By Chloe Maveal
With DC Universe really starting to take off, subscribers to the streaming service on Saturday night of San Diego Comic Con rejoiced as big announcements including new shows — as well as returning ones — were revealed to the wildly captive audience in the Indigo Ballroom.
As an unfortunate, but necessary measure, the crowd was first greeted by Winson Seto, senior publicist for Warner Brothers who gave a heartfelt statement regard the recent news of a Titans crew member passing away on set.
“We are deeply saddened by this and because of this loss, the cast can’t be here with you tonight. The cast and crew of Titans are staying in Toronto to support their teammates.”
Though the cast wouldn’t be present for the show, Seto announced that Season 2 of Titans would be available to stream on September 6th. Following the heartbreaking news, Seto seemed relieved to be able to show a fantastic teaser trailer of the new season.
After a bombastic reaction from the audience, they were greeted by TV Guide senior writer Damien Holbrook who seemed just as happy to be there as the audience was.
“How many of you are subscribers?” he asked as a massive portion of the room raised their hand. “And how many of you here like Doom Patrol?” The crowd went absolutely wild, and as things started to settle, Holbrook said that before he wanted to bring out the cast, it was time to see the trailer for Season 1 that ends with the new tagline: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
“It’s like Legends of Tomorrow but on crystal meth!” said Holbrook, laughing as the trailer ended.
He then introduced Doom Patrol show runner Jeremy Carver and Crazy Jane actress Diane Guerrero which sent the audience into a whole fit as the guests settled into their seats at the stage table.
The conversation began by Holbrook first asking how difficult adapting something as bizarre as Doom Patrol for the screen and if they had ever heard of the Doom Patrol before making the show.
“It was one of those things where you thought it might be impossible, but then we had an absolutely incredible effects team and production team and all of the actors who were willing to lay it all on the line to make it happen,” said Carver. “And honestly, four days before I said yes to running the show, I had never even heard of the Doom Patrol. But I saw from page one that it wasn’t something about super sophisticated suits I’m not a super suit guy. I liked that it was rusty and the bandages were worn and torn and I like the not-shiny superhero. They made the characters seem especially human.”
The questions were then directed more towards Guerrero with Holbrook asking what it was like for her when she got into her script. Guerrero thought for a moment before replying very sincerely, “I work with an incredible bunch of people…and they’re so empathetic. It’s amazing to work with these people. I feel like as a human, I deal with trauma and emotions as we all do, and I identify with this character because Crazy Jane rides this roller coaster of emotion multiple times a day.”
She then gave a nod to the idea of seeing more conversation about mental health in the media as well as the fun of seeing the many emotions of Jane put to life: “This is why it’s so important to talk about mental health. It’s good to see those emotions personified but it’s fun for me. Like, oh, thats Hammerhead so it’s anger. That’s the Hangman’s Daughter so it’s sadness—“
Guerrero began to quickly impersonate some of the personalities we’re familiar with from Jane, but brushes it off with a laugh and says “I mean, you guys get it. As humans we’re so packed. We need to be kind to each ourselves and each other and forgive each other. These characters bother each other and they get mad at each other, but they always forgive each other. That’s really important.”
Holbrook then began to change gears a bit by asking both guests if there’s any plans for Doom Patrol for the future. Guerrero casually and very matter of factly replied, “Oh. Oh yeah, we have season two. And it’s going to air on HBO Max along with DC Universe. It’s going to be on both platforms.”
“We just heard this news ourselves and we couldn’t be more excited,” Carver followed up. “Thank you to everyone who watches DC Universe because we couldn’t do this without you. We pay attention to what you have to say and we get fueled by it and are lifted up from all of the support.”
Guerrero and Carver then left the stage with a thunder of applause from fans and Holbrook announced that the next item for the evening would be the first episode of the new animated series Harley Quinn.
“Just so you know, there’s a language warning. This isn’t for children so if you brought your kids, it might be time to take them elsewhere!” Holbrook joked.
The episode revealed the classic Harley Quinn that everyone knows and loves, but with the more recent twist of it being the story of how she emancipates herself from the toxic relationship with The Joker with the help of Ivy. But it’s not all as serious as it sounds — the animation is colorful and bright and acts as a great contrast to the all-out gore as well as the excessive, but terribly funny, swearing.
