Batman panel at Wizard World Chicago!


Wizard transcribes the Q&A session here, and collects fan reactions here.



Yet another awesome recap for you to read, right here, from a scooper to Ain’t It Cool News.



Go right here, right now! Jett has posted his article about the panel and the footage shown, and as always it’s a winner.



Here’s another awesome recap from the amazing folks at Newsarama, who add that writers David Goyer and Jonathan Nolan and director/co-writer Christopher Nolan were also there.

The footage showed Heath Ledger as the Joker, battling with Batman in several scenes. As we’ve seen in preview images released of Ledger in full Joker make-up, the actor’s face was mutilated and painted in an eerie white with a sloppy red giant smile across the mouth. His hair in some scenes was obviously green and in one clear face-on shot, black make-up around his eyes was visible and make-up seemed to be oozing down his face.

The Batmobile was shown at the beginning of the trailer, but soon we got to see Batman riding on his Batcycle. Included in the footage was the first meeting between Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent, Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth talking to Bruce, a shot of Batman standing on the corner of a building overlooking the city at night, Bruce Wayne kissing a woman that must have been Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes, several scenes of Gary Oldman as James Gordon, Joker dancing with a resistant Rachel, a fire truck burning on a street, a few fiery car crashes, a coin spinning like a top, and the Joker on what appeared to be television.

But the kicker was the last moment shown, where the back of Harvey Dent’s head was visible, and it looked like one side of his face might be mutilated, although it wasn’t really showing very well — and a character was looking at his face saying, “Dent? Jesus, I thought you was dead.”

The crowd cheered madly as the footage ended, and the actors and director left the audience and ducked away as people chanted, “One more time!!”

Before the footage was shown, Chris Nolan made an appeal for nobody to film or record it, saying he was reluctant to share footage of an unfinished film — the movie is exactly halfway finished being filmed, he said — and he was convinced to share it only because of the reception he’d received last time he visited the con. Despite that appeal, as I left the building to type up this report at my hotel, I saw a lot of people running ahead of me, probably carrying recording devices. Whether they will get it up on the ‘net in time for very many comics fans to see it before WB gets it taken down should be interesting.

During the panel, the actors, writers and director answered questions from fans and talked a little about the film.

Bale immediately got cheers by saying, “It’s a great honor for me to reprise this most bad-ass of characters.”

The actor said he had originally only seen Batman through the Adam West role on television, “which was great, but it was a spoof. In truth, I was never a huge fan of Batman.

“Then I read Frank Miller’s Year One, and I asked the question I’m sure many of you asked — why the hell hasn’t somebody made this kind of Batman movie?” the actor said.

Asked about reprising the role, he said he was a little concerned about coming back to the character after two years away from him, but it was “like riding a bike.”

“You put on the suit and there’s only one way you can play it,” he said.

Levitz turned to Eckhart for his thoughts, and he asked if the actor had “a word” to share. “Or two?” After fans got the joke, Eckhart said, “So that’s how it’s going to be, huh?” to which Levitz answered, “for the rest of your life.” Eckhart said, “I think you guys are going to be really, really pleased with what’s going on.”

Oldman talked about how much he liked coming back to the character of Lt. Gordon, but then added, “We can call him commissioner now.”

Fans wanted information but didn’t get much. Nobody would speak to what happens to Harvey Dent in the movie. When asked about how they are approaching the character of the Joker, Goyer said the most important part of scripting that character was making sure he fit into the Batman Begins universe, which already existed because of the first film. “The Joker’s a lot more theatrical than this universe,” he said. “Obviously, the Jack Nicholson character doesn’t work in this universe.”

Jonathan Nolan said that anytime he was confused about the Joker character, he’d call up Levitz and get together for dinner to discuss him. He added that the question isn’t how he was able to capture the Joker in the script, but “how to get him out of my head. Months and months of therapy.”

Chris Nolan said that in the first film, it was Goyer who had insisted they include the Joker card at the end of the film to be a “hook” for the ending. He said that during the process of creating the character for the script, they spent a lot of time looking through all the comics where Joker appears and talking and arguing about it. Then he said his brother Jonathan called and asked, “Have you read the first two appearances of the Joker?” Chris Nolan said he hadn’t, but once he did, “I felt like we’ve actually come around to something eerily close to those first two stories.”

He also said what Ledger is doing with the role is “pretty indescribable.”

“He’s completely figured it out, but it’s impossible to describe,” he said of the actor’s performance.

