The panel actually started with a hilarious trailer for Lego Batman: The Movie (which gets released next year). Then, Andrea Romano (voice director) came out, and she was followed by Bruce Timm (executive producer). They then introduced the trailer for The Dark Knight Returns Part 2, and followed that with a discussion. They talked about the casting of Michael Emerson as theJoker and how Jay Oliva (a storyboard artist) got the directing gig. They then showed a clip of an action sequence where Batman (voiced by Peter Weller) takes down the cops on a rooftop. Bruce Timm then discussed Christopher Drake’s approach to scoring The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1 & 2. It was mainly an ’80s approach of scoring, but for the fight between Batman and Superman, Drake had approached that as a sort of clash of synthesizer vs. orchestra. Timm and Romano then discussed Mark Valley’s casting as Clark Kent/Superman. Valley, according to Romano, actually wore glasses while he was doing the voice of Clark Kent. Romano and Timm then showed what they called the “Braveheart” sequence where Batman rides up top on horseback and declares that he is the law.
They then showed another clip where the Joker is on a late night talk show whose host is voiced by none other than Conan O’Brien himself. The Joker then kills his psychiatrist (voiced by Michael McKean) and the studio audience. A Q&A session followed the clip. One surprising thing revealed was that smoking in an animated film can get an automatic R rating, but swastikas on naked breasts are fine for a PG-13. Also, the narration from the Frank Miller comic wasn’t used for the two films because it wouldn’t have worked. Andrea Romano revealed that, despite all the big names she can get to provide voice-over work, she still looks for new talent. When asked about what the most important theme to hold onto for the films was, he said that it was redemption; trying to not get lost in the darkness.
The panel finished up with a list of upcoming DC animated films for 2013. Besides The Dark Knight Returns Part 2, there’ll be Superman: Unbound, Justice League: Flashpoint, and Lego Batman: The Movie.