This past weekend Comic-Con International virtually held its annual WonderCon convention. There were many star-studded appearances all across the comic book, science fiction, television, and film space. Among them was the cast and crew of Justice Society: World War II. In attendance for the 45-minute panel were members of the crew including supervising producer Butch Lukic, director Jeff Wamester, as well as co-screenwriters Meghan Fitzmartin and Jeremy Adams. Publicist Gary Miereanu moderated the panel.
Fitzmartin gave insight on what the process behind creating an ensemble film like Justice Society: World War II is like.
“I grew up following a bunch of superhero teams, like Justice League, and one of the things I always found fascinating was how a big ensemble group means you get to play off these different emotional pieces. If you were doing a film about one particular character, it’s only about their journey and how that one person is affected. Whereas with an ensemble group, while Wonder Woman is our leader and the driving force, you get to see how her decisions are affecting everyone else on the team, and all the emotional spaces that each of these characters are existing in.”
Adams piggybacked off of Fitzmartin giving his own answer to the question:
“As a viewer, you always want to have some sort of story arc for all the characters, and a reason for why they’re there. That way they’re not just watching inconsequential automatrons. That grounds the movie, and anchors us in believing in the stakes and believing in the adventure that they’re going on. That’s always the challenge, and thank goodness we have Jeff (Wamester) and Butch (Lukic) that have a grand overview and can keep us all in our lanes.”
Lukic talked about which members made it into the film, and how despite them having favorites of their own — not every character fit in the storyline.
“Wildcat was always one of my favorites, but not every character fit. Green Lantern Alan Scott was one that didn’t necessarily work within this story, and Wildcat’s background is similar to Black Canary’s background. Plus having Barry Allen and Steve Trevor being part of this story kind of outweighed having the other characters. So it really came down to which characters best served this particular story. Hopefully if there are future iterations of the JSA, we can include those other characters.”
The cast was also in attendance for the conversation that featured Stana Katic (Wonder Woman), Matt Bomer (Barry Allen/The Flash), Elysia Rotaru (Black Canary), Omid Abtahi (Hawkman), Chris Diamantopoulos (Steve Trevor), Armen Taylor (Jay Garrick/The Flash), Liam McIntyre (Aquaman), and Geoff Arend (Charles Halstead/Advisor).
They discussed what the collaborative process is like in an animated film, and Diamantopoulos had only positive things to say about how it all comes together between the characters and the writing.
“It’s a testament to the way this whole process is done that we were able to pull off an ensemble performance, and it certainly plays in the movie. The interplay between the characters, the comedy and the drama all plays so beautifully – and what’s especially astounding about that is we all recorded separately. It’s certainly a credit to the writing, because the story and dialogue was woven together so well, but really it’s a testament to Wes (Gleason) and Butch (Lukic), who directed us – they had such a smart way of making sure that each of our lines would weave into the next line. And it does. When you watch this film, it’s like we were all hanging out together for six months, and I wish we were!”
Meanwhile, when talking about how they individually relate to their characters’ journey, Bomer talked about what parts of Barry resonated with him.
“Having been through the past year, certain aspects of Barry’s journey really resonated with me. At the start of the film, he’s so distracted trying to balance a hundred different things. He’s kind of a workaholic – he just can’t let go of it, and over the course of the film, through Diana and Steve’s relationship, and through his experience with the Justice Society, he’s able to really relax enough to learn to enjoy the present moment. I would say if there’s a positive takeaway from the past several months, it’s that we’ve gotten to slow down and be with the people we love, and spend some quality time with them and not be distracted by hundreds of other things.”
Armen Taylor gushed about his personal connection to the world of Justice Society: World War II because his grandfather was into the golden era age of comics and was in high school when the comics came out.
“My grandfather loved the Golden Age era of comics, and he was in high school when World War II broke out. So I got him on the phone and he was like ‘Oh yeah, I read all of those,” and started relating his memories of all the characters. Getting to hear from one of the first people to consume these stories, and his impressions of the characters, helped me to understand the expectations of an original Jay Garrick fan – from seven decades ago. And that was cool.”
Four new photos have also been released, including a shot of Wonder Woman interrogating Barry, the Justice Society of America gathering, Hourman (Matthew Mercer) and Hawkman, and Aquaman.
Check out the new images and full panel below.
Justice Society: World War II, distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, will be available on digital starting April 27 and on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Blu-ray on May 11.