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Comic-Con@Home: Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two cast talks surprises, Dent-esque duality & Naya Rivera

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Jul 23, 2021, 9:05 PM EDT

If you think you know what to expect from the animated adaptation of Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two, you may want to think again. That's the big takeaway from today's virtual Comic-Con@Home panel featuring stars Jensen Ackles (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Julie Nathanson (Gilda/Holiday), Katee Sackhoff (Poison Ivy), Troy Baker (Joker), and screenwriter Tim Sheridan.

According to Baker, the second part of the animated adaptation of the 1996 comic by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale will “flip the script” on the source material. The changes, according to Baker, come in how relationships are handled –– the new film “leans into all the things we want” between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, and Batman and Harvey Dent/Two-Face. 

Check out the Comic-Con@Home panel below:

 

While the teases pretty much stopped there, the rest of the panel served as a deep dive into the film’s villains and their connection to the Dark Knight. There was a lot of talk about duality, made ironic by the film featuring Two-Face as one of its primary characters.

As Gilda, Two-Face’s wife and also the serial killer Holiday, Nathanson found her character torn in two directions. “You can tell every time she’s talking to Harvey that she’s keeping herself from her own pain,” Nathanson said, though she acknowledged how Gilda still wants to connect with her husband.

For Sackhoff, she intentionally played her character Poison Ivy as a romantic, albeit a scheming one. She’s happy to create a fantasy involving Bruce Wayne, but it won’t stop her plans of taking over Gotham.

Baker, however, went deeper and talked about the duality a villain should have, both in themselves, and as a mirror to Batman. “He’s Don Quixote,” said Baker of the caped hero voiced by Ackles, “and we’re just showing him how everyone reflects something about Batman in themselves.” 

Reflecting was something that Ackles intentionally tried to avoid. With Batman being portrayed by so many actors, including Baker, the former Supernatural star called the role a “hot potato," while noting, "I tried my best not to think about what somebody else had done."

Ackles previously voiced the Red Hood in the 2010 animated film, Batman: Under the Red Hood, but this was his first time getting to play the Dark Knight proper. He said that going in a new direction for Batman is tough, but he eventually came away with a performance that sounded distinct in its own way. But it definitely took some time, as Ackles’ freely admitted his other enemy was “knocking the Texas outta my accent,” he joked. “I didn’t wanna slip into Matthew McConaughey.” 

The way the cast talked about their respective characters, you could tell they have a palpable excitement and understanding for each of them, particularly Nathanson. That understanding extended to Catwoman’s voice actor, Naya Rivera. The actor died in 2020, making the Long Halloween films her final role, and the first film is dedicated to her in the credits. After a question about voice work, Nathanson took the opportunity to give posthumous praise to their departed cast member, admitting that she found herself “watching her [Rivera’s] performance” from the first film. “It’s so right on target, and she’s portrayed so beautifully.”

Recalling Rivera's excitement at getting to play such an iconic role, Sheridan called it "a loss" that her time as Catwoman was so brief. 

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two releases on July 27.

Click here for SYFY WIRE's full coverage of Comic-Con@Home 2021.