in Movies

WonderCon 2014: “Son of Batman” Panel

10299975_379288075545597_1767657082959577241_n

After a fairly crowded arena at WonderCon witnessed the world premiere of DCU’s newest animation confection, Son of Batman, we were also treated to a Q&A with some of the brilliant talent involved in the production.That means James Tucker, the DCU “super” producer, director Ethan Spaulding, animator Phil Bourassa, casting director and voice actor guru Andrea Romano, actor Xander Berkeley (who plays Kirk Langstrom in the film), Firefly star Sean Maher (Nightwing), Stuart Allen (Damien) and Jason O’Mara (Batman).

Let’s dive in.

The film is rated PG-13, and it’s filled with blood, cleavage, and a sperm donor line. Tucker “can’t find the line,” he’s unable to cross with the ratings system, and wants to give the audience bang for their buck, upping the stakes for the film. Blood, cleavage and sperm are what every fan wants.

Son of Batman is based on a comic book of the same name by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert, and Tucker was asked what the difficulties were in adaptation, and the choices they made. They clearly made changes, and took liberties with the story, as they “had room to adapt,” though it was difficult, because it couldn’t be 20 hours long.

It was Jason O’Mara’s second time as the new voice actor for Batman, after Justice League: War. When asked what it’s like, he couldn’t stop talking about Talia al Ghul’s cleavage (“that made this a great Friday night”), which became a running topic of discussion during the panel. In all seriousness, it was hard for him to find the elusive Bat-voice the first go round, but thanks to Andrea, they found it, and brought that experience onto SOB, which is an ill-advised abbreviation that I’m going to continue using.

Stuart Allen is asked what it was like to play Damien. When he first read the script, and was introduced to the character, he thought Damien was a brat. Then he went to Gamestop for the down low and insight into his character, and really got it. I still think Damien’s a brat myself. Stuart is as excitable and neurotic a kid as I’ve ever seen. He’s like a 9 year old on coke.

Berkeley, an in-demand voice and live action actor (he’s on Salem, premiering on Sunday), was asked what drew him to Kirk Langstrom. For him, it’s Batman, “of course you wanna do it. Who wouldn’t?” Good point. Especially when Andrea is involved, he’ll do it.

10177296_379288002212271_6056004964721185321_n

Sean Maher’s role as Nightwing is his first role in an animated film in his career. During the film and the oft-viewed Talia cleavage, Sean was constantly reminded of Morena Baccarin’s cleavage on Firefly, which consistently got sunburnt on set, and became a butt of jokes. This makes sense because Baccarin voices Talia.

Phil Bourassa is a God in the DC animation world, but this was his first solely Batman movie, and he’d been wanting to do one forever. Every artist has their own take on Batman. Any day drawing Batman is a good day. Amen.

With no disrespect to Sean Maher, it’s asked why Nightwing is the only one who can take down Damien in the film. Their fight is skimmed over in the film, but stay tuned for the credits to get a taste of their battle royale. They apparently couldn’t fit in the movie/couldn’t figure out how to make it cool enough (pretty much what they said). They could’ve cut out the Gorilla-Bat scene and replaced it with the Nightwing/Damien fight.

When asked by an audience member who they’d dress up as on the exhibit floor, Jason O’Mara responded with Boba Fett to many cheers. Stuart Allen offered Green Lantern and Iron Man.

Andrea Romano is thanked at least three times for an amazing childhood by fans, which is one of the better compliments I can dream up.

Then came a parade of crappy questions that you know the panel can’t answer, like will there be more Damien/Son of Batman movies, or if they have plans for Character A and Character B, yadda yadda yadda. One guy, effusive in his praise for the DC animated films, then insults them by arguing that he’s fatigued with Batman and that they are relying too heavily on Batman (fair), and pointing out that Marvel respects and utilizes all their characters (true, but unfair and beside the point). This “question” isn’t met positively.

1505481_379287945545610_7127364992012773272_n

When asked what characters they’d like to see explored in a future film, James Tucker mentions Spectre, and Bourassa talks up Kirby’s Fourth World characters.

Apparently Dick Grayson/Nightwing is the only Robin in the new DCU animated continuity (until Damien comes along), which means that there is no Tim Drake. They aren’t hating on Tim, but “normal people need to understand this too.” It didn’t come out as insulting as that sounded. Tim Drake is asked about another time, because nobody listens TO OTHER QUESTIONS.

Jason O’Mara is impressing fans. One questioner even says “Kevin who?”, a reference to the god of Bat-voices, Kevin Conroy. Hold your horses, kid. There was a lot of pressure on O’Mara to do the voice, but he tried to tune it all out, and didn’t refer to any of the other performances, hoping to create a unique and authentic voice of his own. I think he’s succeeded. Andrea points out that the voice has grown and evolved since JL: WAR, for the better.

Did Stuart feel pressure in bringing Damien to life? It is, after all, the first time he’s on the big screen (or Blu-Ray). He felt a little pressure, sure, but he’s a laid back guy. You “gotta go with the flow.” If anyone over 10 had said that, there probably would’ve been boos.

Several people harp on Tucker and company to adapt classic DC books into films, like The Killing Joke. Tucker responds that the company makes 3 movies every year, with 2 in continuity, and the third a one-off, so there’s always that possibility. TBA. If you’re playing a comic con drinking game at home, that’s a big-time drink. I think some version of the “we can’t tell you $#*!” line was used 13 times in this panel. There are some awful questions, but some worse answers. Andrea even commented on their glib responses, and apologized for them, because they can’t announce anything…until they’re announced.

Tucker apparently didn’t know that Deathstroke was being used on Arrow when they were making Son of Batman, because the myriad branches of WB work separately. Seems silly, because as the fan mentions, Slade is “everywhere right now.” Of course, since he’s a badass, that’s probably not a bad thing, and there are several different takes on the character.

After another stupid question, I stalked off, ready for dinner, my first day of WonderCon over. Tomorrow is a latter day, one with innumerable goodies in store.

Related Links

  • Corey

    Hello Andy,

    I honestly don’t know if you will read this message, but my name is Corey, and I am the person who told the DC Animated Staff panel about being fatigued on Batman. Mr. Greene, your choice of words are interesting. I do not feel I was being insulting to James Tucker and his staff only truthful. The reason I started off complimenting Mr. Tucker and his staff is because a.) I honestly am a fan of the DC Animated movies and b.) I did not want them to feel like they were being attacked or as you put it, insulted.

    I admire what the Warner Bros./DC animation staff does and appreciate the hard work that they put into their product. But as evidenced by the latest blu-ray release, their product more often than not revolves around one particular character, The Bat-Man. Yeah I know, Superman gets a good share of stand alone films as well, but poor Supes in my opinion isn’t as lauded as Bats.

    You say that the Marvel comparison is unfair, but since it’s start in 2007 with Superman: Doomsday, the DC Universe Animated Original Movies came with the promise of making films based on the various characters that inhabit the DC Universe. It is closing in on 10 years and we still have yet to get an animated movie about Aquaman, The Atom, Hawkman, Green Arrow (I know there was a 10 min animated short), The Question, and other wonderful DC characters.

    The reason I brought up Marvel, is because they’re taking chances on live action versions of less popular characters such as Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, yet all I’m asking from DC/Warner Bros. are animated versions of something other than the Dark Knight. Anyway, I can go on forever about this wonderful topic, but unfortunately, my time is very limited. I hope you do read my response which is not meant in anyway to be insulting of offensive to you.

    Take Mr. Green and good luck in all your future endeavors.