan Banks from “Breaking Bad,” Green’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” co-star Alexis Denisof, and DJ Steve Aoki.
“And Shooter Jennings did the theme song for the DC Special,” Green said. “Shooter’s dad is Waylon Jennings, who did the ‘Dukes of Hazard’ theme song, which our theme song is a parody of — but with Batman and Superman.”
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