A year after making its SDCC debut, the rebranded DC Super Hero Girls franchise from Lauren Faust returned this year on a Friday SDCC panel moderated by SYFY Wire host/producer Tara Bennett consisting of Faust herself, director and storyboard artist Natalie Wetzig, and voices actors Grey Griffin (Wonder Woman), Tara Strong (Batgirl), Kimberly Brooks (Bumblebee), Nicole Sullivan (Supergirl), and Kari Wahlgren (Zatanna).

The panel kicked off by playing an upcoming episode #GothamCon that saw Babs Gordon visiting her gal pal Harleen Quinzel in Gotham City to attend a convention. Written by Tim Sheridan and directed by Juston Gordon-Montgomery and John Sanford, it was a most appropriate episode to play in a packed convention center and quite meta. Watch a clip to see for yourself!

Once the episode finished, Faust recounted how she was able to draw upon ideas from her DC Nation Super Best Friends Forever series of shorts in developing this new version of DC Super Hero Girls. Incidentally, the depiction of Robin in DCSHG is in keeping with the young somewhat bratty SBFF design Faust shared on social media. Whether this Robin is Dick Grayson or Damian Wayne or another character completely remains to be seen.

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DC Super Hero Girls panel
Super Best Friends Forever concept art by Lauren Faust

As a woman in the animation industry working on a superhero project, which have traditionally been associated with a male audience,  Wetzig valued the opportunity to give a feminine perspective to these DC Comics icons and the large female presence not only in the casting but behind the scenes as well. Faust echoed Wetzig’s sentiments describing how in contrast to the difficulties she encountered early in her career, this is a wonderful time for women in the animation industry.

Being part of this unique cartoon is certainly not lost on the actors either. Tara Strong, who has known Faust for over two decades since their time on The Powerpuff Girls, praised Faust for capturing lightning in a bottle twice, first with the 2010 My Little Pony phenomenon and now DCSHG. She also thanked Faust for not only letting her be a part of both franchises but also the depiction of diverse body types throughout the show. Likewise, Griffin loved being able to channel some of her Mexican heritage for this iteration of Wonder Woman. Incorporating some flavor in the characters to combat whitewashing is particularly meaningful for Griffin.

As we saw with the above clip, Strong is doing double duty as both Batgirl and Harley Quinn, two characters she’s played in past projects but never simultaneously. Since the Batgirl in this series is already hyper, it meant that Strong had to amp up Harley’s crazy energy. So it may not come as a surprise that as talented as she is, even Strong has to record her Batgirl lines separately from her Harley lines.

DC Super Hero Girls panel
From L – R: Kari Wahlgren, Nicole Sullivan, Grey Griffin, Lauren Faust, Kimberly Brooks, Tara Strong

Growing up an unabashed drama geek, Wahlgren connected with that particular aspect of Zatanna. Though Supergirl in DCSHG is a bit rough around the edges, Nicole Sullivan admires how Supergirl bolsters her friends while they keep her in check and tamped down whenever she gets out of line. The complex camaraderie and relationships between the girls serve as a counter against superficial female friendships pervasive in media. The goal of the show is creating a balance and reflecting female experiences genuinely.

DC Super Hero Girls panelDuring the fan Q&A, an adorable little girl dressed as Katana was first in line. She didn’t have a question but just wanted to thank everyone on the DC Super Hero Girls panel for the show. Another young fan asked the creators how they got started in their careers. As a latchkey kid, Brooks felt lucky she grew up during a time when using one’s imagination was vital as opposed to modern conveniences of today’s world. That coupled with performing with puppets in the classroom were instrumental for her in becoming a voice actress. On the art side, Faust revealed that she began as a character layout artist during a summer job on the MTV cartoon The Maxx based on the titular comic created by Sam Kieth. Wetzig was a storyboard artist at Blue Sky Studios.

Regarding future episodes, Faust teased that Harley and Babs are peas in a pod for now, but things will come to a head if they ever find out each other’s identities. She also hinted to expect more aged down versions of DC Comics superheroes. Thanks to an exclusive poster given to select fans during a signing, those heroes include Green Arrow and Hawkman. The poster also showed the Flash and Garth, better known as Aqualad, both of whom have already been introduced in DCSHG. Let’s see how long before Garth wears his proper superhero trunks.

The panel ended with an unexpected appearance at the microphone by actor Jason Spisak, the voice of Hal Jordan/Green Lantern on DC Super Hero Girls. Sporting a GL shirt, Spisak thanked the cast and crew for producing a show that he could watch with his daughters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Watch brand-new episodes of DC Super Hero Girls all this week on Cartoon Network!

#FromBatToWorse
Written by Patrick Rieger
Directed by Jennifer Kluska and John Sanford

Having just moved to the boring Metropolis suburbs, Batgirl is thrilled when she intercepts a call from Batman asking for help. But before she can stop a visiting Gotham villain, she’ll have to sneak past her dad, Police Commissioner Gordon.

#CrushingIt
Written by G.M. Berrow
Directed by Natalie Wetzig

Diana Prince is absolutely crushing it in every single aspect of life as a student at Metropolis High, until someone shows up who threatens to throw her off her game for good.

#MisgivingTree
Written by Emily Brundige
Directed by Juston Gordon-Montgomery and John Sanford

Jessica Cruz and Pam Isley bond over protecting an ancient tree from being cut down. Neither of them realizes who the other’s alter ego is, or the lengths to which they’ll go to protect what’s important.

#IllusionsOfGrandeur
Written by Cindy Morrow
Directed by Noëlle Raffaele

Ready to emerge from her father’s shadow, Zee Zatara secretly seeks fame and acclaim performing for her own audience at the pier. But when her act is dismissed as fakery, she loses her cool and accidentally unleashes mischievous gremlins who run wild all over the pier.

#BeastsInShow
Written by M.A. Larson
Directed by Natalie Wetzig

When Babs and Kara spar over whose dog is better, they decide to settle it at the Metropolis Dog Show, where Ace the Bat-Hound and Krypto the Superdog suddenly find themselves called upon to save the day… in more ways than one.

#GothamCon
Written by Tim Sheridan
Directed by Juston Gordon-Montgomery and John Sanford

A fun day for Barbara Gordon and her bestie Harleen Quinzel (at Gotham City’s annual geekfest, the Annual Convention of Gotham City Enthusiasts!) is turned on its head when, out of nowhere, the villainous Harley Quinn shows up to wreak havoc! Lucky for everyone, Batgirl just happens to be in the area…

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