As the episode ended and the audience was still picking up its sides from laughing so hard, Holbrook brought out and introduced the creative team behind the show: Patrick Shumacker, Justin Halpern, and Jennifer Coyle.
The questions for the guests revolved the most around why Harley was the character of choice.
“I’ve always kind of thought of Mary Tyler Moore is she were a killer,” laughed Halpern. “So there’s actually a lot of Quentin Tarantino vibes happening in there and I used that as a reference in the pitch.”
They guests then moved on to boast the impressive list of voice actors that had joined their troop in making the new series.
“We’ve got JV Smoove, Jason Alexander, Tony Hale, Ron Funches, Alan Tudyk, Lake Bell as Poison Ivy, and of course Kaley Cuoco as Harley herself. Plus tons of others,” said Shumacker. “We also have Dean Laurie working with us in the show. He couldn’t be here tonight, but he worked on Arrested Development. We wanted it to have that kind of feel as well.”
“So what’s next for Harley here?” asked Holbrook.
“We saw it as a breakup story. When you’re with someone who is toxic and then when you break up, there’s this moment of “oh wait, what do I want now?” that comes with it. So after she’s freed herself from that, Gotham kind of becomes Harley’s playground and we just made it look like a playground.”
The guests then talked about Ivy and how she doesn’t really seem like a villain anymore; not only that, but she doesn’t really see herself as one either.
“Are there any other villain-not-villains you’re excited about?”
“We have a lot. Kiteman, Aquaman, Bane, Black Manta, Lex Luthor. There’s so many,” said Halpern.
“I was excited for his excitement about Bane,” replied Shumacker about Halpern. “We wanted to see what Bane’s everyday would be like. You know, making coffee, checking twitter. It was just really funny.”
There was a lot more joking about the liberal use of curse words in the show and all panelists seemed absolutely giddy to announce that the first episode had “a fuck a minute” according to Shumacker.
After the guests were escorted off the stage, it was time to bring out Young Justice: Outsiders showrunners Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman.
“This is a show that no one will seem to let die, huh?” said Holbrook, which made Weisman and Vietti seem absolutely giddy.
“You guys were so supportive,” said Vietti. “You got this third season and you brined it on the DCU app and you kept it alive. Thank you for watching it.”
The audience then gets a very unexpected surprise as Holbrook asks what is it that they have in mind as far as something new as Wiesman lowers his head and holds up four fingers to indicate that season four is on it’s way as well. The crowd lost its mind almost immediately.
“We’ve already started it. We’re coming up with stories and we’re writing it. It’s being done,” said Shumacker. “The Hashtag: KeepWatchingYJ was a massive success. We would not be back without you guys. We would not see season four without you all. Thank you for supporting us.”
“And thank you for the support from our friends over at DC as well,” added Vietti.
With the show still running strong in its third season, Holbrook pressed the panelist for what they had in mind for the rest of the season.
“We’ll be paying off a lot of what we set up already. We set up the season with a lot of red tape from Lex Luthor and the Outsiders having to get around that. But we’re also going to see Garfield Logan combating Lex using social media just like our fans have done and as a thanks to those who saved the show using social media,” replied Vietti.
As the questions began to wrap up, Holbrook asked what they’re hoping to see happen in season four as well to which Schumaker responded, “There will be more secrets and lies. I think we’ve had a few seasons where we’re plot focused, but it’s pushing back to a little more character focus for season for. There will be new characters. I won’t say who but we’re also going to focus on a smaller group of core characters.”
Shumacker and Vietti then left the stage as the newest episode of Young Justice: Outsiders was revealed to the audience.
After a massive round of applause, Holbrook wrapped the panel by letting fans know that if they knew someone who wanted to sign up for DC Universe, if they sign up at the booth or online this weekend then they would receive comics with special covers to include Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol, Titans, and Young Justice.
As far as success goes with the fans, I’d say DC has audiences hooked, especially with DC Universe. There certainly wouldn’t be any surprise to see an even further rise in subscriptions after such great announcements.