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SDCC2013: "Beware the Batman" Screening and Q&A

To promote DC Nation’s newest series, the CG Beware the Batman, Comic Con devoted an entire program to it. Moderated by USA Today writer Brian Truitt, the event began with the screening of the never before seen fifth episode of the series “Broken,” featuring Batman rogue Humpty Dumpty.

Following the screening, Bruce Wayne/Batman voice actor Anthony Ruivivar, Alfred voice actor JB Blanc, and producers Mitch Watson and Glen Murakami were brought out for a Q&A session. When asked about playing Batman, Ruivivar said it’s a daunting task to take on, but he attacks it by getting into the psyche of Batman and Bruce Wayne. When asked about Alfred, Blanc said “We spiced him up a bit,” explaining that this Alfred is less Bruce Wayne’s butler and more his trainer. Blanc went on to say, “If you have a younger Batman, you gotta have a younger Alfred.” He worked on how he thought the voice should sound, pitched it, and it stuck.

When asked what makes this Batman different from the loads of other interpretations of the character, Watson stressed that they are using villains that haven’t been seen before. Their goal is to do a back-to-basics approach to Batman, focusing on his detective roots. This is what informed the look and score of the series. Murakami said they made a decision not to do art deco or gothic, instead, pushing to do a modern approach. “We wanted it to look cinematic,” he said, pointing out how they designed the 3D models and lit the scenes to give it a film-like quality.

The producers were asked what they look for in a villain, and Watson said there are specific stories they want to tell. “We wanted to find villains that would highlight whatever is going on emotionally with the character,” said Watson. Murakami emphasized using different villains, not out of disrespect from what came before, but so the show would have a fresh and new take.

The panel went on to talk about what we can expect to see in the relationship between Bruce and Alfred. Ruivivar said that Batman is figuring out where he belongs and Alfred, having a past with MI6, is the one pushing Batman into new territory. Blanc says Alfred does have a sense of duty to Bruce’s parents and wants to uphold that duty. Blanc also said “There’s a lot of fun to them,” recalling instances where Alfred has to try to get Bruce to eat.

Barbara Gordon appears early in the series, so the inevitable question of whether we’ll see Batgirl came up. Watson answered with a cagey, “I can’t say whether you will or whether you won’t.” Watson did reveal that this season’s throughline would be focused on the character of Tatsu. The idea is to explore what she knows while in the employ of Bruce Wayne, and what she finds out.

The panels were asked if we can expect any guest stars, and Watson gave a solid “Yes,” saying Adam Baldwin will be playing Metamorpho and Emmanuelle Chriqui will be playing Sapphire Stagg. Watson also teased that a well-known actor will play a major villain who will show up in the second half of the season, but it’s not the Joker.

The audience was then invited to ask questions. A fan pointed out Alfred’s resemblance to Lex Luthor and asked about it. Watson said the comparison never occurred to them. Murakami answered, “He just looked cooler. He looked tougher, meaner.”

Anarky, who has been promoted as a major presence on this series, was asked about. Murakami answered that he will be different than the way he has been depicted in comics, saying, “He’s the White King to Batman’s Black King.”

When asked about the Joker, Murakami said they don’t have any plans for many of Batman’s Rogues Gallery at the moment. Black Mask, who has been given more exposure in other Batman works, will not be used on the show at this time.

The producers were asked about how hurt they can show characters getting. While there won’t be any bleeding, they are able to depict serious injury. “It’s a balancing act,” Watson explained.

The audience then asked questions about other specific characters. There aren’t any plans for Robin at the moment, but there will be other heroes. “But not the ones you might think,” said Watson. There are no plans for Catman, either. While Hush was discussed, they ultimately went with another character who has similarities to Hush. Nocturna is “not off the table” according to Watson.

Murakami does assure us, however, that they have gone through the entire catalog of Batman characters. They don’t have plans to create new and original villains for this season.

When asked about a Beware the Batman movie, Watson answered “You never know,” saying it depends on how well the series does.

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