NEW YORK COMIC CON: BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, PART 2

Warner Home Video announced two new animated movies based on Geoff Johns stories for 2013 at its panel for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2.

Superman: Unbound will come out in the middle of the year and is based on Johns’ Brainiac comics story from 2008.

 

Justice League: Flashpoint, the story that led into DC’s The New 52, will be out in the fall and will likely premiere at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

 

Following are highlights from the panel:

 

* A trailer for the Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes was shown to start the panel.

 

* The panelists — executive producer Bruce Timm and voice director Andrea Romano — were introduced, and a trailer was shown.

 

* Timm said the story was “so big and so well-loved” that it would have been impossible to do it in one movie. He said he told Warner that both movies had to be green-lit back-to-back.

 

Romano said doing the movie back-to-back also helped to schedule the actors.

 

* Romano said that 33 actors were involved in the movies.

 

* Romano said she met Michael Emerson, who plays the Joker, at a Comic-Con. She said that afterward, he said it was the hardest work he’s ever done. “He’s remarkable and scary and weird,” Romano said.

 

* Timm noted that the voices were really different, and he wanted to do unique casting for it. “He’s really different in the comic anyway. It’s not the typical Joker,” he said.

 

* Emerson recorded the role in New York, and there was a Skype hookup when Romano worked with him.

 

* Timm said director Jay Oliva – a longtime storyboard artist — was a huge fan of the comic. “Beside all of his other talents, he’s a genius at action staging,” Timm said.

 

* An action clip was then shown.

 

* Timm noted the voice of the new commissioner was by Maria Canals, who voiced Hawkgirl in Justice League.

 

* Timm said he didn’t want the soundtrack to sound like Danny Elfman or John Williams. Christopher Drake took a 1980s approach with synthesizers for the first movie, and Timm said “It wasn’t what we expected, but it was really cool.” In the second movie, when Batman fights Superman, Drake brings in an orchestra sound.

 

* Romano said that Mark Valley was “so game” in playing Superman, and the actually showed up a week early. “He did manage to make him a sympathetic character,” Romano said.

 

Timm noted that Valley put on glasses when he played Clark Kent.

 

* Timm noted that Yuri Lowenthal, who plays the Son of Batman, actually dressed as that character as a kid for Halloween.

 

* Conan O’Brien provides the voice Dave Endochrine, who interviews The Joker after his release from Arkham.

 

Romano said he was able to bridge his character’s slowly developing manical laugh in one take. “I think he has a future in voiceover,” Timm added.

 

* Timm said there will be aspect of Grant Morrison’s Batman work that might be touched upon in future work, but he couldn’t say more than that.

 

* Timm said that while use of tobacco guarantees an R-rating — thus Gordon’s use of nicotine gum in the first part — “It turns out swastikas on naked breasts doesn’t automatically get your an R-rating.”

 

* Timm said there are many ways to play Batman from the 1960s TV show to the Christopher Nolan movies. He said when he created the old Bruce Wayne for Batman Beyond, he didn’t realize “I was kind of ripping off Frank Miller.”

 

* Timm said he hasn’t heard from Frank Miller about Part 1. “Hoping,” he said.

 

* Timm said there are no plans for Batman Beyond, but “I would love to do it.”

 

* Asked about Kingdom Come, Timm said, “That might be a while.”

 

* Asked about Knightfall, Timm said, “It comes up every now and then.”

 

Disney XD will premiere two animated series on the Marvel Universe programming block — Marvel’s Avengers Assemble and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. — it was announced today by David Levine, Vice President and General Manager, Disney XD Worldwide and at New York Comic Con by Jeph Loeb, Marvel’s Head of Television.

Both series are currently in production at Marvel Televisoin and are slated to premiere in next summer on Marvel Universe on Disney XD.

 

“Fans who enjoy the cinematic thrills of Marvel’s The Avengers and Hulk will be thrilled with the new Marvel series, which are the ultimate blend of action, adventure, humor, and above all great storytelling that perfectly aligns with boys’ interests,” said Levine. “The Marvel Universe block on Disney XD brings together the greatest super heroes on the planet to the delight of kids and families worldwide.”

“All the fun from the movie theater, all the fun you’ve had reading these characters through the years in the comics, will be brought to life in a way that will explode out of your TV set!” Loeb said. “But to be a Marvel TV series, it also needs to have humor and heart. We have extraordinary, talented voice casts and superb writer/producers for our new series that deliver both.”

In “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble,” an animated series parallel to the record-breaking blockbuster movie “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Iron Man leads the team of mightiest heroes – Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and newcomer Falcon who combine their powers to battle threats no single hero could overcome. When the Avengers assemble, evil doesn’t stand a chance. The voice cast includes: Adrian Pasdar (“Heroes”) as Iron Man, Fred Tatasciore (“Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness”) reprises his role as Hulk, Roger Craig Smith (“Wreck-It Ralph”) as Captain America, Travis Willingham (“Shelf Life”) as Thor, Troy Baker (“Ultimate Spider-Man”) as Hawkeye, Laura Bailey (“The Super Hero Squad Show”) as Black Widow and Bumper Robinson (“The Game”) as Falcon. Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau and Steven T. Seagle of Man of Action Studios (“Ben 10,” “Generator Rex”) will serve as executive producers.

 

“Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.” stars Marvel’s biggest, hardest-hitting super hero Hulk as he is joined by his larger-than-life teammates and unconventional family  his cousin She-Hulk, the irascible Red Hulk, the exuberant A-Bomb and the savage Skaar – to tackle threats that are too enormous for other heroes to handle. The creative talents of Emmy Award-winning Paul Dini (“Batman: The Animated Series,” “Lost”) and Henry Gilroy (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) have been tapped for this series. The voice cast includes: Fred Tatasciore (“Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness”) as Hulk, Clancy Brown (“SpongeBob SquarePants”) as Red Hulk, Eliza Dushku (“Dollhouse”) as She-Hulk, Ben Diskin (“Codename: Kids Next Door”) as Skaar and Emmy Award-winning Seth Green (“Robot Chicken”) as A-Bomb.

 

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