LA Comic-Con 2021: Eras of Animated Batman featuring Kevin Conroy, Will Friedle, and John Glover!

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For nearly 30 years our televisions screens have been graced with the mind-bending animation and storytelling of Batman: The Animated Series and all the subsequent DC Animated spinoffs that followed. At Los Angeles Comic-Con, original series stars Kevin Conroy (Bruce Wayne/Batman) and John Glover (The Riddler) along with Batman Beyond’s Will Friedle (Terry McGuinness/Batman) took to the Main Stage to share their experiences bringing these iconic characters to life.

Moderated by Londyn Jackson (“History of the Batman”), the panel kicked off with the question of how each of the stars came into their roles. Conroy shared that auditioning for Batman: The Animated Series was the first animated series he had ever auditioned for. Prior to landing the part he would be most identified with he had been primarily a theatre actor in New York City. He had initially assumed it would be a humorous Saturday morning cartoon akin to the 1966 television incarnation of Batman famously played by Adam West. It wasn’t until Conroy met series creator Bruce Timm that he learned that this wasn’t a “cartoon”, it was an “animated series”. While it had to be kid-friendly, it wasn’t necessarily made for kids. Conroy went on to note that their largest demographic turned out to be young adults in college.

Friedle shared a similar sentiment, also having Batman Beyond be his first animated series audition. Friedle was on the popular sitcom “Boy Meets World” at the time and said he felt less intimidated because he didn’t necessarily have shoes to fill. Friedle starred in Batman Beyond as Terry McGuinness, a 17-year-old orphan trained by an older, retired Bruce Wayne to be the next Dark Knight. Friedle also humorously noted that he is “the best Terry McGuinness ever” being that he is the only actor thus far to have ever played the part. Friedle also expressed his gratitude for the brilliance of creator Bruce Timm and voice director Andrea Romano for sticking to their guns and not allowing studio executives to condescend to the audience. Arguably, “Batman Beyond” is a much darker show than the original series.

Glover shared that it wasn’t until he started attending comic conventions that he realized the impact the animated series had on people. He had gotten the role of The Riddler after having previously been a guest voice on “Pinky and the Brain” (another Romano-directed work). Glover had only recorded three episodes and went on with his career without having really sat down to watch the series. After a chance encounter with a fan, however, he sat down to watch his episodes. “I delighted myself with how much fun I was having,” shared Glover.

While the panel did take note of the upcoming animated revival series “Batman: Caped Crusader”, no new information could yet be shared. However, it’s sure to excite many generations of fans as it hits HBO Max in 2022.