Oldman added that while the script mapped out what the Joker character would be like, Ledger’s “going to knock everyone out of the ballpark.”

Chris Nolan noted that while they only filmed three weeks in Chicago for the last film, they were spending several months here this time to “expand the scope of the story” and film in real buildings and real settings. “We really want to create a very epic feel to the film,” the director said.

Goyer said that when he and Chris Nolan first started talking about a sequel, they wondered if it was possible to top an origin story. “Based on what I’ve seen this time, my jaw’s just dropping. On this one, I think they topped it.”

Bale was asked about how different it is to prepare for the role of Batman than it is for other physical roles he’s performed. He said that while it’s obviously essential that the character be very physical, because Batman is more about having power and force, “it’s far more of a mental discipline.”

Asked about the possibility of doing a Superman/Batman film, Goyer ranked his interest “now that I’ve seen this one” as a zero. Jonathan Nolan admitted that when he read Dark Knight Returns, he liked the “amazing sequence” in there with the two characters, so he couldn’t put a number on his interest. But his brother Christopher just said, “Who gives a shit?” to laughs from the crowd.



The panel happened! Christian Bale, Gary Oldman and Aaron Eckhart — who play the heroic trio (of Batman, Gotham City cop Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent) that stands up against the villainy of the mob and the terror of The Joker (Heath Ledger) — appeared and treated the gathered fans to a reel of exclusive Dark Knight footage.

Right here is Wizard’s recap of the footage:

The action built up as the Joker was seen in full for the first time with a mess of white face, smeared red lipstick and sweaty, straggly green hair. Apparently, the clown prince of crime gets arrested at one point in the film, as the montage presented Jim Gordon (complete in SWAT gear) at the Joker’s booking, saying, “no prints, no ID, custom clothes, no tags.” The clown smiles with what appears to be blood over his face from the inside of an interrogation room.

Checking back in with Bruce Wayne, the billionaire playboy has a brief scene with Eckhart’s Harvey Dent where he says “Rachel’s told me everything about you.”

“I truly hope not,” responds Wayne.

The footage sped up at that point into an intense montage of action, featuring the following clips:

– The new batsuit rising up from a trap door in the ground and held in a chain metal case.

– Rachel Dawes (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal) close to an unidentified man either kissing him or being threatened by him as the camera rotates around them.

– The Joker and Batman battling in close quarters (possibly a hospital room). Batman throws Joker over a table and crashing into the ground while the clown smiles at him. It should be noted that the Joker was done up in his signature purple suit.

– Plenty of big, bold Batmobile action including a shot where the tank-like car drives through a wall of flame. In fact, flames were pretty much everywhere in the footage as it appears Joker does actually make the world burn.

– There is also a shot of a somewhat grim-faced Joker walking across a city street mercilessly firing a machine gun as well as a television close-up of the Joker laughing hysterically.

– Two major additions to the speculation that Two Face will appear in the film came in the form of a single shot of a spinning 50 cent piece and the final image: after the action montage has slowed down, the camera cuts to a bartender looking at Harvey Dent, whose only onscreen presence is his left shoulder and a bit of a reddish-purple scarred neck. “Dent! I thought you were dead!” the man gasps, to which Harvey replies, “Half.”

… and soon they’ll update with highlights from the question/answer session the actors engaged in with the audience.

The footage sounds AWESOME. I need this movie in my life. Right now.


Tonight at 6 p.m., Warner Bros. is going to have a not-so-top secret presentation to promote The Dark Knight at Wizard World Chicago.

It’s not known at this point what the presentation will be, but it’s very likely that footage will be shown and possibly introduced by Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Heath Ledger (The Joker), director Christopher Nolan and maybe even other members of the cast and crew.

Jett Ramey from Batman on Film will be there. Be sure to keep checking here for his report.

Superhero Hype also has more information on the panel here.

I’ll update this very post with a recap of the panel once it hits Batman on Film and Superhero Hype, but it’s going to be a while because I’ll be at the hospital all day waiting for my cousin to bring her brand new baby girl into the world.

So keep your eyes on BOF and SHH this afternoon for details about whatever might be shown or revealed — and by whom! — at the panel!

A big group of friends from Empire Comics is there, including frequent comment-leaver and trusted buddy Aaron K., so I’ll also be able to ask those guys about the panel (if they were able to get in) when they get back from Chicago next week.

Also, all signs point to the first full trailer with footage on December 14.

The Dark Knight debuts on July 18, 2008!