‘Batman Beyond’ 20th Anniversary Celebration at Comic-Con Includes Blu-ray Announcement

The popular animated series “Batman Beyond” is being released on Blu-ray for its 20th anniversary.

The announcement came July 18 during San Diego Comic-Con International, as cast members and some of the show’s creative forces gathered to celebrate the anniversary.

The series, a spinoff of “Batman: The Animated Series,” debuted in January 1999 and ran for 52 episodes and a direct-to-video movie. The show, set in the future, dealt with an elderly Bruce Wayne (voiced by Kevin Conroy) recruiting teenager Terry McGinnis (Will Friedle) to take up the mantle of Batman.

Writer Bob Goodman said the series came about as a result of a mandate from the WB Network to focus on younger characters, and to portray Batman as a high schooler. Producer Bruce Timm suggested setting the show in the future timeline of “Batman: The Animated Series.” As a result, the show wasn’t based on any particular Batman storyline from the comic books.

“About 80% of it we made up out of whole cloth,” Goodman said. “We just developed it based upon what we knew of these characters.”

Friedle said he was asked to audition because Timm’s wife was a fan of his work on the ABC sitcom “Boy Meets World.”

Friedle said he didn’t expect to get the role because at the time he hadn’t done voiceover work before.

“It’s the equivalent of having never been in a movie before, and now you’re starring in a Steven Spielberg movie,” said Friedle, who has gone on to enjoy a lucrative voiceover career with roles such as Lion-O in the “Thundercats” reboot, and Bumblebee in “Transformers: Robots in Disguise.”

Casting director Andrea Romano said Friedle won the part after the finalists were tested alongside veteran voice actor Conroy, who had been playing Batman and Bruce Wayne on “Batman: The Animated Series” since the early 1990s.

“They had that dynamic,” Romano said.

Conroy said the show’s futuristic setting gave him a good perspective on how to play the older version of Bruce.

“He wasn’t a doddering old man,” Conroy said. “They had him become a powerful lion in winter.”

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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the show digitally Oct. 15, with the Blu-ray boxed set to follow on Oct. 29.

Warner has remastered 41 episodes from their original elements, with the remaining episodes upscaled to HD. The Blu-ray will also include a newly remastered copy of the direct-to-video movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

The six-disc Batman Beyond: The Complete Animated Series — Limited Edition includes 15 bonus featurettes, including two new retrospectives: “Nostalgic Tomorrow,” a gathering of “Batman Beyond” production talent and cast; and “Knight Immortal,” an 80th anniversary celebration of the Batman character. Four episodes include audio commentary from producer Bruce Timm and select members of the production team.

The limited-edition Blu-ray, which will be individually numbered with a run of 50,000, will also include an exclusive chrome Funko Pop and lenticular art cards.

Warner Unveils Huge Home Entertainment Presence for Comic-Con 2019

The Warner Bros. studio home entertainment divisions are planning a major presence at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con International, with premieres of new animated and horror movies, celebrations of iconic character anniversaries, and immersive fan experiences for major theatrical releases heading to home video.

This year’s Comic-Con takes place July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center and other locations throughout downtown San Diego.

Popeye’s 90th Birthday Party will take place at 10:15 a.m. Thursday, July 18, in room 6DE, featuring a panel discussion and a look at footage from Warner Archive’s new and upcoming Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s Blu-rays.

A Birthday Bash for the 50th anniversary of “Scooby-Doo” is slated for 12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 20 in Room 6A. A panel including Grey Griffin and Kate Micucci will preview the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! — The Complete Series Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Mystery Mansion boxed set due in stores Sept. 3 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The new movie Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island, a sequel to Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, will have its world premiere at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, July 21, in room 6BCF. The film will arrive on home video this fall from WBHE.

A “Batman Beyond” 20th anniversary panel is set for 12:15 p.m. Thursday, July 18 in Hall H. The retrospective of the futuristic animated series will include producers Bruce Timm and Glen Murakami, casting director Andrea Romano, director James Tucker, writers Bob Goodman and Stan Berkowitz, and voice actors Kevin Conroy and Will Friedle.

The Warner Bros./DC Booth will hold an autograph signing for both Critters Attack! and The Banana Splits Movie at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, July 18, followed by a panel discussion for both films at 4:30 p.m. in room 6DE.

Critters Attack! will debut on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally July 23 from WBHE.

The world premiere of The Banana Splits Movie will take place at 10 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at the Horton Grand Theatre. A horror-movie version of the classic kids show, The Banana Splits Movie will be available digitally Aug. 13, and on Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 27 from WBHE.

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Warner Archive will hold a panel to promote the upcoming Blu-ray of V: The Original Mini-Series, at 10 a.m. Friday, July 19, in room 6DE. On hand to celebrate the landmark 1983 sci-fi miniseries will be creator Kenneth Johnson and star Marc Singer, along with the Warner Archive Podcast team of D.W. Ferranti and Matthew Patterson, and moderator Gary Miereanu.

The world premiere of the DC animated movie Batman: Hush will take place at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, July 19, in Ballroom 20, followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers and cast. An encore screening will follow at 9:30 p.m. WBHE’s Batman: Hush arrives digitally July 20; on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Aug. 6; and on the DC Universe streaming service Aug. 13.

Batman: Hush

Saturday, July 20 at 10 a.m. in room 6A will be a panel celebrating Hanna-Barbera in honor of the recent “Jonny Quest” complete-series Blu-ray and Warner Archive’s upcoming Blu-ray of The Jetsons: The Complete Original Series. The panel will preview the new releases with a look at the remastering process.

The new animated movie Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans will have its world premiere at noon on Sunday, July 21, in room 6BCF, followed by a panel discussion with the film’s stars and creators. The movie will be available on home video this fall from WBHE.

The world premiere of Lego DC: Batman — Family Matters will take place at 2:15 p.m. Sunday, July 21, in room 6BCF, followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers and cast. The animated movie will be available Aug. 6 on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally from WBHE.

In addition, Warner will offer fan experiences for the films Shazam! and Pokémon Detective Pikachu adjacent to the Omni Hotel across the railroad tracks from the convention center.

The Pikachu activation will offer guests a chance to explore an immersive walkthrough pop-up of the film’s Ryme City, including photo opps featuring a neon cityscape, the marketplace, film prop displays, an infinity room and characters from the film. WBHE releases the film digitally July 23, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Aug. 6.

Fans can also visit the Chilladelphia Winter Carnival from the superhero film Shazam!, which will be available digitally and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from WBHE before the convention begins.

The world premiere of DC Spotlight: Shazam! will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at the Horton Grand Theatre. The documentary, which chronicles the history of the character, will be introduced by Asher Angel, one of the stars of the recent Shazam! live-action film. The documentary will stream later this summer on the DC Universe service.