Andy Bentley writes for Bleeding Cool:
The panel Friday afternoon consisted of Gary Miereanu of WB Home Entertainment,
Producer James Tucker, Director Jay Oliva, Voice Director Andrea Romano and our new and reportedly ongoing voice of Batman, Jason O'mara.
Before the matter at hand, Gary took the first ten minutes to promote the newly released deluxe edition of the Dark Knight Returns. It features both parts of the movie as well as a new documentary on Frank Miller and the source material. We were treated to a two minute preview consisting of the likes of Miller, Grant Morrison, Mike Carlin, Denny O'Neil and Janette Kahn talking about the impact of the landmark 1986 book. Already owning both parts on Blu Ray, I wasn't jazzed for this double dip when first announced, but the Frank Miller documentary and audio commentary won me over.
On to Justice League: War. Set for release sometime early 2014, it is a loose adaptation of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's first 6 issues of the current Justice League title. It will feature Cyborg's origin and will have Captain Marvel taking the place of Aquaman in the story. But fear not, Arthur Curry fans! Miereanu eluded to a solo animated adventure for the king of the seas in the near future.
We then saw our first clip of the film which was a tight adaptation of the Green Lantern/Batman encounter from the first issue. This was the first chance to hear O'Mara's take on Batman and I found it lacking and doubt I was alone. Cheers followed even the slightest mention of Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League) during the hour. He explained afterwards he began with a gruff growl akin to Christian Bale's interpretation but through the process with Romano he lightened it to merely a low tone.
Tucker jumped in to explain that the new 52 gave them the starting point for a new direction in DVD productions. Although they'll use it as a somewhat loose continuity for future movies, don't expect mere adaptations in the future. Jay Olivia expressed his desire for kick-ass action in his films and cited Phil Bourassa (Young Justice, Justice League: Doom) as character designer. A second clip consisted of the infamous Wonder Woman ice cream scene that was derided online for it's incongruent take on the character.
We then moved on to Q+A which centered mostly on questions about voice acting and future titles. Blackest Night, Sinestro Corps War, Knights of Vengeance, Gotham by Gaslight have all been discussed by DC Home Video. A Curse of Robins movie was suggested showing the impact of being a Robin which drew a decent positive reaction from the crown. Another Batman Beyond movie was suggested which garnered even more applause. The panel indicated Bruce Timm might have an idea for one. There were the obligatory requests for more Young Justice and Justice League TV series which sounded quite out of the realm of possibility (look up the abrupt cancellation of Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series by Cartoon Network for further explanation). The panel ran down the previously announced future titles which are Son of Batman and Batman: Assault on Arkham (tied into the video game franchise).
As for voice acting, Romano described the process of selecting potential actors and then holding a meeting to decide who is a feasible cast. She keeps a long list in her head of potential actors to recruit and John Hamm is #1 with a bullet. Romano conceded that there is a definite trend to getting big name actors for voice over work, but stressed the amount of career VO talents that she continually employs including this film. She likes accents or anything that stands out in an actor's voice yet she cautioned that acting always takes precedent.
We were treated to one last clip which was the conclusion to the first scene between Batman and Green Lantern which was more pounding violence against Darkseid's Parademons. I'm a huge fan of DC animation but to be honest I wasn't a fan of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and I didn't see anything that changed my mind at this panel. It feels like the character work from the Paul Dini/Bruce Timm era has been sacrificed for Olivia's penchant for action. At least I'll have the robust Dark Knight Returns release to keep me satiated.