Thursday, September 16, 2021

Comic-Con@Home Panel Recap: ‘Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two’

As San Diego Comic-Con’s second year of Comic-Con@Home continues, the long-awaited Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two panel is finally here! The panel included actors Jensen Ackles (Bruce Wayne), Troy Baker (The Joker), Julie Nathanson (Gilda Dent), Katee Sackhoff (Poison Ivy), screenwriter Tim Sheridan, and moderator Tiffany Smith with appearances from cosplayer Heidi Mae.

Without further ado, check out the panel and our recap below!

Speaking on the topic of heroes versus villains, Sackhoff comments that being bad is more fun; she gets more leeway to make the characters relatable instead of on the extreme straight and narrow. Ackles teasingly speaks on being the only hero on the panel. Sheridan speaks on having more fun writing for the villains, teasingly telling Ackles to close his ears.

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Smith inquires about the duality of the characters, citing Bruce Wayne/Batman as a prime example. Nathanson speaks on the subtlety and nuance of playing Gilda, who exhibits this duality in dealing with Harvey, both guarding herself against him and wanting to connect with him on an emotional level.

San Diego Comic Con

Sheridan comments on getting to see the marvel of the actors’ choices in the recording booth bringing his writing to life. Baker speaks on his amazement going from his first gig as an actor to a character that couldn’t laugh to a character renowned for his laugh. He then goes on to speak about The Long Halloween being a deep cut for Batman fans, explaining its importance as a precursor to franchise pieces like Batman: Year One and Batman: The Animated Series and praising Ackles and his other cast members for their phenomenal performances in these daunting roles.

Sheridan praises Nathanson’s performance as Poison Ivy, an extremely nuanced character. Nathanson talks about her voice acting experiences early on in her career and how they helped her prepare for such a complex role such as this one.

Baker speaks on how the “villains” are never truly the villains from their perspective (everyone is the hero in their own story) and how the aspects of their characters served as mirrors for Batman.

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Smith inquires how it feels to see the relationships and chemistry that the movie focuses so much on between the characters play out on screen having recorded the dialogue remotely. Ackles talks about coming in with the mentality that his job as an actor is to play his role as well as he can and then release it “into the ether” for the production crew to work their magic, always wanting to strengthen the overall work with his portion of the performance. Nathanson comments on the magic of getting to see everyone’s performances fit together so seamlessly, particularly on the talents of Sackhoff and the late Naya Rivera. In a solemn moment, Sheridan emotionally praises Rivera’s performance and her excitement at the project.

Smith asks Ackles if it was intimidating working with people like Baker, who’s played The Joker in a couple of different capacities, and how he approached his performance in light of that. Ackles says that he tried not to consult Baker or rely on earlier directions that previous actors took the character in, trying to carve out a new, unique path. He and Baker joke about trying to “knock the Texas out” of their accents.

San Diego Comic Con

Ackles and Baker briefly speak on the difficulty of the task construing a character purely through sound rather than facial expressions or actions. The crew jokes about weird actions they’ve done in the sound booth to get the full performance into their voice.

Troy Baker departs the panel.

Sheridan speaks on the amazing work of the voice director, Wes Gleeson, and the actors in creating the illusion that everyone was together in the recording booth instead of recording virtually, bringing his work off the page. After jokingly teasing the absent Josh Duhamel, the cast praises his work. Sheridan goes as far as to say they are in the #Duhamelaissance, where he is creating some of his best work. Sackhoff especially praises his shift in performance between the events of Part One and Part Two and his transformation from Harvey to Two-Face.

Sackhoff, Ackles, and Smith discuss how Batman’s more submissive nature in the dynamic between Poison Ivy and Bruce in this early iteration of his adventures, Batman having not yet learned the ropes and become the jaded character he is.

Smith praises the nature of the multiple strong and confident female characters in the movie, asking Nathanson and Sackhoff how it feels to drive the narrative forward. Nathanson loves how the women didn’t necessarily have to be stereotypically and overtly physical to be a strong character. Sheridan likes how even though this movie has an older 1940s-50s feel, these iconic female DC characters aren’t purely reacting to the actions of the men. They are their own fleshed-out, well-rounded characters. Sackhoff piggybacks, commenting that it’s nice to have the emotional vulnerability of the female characters, which can sometimes be the greatest strengths, represented on screen.

San Diego Comic Con

With everyone on the panel being a con veteran, Smith asks what everyone misses most about the normal con experience. Sackhoff misses the interaction with the fans. Tim jokes about no fans knowing who he is and having a different experience but misses the overall community feel of coming together and sharing in something that you collectively love. Julie misses the energy and passion of the crowds who come to appreciate these stories they love. Jensen equates the convention circuit to a band going on tour and saying that he misses the experience of being in front of the people who love the art that they’re creating and that interplay of energy between the fans and the actors.

Smith asks what type of candy each actor’s character would put outside of their house at Halloween. Sackhoff says not to trust any candy Poison Ivy puts out, joking that she would put out poisoned apples or candy. Smith thinks she would leave perfume-y tasting candy out. Jensen jokes Bruce would put out single servings of caviar and airplane bottles of champagne. Tim talks about making sure that in the script, the bowl of candy Alfred had was full-sized (because we all know the rich people always have the good candy). Nathanson thinks Gilda would give each child one dot of candy.

San Diego Comic Con

Heidi closes out the panel by revealing her final Joker look and gives a few tips to cosplayers.

It was such a delight to see this panel play out. Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two is out on Digital starting July 27 and on Blu-Ray August 10. As always, stay tuned to Nerds and Beyond for more updates!

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Kenedi
Kenedi Lynch is a college student pursuing her BS in Biology. She hopes to attend medical school at Stanford or Johns Hopkins to obtain her MD-PhD and become an orthopedic surgeon. When she isn't hard at work, Kenedi enjoys reading, watching her favorite shows on Netflix, and listening to music. Some of her favorite fandoms are Supernatural, Harry Potter, Bones, Criminal Minds, and Percy Jackson.

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