Seth Green’s Robot Chicken is about to hit its eighth season but before it kicks off he has a little DC special for us and it features the full cooperation of DC Comics’ Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and boasts the return of Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin. This Robot Chicken DC special pokes some fun at the “World’s Finest” pairing of Batman and Superman in advance of next year’s big screen showdown, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
“Geoff said it really well,” Green told SHH at a Robot Chicken DC Special press day held at the publisher’s new offices in Burbank, California. “These characters are too strong to break. They’re indelible. You can have all these different interpretations of them. Fans can have their own interpretations of them. There can be a Playskool iteration of Batman coexisting with the Nolan Batman.”
“Earth RC,” Johns grins when asked about how Robot Chicken ties to DC continuity. “It exists now. It’s in canon.”
“If it’s created, it exists,” Johns explains. “That’s the thing about what Grant Morrison – who, to me, is the quintessential superhero comic book writer. His philosophy is that, once it’s created and it’s out there, it’s reality. I don’t know if we’ll ever see [Robot Chicken] cross over with the New 52, but [it could]. It’s endless. It’s infinite.”
The Robot Chicken DC special also samples from the DC multiverse with the return of Adam West and Burt Ward. DC has recently been continuing the adventures of “Batman ’66” with a comic book series and is also planning to have the iconic pair — who are about to enter the Guinness Book of World records for their 50 years of working together — return for an animated Batman home entertainment release.
“We came to [Burt Ward] from a real sincere place of love,” says Green. “‘We’re reverent to your interpretation of this character. We feel like it’s a critical element to have you involved in this multiverse special. We’ll make you look awesome. We love you. Do you want to do it?’”
“It amazing the effect that Batman has had,” Ward, who was delighted to participate in the special, tells SHH. “…I’ve had guys come up to me and say, “I come from a family with a lot of problems. Drugs. Stuff like that. Your show kept me from going to the dark side …People say, ‘It held you back’ or this or that. I say, ‘You don’t understand. It affected my life in an amazing, wonderful way.”
Full of incredible anecdotes, Ward recalls one of his first public appearances after the “Batman” series premiered in 1966.
“You couldn’t get within six blocks of this mall,” he laughs. “People were camping in the streets. They had rented the University of Washington’s football team to act as sort of body guards. 22 guys. I couldn’t believe it. They handed out raffle tickets. 310,000 raffle tickets handed out on a Saturday and a Sunday. Where I had to sign autographs was quite a distance from where I got dressed. I ended up having to walk with all these guys. Two elderly ladies came from the opposite direction. They obviously hadn’t seen our show. It had only been out for three or four months. One of them looked at the other and goes, “‘Damn hippie!’”
Today, however, Batman is one of the most recognizable fictional characters in the world and, to Johns, the enduring legacy of hope and inspiration is part of the appeal of the DC characters.
“I feel like there’s a generation now that’s watching ‘The Flash,’” he says, “and he’s going to be their favorite character. Then, one day, those fans are going to do their own version of ‘The Flash’ in comics and films and TV. I think perpetuating the next generation is great.”
“It’s humbling and inspiring at the same time,” Green explains. “It makes us all feel like we should do this well. We should do this correctly. If we’re lucky enough to have landed in this position, we should swing for it as hard as we can.”
The Robot Chicken DC Comics Special III: Magical Friendship premieres October 19th at Midnight (ET/PT) on Adult Swim. One week after that, Robot Chicken will return at the same time for it’s eighth season premiere.