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Saturday, July 16, 2005


SAN DIEGO -- The Batman and Superman are both getting straight-to-video movies, it was revealed Friday at the Justice League Unlimited/The Batman panel at Comic-Con International.

The Batman movie is the previously announced The Batman vs. Dracula. The first act of the movie was shown, including an apparently deadly confrontation between Batman and The Joker and Penguin's unwitting resurrection of Dracula.

The Superman movie will be timed for the release of the Superman Returns movie.

Duane Capizzi, supervising producer of The Batman television series, is writing both films.

"With Superman, I kind of fell into this project and boy, I've really grown to love him," Capizzi said. "It's a story where Superman is really driven by his passions. And it's sort of the Seven Labors of Hercules, where he literally goes to the ends of the Earth -- and then some -- to rescue somebody very important to him."

Designs from the Superman animated series will be used, along with new ones, and Capizzi said most of the voice cast will be back.

"But it's sort of a standalone movie," he said. "It's not meant to be a sequel to the last episode."

In other notes from the panel:

* Danielle Judovits is providing the voice of Batgirl, and Piera Coppola is providing the voice of Poison Ivy.

* Commissoner Gordon will arrive in the current season finale. He is voiced by Mitch Pileggi, best known from The X-Files.

* The show will have a new theme song.

* Batman will have a more powerful Batmobile. "It's equipped with several new things," producer Michael Goguen said. "It will have battering-ram ability."

* Tom Kenny on voice Penguin: "What I like about the Penguin is that he is lethal and he is scary and he is good at being a villain, but he is a little on the Kmart side next to The Joker and Lex Luthor. He's a nice mix of a super-villain and that grabby ol' Mr. Wilson across the street."

* Warner Bros. Animation's Roland Poindexter said that since Robin was leading the Teen Titans, it was a good opportunity to showcase Batgirl in The Batman.

* Other new villains will include Maxie Zues, Gearhead and Hugo Strange.

* Capizzi said Harley Quinn won't show up for a while. "Since this is sort of Batman: Year Three and we're more or less taking you back to the beginning and he's meeting all the super-villains for the first time," he said. "I figure, since it took about 60 years of history to get to Harley Quinn ... we're more or less trying to honor the timeline."

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