To start the panel off, the show's opening sequence of Batman beating up two armed thugs was shown with the screen split between original footage and remastered HD footage. Needless to say, the difference between now and then is absolutely staggering.
Producer/developer Bruce Timm, who would tape the shows on VHS back in the day, spoke at length about how the episodes came together. “It was a lot of work," he said, going on to explain that one of the first questions the crew asked themselves was whether or not every single episode would be great. And while some scripts spoke louder and had more potential than others, the amount of effort put into Batman: The Animated Series was truly something to behold.
“Every damn episode of this series was movie quality,” said Tara Strong, voice of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl and Harley Quinn. "You feel like you're in the comic that you grew up loving ... That's why it holds up."
Her fellow castmember, Kevin Conroy, the quintessential voice of Batman for many fans, sat next to Strong on the panel and described what it was like working with the talented voice cast, both primary and guest stars (i.e. Adam West, Ed Asner, and Roddy McDowall). Of course, Conroy had to bring up Mark Hamill (curiously missing from the panel), the voice behind the show's Joker, which many consider to be one of the top three interpretations of the classic DC villain.
“To be in a booth with Mark Hamill is dangerous," Conroy said, going into detail about the physicality that Hamill brought to the role. "He’s got a Jim Carrey, kind of rubbery face going... it’s a dangerous place to be!”
When it came to Conroy's hiring, the story was told by series voice director Andrea Romano. She had listened to 800 auditions and whittled it down to 80 actors, one of whom was Kevin. “He had this innate understanding of the character," explained Romano. Right off the bat, Conroy compared Batman to Hamlet. During the Q&A portion, Conroy, who has a background in classical theater, compared Batman to the great figures of ancient mythology.
“He’s one of those great epic characters [of] our [modern] culture," he said.
The Blu-Ray is set to drop Oct. 16 and will contain remastered versions of the original 85 episodes that aired between 1992 and 1995. In addition, the collection will also include the 24 episodes of The New Batman Adventures, which was a follow-up to the first show, running from 1997 to 1999. In addition to the discs, fans who purchase the box set will get three Funko figures (Batman, Harley, Joker), cards depicting certain scenes from the show, a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the series, and some other awesome goodies.
A short snippet of the featurette, centering on the show's aesthetic, was shown. Naturally, the look of Batman: TAS was inspired by the old Fleischer Superman cartoons from the '40s, art deco, and film noir.
You can pre-order the Blu-Ray set on Amazon, whose page for the product just went live yesterday. In the first 24 hours, 2,000 orders were placed, said panel moderator Gary Miereanu.
Lastly, the first two seasons (remastered, of course) will be made available on DC's streaming service, DC Universe.
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