Batman Beyond 20th Anniversary Panel from San Diego Comic Con

For a guy with a Batman Beyond podcast, this past weekend was  heaven for me. Beyond celebrated the 20th anniversary of its animated series premiere, filling the colossal Hall-H of San Diego Comic for a celebratory panel. I’m also a sucker for behind-the-scenes, special features, featurettes, interviews; uh, panels! Ever since I was a kid, back in the old days of VHS and DVDs, a DVD with special features was gold, especially pre YouTube.

And, speaking of non-VOD versions of content, they also announced at the panel a much hoped for Batman Beyond Blu-Ray.  From my last C506 piece covering the Blu-Ray:

The 20th panel consisted of big time Beyond producers, creators, and both Batman voice actors. In attendance were Stan Berkowitz, Bob Goodman, James Tucker, Bruce Timm, Andrea Romano, Glenn Murikami, Will Friedle, and Kevin Conroy.

Batman Beyond 20th SDCC Panel

On our Above and Batman Beyond podcast, my co-host/Beyond expert, Eli Benson and I sat down for a much needed “Bat Chat Beyond” segment. The podcast was originally, and still is, an interview show, talking with creators, experts, and fans of Batman Beyond.  But, to cover con, Eli and I just had to Bat Chat about the 20th panel and the Blu-Ray, get it out of our Beyond nerdy systems. Make sure to follow Eli’s powerful and informative @batman_beyond_fanpage on Instagram.

When we first hit the panel in our Bat Chat, we gave our overall impressions of the Hall-H event upfront. Sure enough, Eli mentioned something I knew I wanted to write about prior to the pod, the second I heard it myself watching the panel.

From our Above and Batman Beyond podcast:

Eli Benson: Even on the panel, Glenn Murikami, Bruce Timm, a lot of them said that they hold this series to very high regards. This was a very special project for them, because it was so unlike a lot of their previous projects. And, as Glenn Murikami even stated, they can kind of exit their parameters. They were previously doing classic Batman, classic Superman, but let’s try to take other influences. Let’s try to take anime influences, let’s try to do something incredibly different, not just like deco/noir. And, for that reason, it’s very special to them, which I find really cool.    

Benjamin David: Yea, I liked hearing about that. We talked about this earlier, off mic, that not all of the [moderator’s] questions were great, but I thought he started off with a good question: When you go back to drawing board of having to recreate Batman in a way, what did you do to kind of set yourself apart?

And, that was one of the things that Glenn Murikami said, right? 

EB: Right. 

BD: Like, animation wise, we were locked into this, what did he call it? “Type cast,” we were type cast as this film noir, one trick pony in terms of style, aesthetically–whatever you want to call it– from Batman: The Animated Series. To then, now that you’re in the future, they were able to go nuts with other styles. 

Friedle and Conroy, 20th SDCC Panel

From the Batman Beyond 20th panel at SDCC:

Glenn Murikami: We were kind of getting branded as old fashioned, probably because of Superman, so we just–

Bruce Timm: Wanted to make everything fresh. 

Murikami: Yea, but we knew we were capable of doing other things, so we were like, well, let’s show them, prove it to them. 

Left to right: Will Friedle (Terry McGinnis/Batman), Kevin Conroy (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Andrea Romano (Voice Director), Bruce Timm (Executive Producer, Co-creator)

As close to my heart as I hold BTAS and New Batman Adventures, you have to show respect for the artist who moves on and grows. Like Murikami said, “We knew we were capable.” Art, stories–even WB corporate mandate–these aren’t things should stagnate. And, the best thing about Beyond was that we really got to have our cake and eat it. We got to keep our Kevin Conroy voiced Bruce Wayne, most of the same writers, producers, and music composers from BTAS. What else could an animated Bat fan of the nineties ask for?

As I said on our ABB podcast, the moderator, Gary Miereanu, put a good spin on a potentially boring question. “How a show first came to be” questions can get stale for a panel. They’re kind of necessary, but they can also be found on IMDB trivia. Asking the panelists how Beyond would be different from its predecessors, the challenges that came along with it. That was a good way to get information about early days of Beyond production without the panel getting stale.

As I said in my last Beyond Blu-Ray piece, this is just one of many coverage pieces for the SDCC Batman Beyond 20th panel/Blu-Ray. Stay tuned here at C506 as well as the Above and Batman Beyond podcast for more from Beyond! Let us know what you guys thought of the 20th celebration. 

Today’s talk and all episodes of Above and Batman Beyond are available on iTunes, Soundcloud, and SUBSCRIBE!! 

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