Bruce Timm Steps Down At DC Animation

Bruce Timm Steps Down At DC Animation
By: Jay 
Bruce Timm’s name has been synonymous with DC Animation
since the 1992 debut of Batman: The Animated Series. Since then
Timm went on to bring Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond,
Justice League,
 and its spin-off Justice League Unlimited to
the small screens before launching DC’s Direct-To-DVD movies in 2007 with Superman
. But now, after 21 years, the face of DC Animation is stepping
down. Timm initially stepped down from his position to focus his energies
on Green Lantern: The Animated Series as well as his own
works, but since the cancellation of Green Lantern: The Animated Series Timm
will be departing DC Animation to work on his own projects.

Bruce Timm may be leaving his position as Supervisor
Producer, but his mark on DC Animation and the DC Universe as a whole will be
felt for generations to come. During his tenure Timm created some memorable
characters that became so popular that the small screen wasn’t enough and they
made the transition to the comics. Most notable characters are Terry McGuiness
(Batman Beyond), Mercy Graves, Livewire, Detective Renee Montoya, and
perhaps the most popular Harley Quinn.
When one door closes another one opens and the door marked
Supervising Producer is opening up for James Tucker. Tucker isn’t new to DC
Animation. He shared designer duties with Timm on Superman: The
Animated Series
 and Justice League, and served as producer
for Legion of Super Heroes and Batman: The Brave and
the Bold
. He also has director credits on Batman Beyond, Static
Shock, Legion of Super Heroes
 and next month’s Direct-To-DVD Superman
“Bruce had done a lot since Justice League Unlimited ended,”
Tucker explains, “so it’s been quite a haul. I can’t speak for him, but I think
going out on Dark Knight Returns was a special thing for him.
If he was going to make the break that seemed like a good time.”

Tucker plans to “shake things up a bit,” while keeping
things moving in the “right” direction and delivering the same level of quality
as his predecessor.  Tucker continues by saying, “I’d love to use
more of a variety of characters, but that’s something I don’t have control
over. Granted Dark Knight Returns was long overdue to be
adapted and I’m glad they did it and did it superbly. But beyond that, I’m not
really interested in replicating, image by image, word for word, something that
was in a comic book, because you can’t replicate that experience or feeling.
You’re basically getting a secondary experience, so you have to make it your
own in order to make it work as a movie. Creating films in which people are
going through it with a checklist saying, ‘Okay, they took that out, they took
that out…’ I’m not interested in doing anything like that.”

One thing Tucker plans on doing is addressing a concern that
many fans of the animated movies have expressed: that the movies are
predominantly focused on Batman, Superman and the Justice League, while paying
little attention to the other characters in the DC Universe. This is not to say
that DC didn’t make attempts with movies featuring Green Lantern and Wonder
Woman, as well the series of short films under the DC Showcase title,
but the sales didn’t reach the levels that the company would have liked to have
seen. “Our challenge,” he continues, “is that people want us to do these other
characters, but if they don’t sell that threatens the whole line. So the way to
do it is to be smart. If we know we’re going to use Superman, Batman and the
Justice League, how do we use them as gateways to these other characters? If
Batman, Superman and Justice League bring in the average person who’s not a
comic book fan, once you have them you insert a Huntress or a secondary
character like Oracle as a means of introducing them to more of the world. But
you’re not going to be able to do an Oracle movie. Unfortunately the Green
Lantern and Wonder Woman movies didn’t perform like we would have liked them
to, even though I thought they were among the best we’ve done.” “I can’t go
into specifics,” he continues, “but I have a feeling when we announce our next
slate of movies, people are going to be very excited because we will be using
Batman, Superman and Justice League as a gateway to exposing other characters.”
One example he could be referring to is the already
announced Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, which will
be a Flash-centric movie. “I can’t think of any other classic DC stories that I
want to adapt, and I’m not big on adapting stuff anyway. Once you’ve done Dark
Returns, that’s the ultimate DC adaptation. So my attitude is,
‘OK, this leaves me open to doing interpretations of characters and stories,’
so what we’ll be doing with Flashpoint is kind of changing the
dynamic a little bit. Doing things that are based on characters and situations
from the comics, but not literal adaptations. They’ll be more like original
stories along the lines of what we did with Green Lantern: First Flight and Wonder
. There won’t be as many literal adaptations. That’s a step in the
right direction, because this is a Flash focused story, and it’s probably the
only Flash focused story that would sell, because there is a version of the
Justice League involved.”

There will be more changes in future releases, which are all
part of Tucker’s desire to bring a sense of continuing evolution to the line.
“I want our movies to feel like contemporary movies you’d see in a theatre,” he
muses, “so that means even changing up the way we do the main titles. I want
more variety in how we do things and in the types of things we do. I’d love to
do a DC Animated movie that is humorous, like Justice League
. And that could be a possibility down the line. The
title Justice League is a selling point now. It works on its
own so even if you don’t have Superman and Batman in it – okay, Batman’s in it
and we could probably find a way to put Superman in it — it would work.
Besides, we wouldn’t adapt a literal story from the run. That’s just an example
of what I mean. Not every superhero movie has to be the same type of movie with
the same kind of tone. There’s different ways to bend the genre. It’s good to
mix up the format and not just do the same kind of heavy story. I want them to
feel like different types of movies. Who wants to see exactly the same type of
movie every time we do one of these?”

What do you think about the changing of the guard at DC
Animation? Who would you like to see featured in an animated movie? Do you
think DC should stay with the current comic book adaptations, or bring more
original stories to the animated line of movies? Let us know what you think in
the comments.

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