What We Learned From The Animation Panels At DC FanDome: Explore The Multiverse

Last Saturday, September 12, saw the second part of DC Comics virtual convention DC FanDome, titled Explore the Multiverse. This had a heavy focus on DC television and also had a few panels about recent and upcoming animated films. Some of these panels were originally scheduled for DC FanDome on August 22, and it seemed that some panels would run concurrently with the panels about live-action films and video games. Thankfully, DC decided to push panels back to September 12 so that the experiences would be more manageable for the viewers. The video games and live-action films had their time to shine in the Hall of Heroes, and now fans could relax and what whatever panels they wanted in whatever order they preferred from 10 AM PST Saturday to about 12 PM PST Sunday. This particular article will have highlights from the animation-related panels that were present in the Watchverse section of the DC FanDome website.

DC Showcase: Batman – Death in the Family

Death in the Family is an interactive short film based on the iconic comic book storyline from 1988 that resulted in the death of Jason Todd. The short film is described as somewhat of a horror story and will have a branching narrative. What we learned from the panel is that one branching segment will be about 20 minutes long, several will be around 7 minutes, and one will be 30 seconds. One of the branches was described as, “One day, Jason walks into a diner.”

The panel showcased the opening credits, complete with great artwork, and two clips. In one of these clips, Jason Todd is bandaged up (like Hush) and lying in a hospital bed, where he is visited by smiling Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, and Alfred Pennyworth. Jason has an internal monologue in which he thinks about what a terrible person Bruce is for putting others in the line of fire, and he imagines Bruce’s face morphing into that of the Joker. The other clips shows Jason Todd in an outfit that looks somewhat reminiscent of one of Tim Drake’s Red Robin outfits. Jason wields two guns as he and Two-Face try shooting each other in a mall, and a giant phone falls on Jason. We also learned that the short film will include Talia al Ghul (Zehra Fazal) and Two-Face (Gary Cole).

The release is slated for October 13.

Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons

This animated film was released in August and focuses on Deathstroke’s assassin life and family issues. This was a pretty straightforward discussion of the making of the film. I watched it recently and really enjoyed how believable the family drama was.

Harley Quinn

At the panel for the animated Harley Quinn show, there was no news on whether season 3 was happening. However, there was a joke about how perhaps Punchline, a henchwoman and significant other to the Joker in the Rebirth comics, could end up with Kite Man. Some of the panel was spent talking about Harley and Ivy's relationship. Ron Funches, the voice of Killer Shark, also humorously stated that the DC comedy show Powerless did not work because it focused on regular people rather than those with superpowers, and then Harley Quinn tried again with superpowered characters and it ended up being better.

Legion of Super Heroes

This panel was a nice look back at the cartoon that aired from 2006 to 2008, in which a young Superman goes to the 31st century and has adventures with the Legion of Super Heroes.

Producer James Tucker talked about how, since the film Superman Returns was coming out at the time, Legion of Super Heroes was pitched as a Superman show to Cartoon Network on a Friday. Cartoon Network passed, but then Kids WB said on a Monday that they would like a show. However, the pitch had to be reworked so that the series would skew for a bit of a younger audience. Of course, the second season got darker.

Watch Legion Of Super Heroes - Season 1 | Prime Video

Tucker said that Brainiac 5 had a crush on Clark Kent, but there was no confirmation at the time of the show because they did not want to hammer it on the head.

Had the show continued with a third season after the cliffhanger ending, it would have been about Brainiac 5 trying to redeem himself after destroying half the galaxy. Director Brandon Vietti said that he would love to return to Legion of Super Heroes if it were ever revived.

Legion of Super Heroes: The Complete Series is now available on Blu-ray thanks to the Warner Archive Collection.

Superman: Man of Tomorrow

Speaking of Superman, there was a screening for Superman: Man of Tomorrow. This was preceded by an introduction by Matt Bomer, who has voiced Superman in Superman: Unbound and portrayed Negative Man in Doom Patrol. Bomer said that the viewers are the first ones to see this animated film. However, that is not true. It would have been true had this screening been available at DC FanDome on August 22, the day before the film’s digital release. But of course, it got pushed back, and it feels odd that the introduction was not edited to reflect this.

There was also a Man of Tomorrow panel, which went into the idea behind the film. It was described as “Act Two” of Superman’s life, with Smallville being “Act One.” I had seen the film the week that it was released, and it does indeed have this vibe. It feels like a back to basics type of film, but there are amusing interactions between Superman, Martian Manhunter, and Lobo.

At the end of the panel, Bomer mentioned that early 2021 will see the release of Bruce Timm’s Batman: Soul of the Dragon. After that, spring will see the release of Justice Society: World War II, and Bomer pretty much confirmed that he is voicing a character in that film. Summer and fall will see the release of the two-part adaptation of Batman: The Long Halloween.

Young Justice

Cast members from the animated show Young Justice (which aired on Cartoon Network from 2010 to 2013 before being canceled and then revived for DC Universe for a third season) took part in an audio drama titled “The Prize,” which is basically a prologue to the upcoming fourth season, and features members of The Team going up against Clayface and the Suicide Squad. While no specific release date for the fourth season was revealed, we did get a confirmation that the title of the season will be Young Justice: Phantoms. Some fans are now speculating that this could refer to Wally West and Jason Todd.

Final Thoughts

Overall, there was not much news from the animation side of DC FanDome. Death in the Family was the meatiest in that regard, though the Young Justice panel was in itself new narrative content via the audio play, with the season 4 title announcement at the end. The other panels felt like looking back at they at content that has already been released. These animation panels did not really break the internet the way the live-action film and video game announcement panels did last month, but it was still fun seeing the people behind these animated projects talk enthusiastically about DC media.

Source(s): DC FanDome