Creature Commandos @ Annecy Festival!

HEY HI Y’ALL!

I don’t know if this needed its own topic, but then it may be helpful for when coverage drops….

But in case you weren’t aware, Warner Bros. Animation is bringing DC Studios’ CREATURE COMMANDOS to this year’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival, ahead of its Fall premiere on Max.

The deets: on Friday, WBA will present an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the show.

Rick Morales (supervising producer), Balak Yves (supervising director), and WBA head of production Peter Girardi are the panelists, with French journalist Caroline Vie moderating.

A couple important things to note here:

  1. Teasers/trailers are not coordinated with Annecy the same way they are with SDCC/NYCC and others. Not discounting the possibility of a teaser/trailer for CC dropping around the same time, shortly thereafter or even before the panel on Friday, but still something to keep in mind.

  2. Annecy DOES NOT stream its programming. There are a number of journalists attending who will provide running coverage of the festival. Variety Magazine, in particular, is Annecy’s primary press partner and they provide detailed summaries of different panels.

I’m going to assume that France is on a different timezone than the majority of us here in the forums (They are six hours ahead of us in North Carolina, for example).

So again, unlike an SDCC, it will be tough for anyone at home to clock when a panel is happening live. So…

On Friday, when that coverage drops, I will come back here with the links to the article and maybe even a quick TLDR overview.

One final note, for anyone sleeping on this or perhaps writing it off because it’s not Batman or Superman: y’all aren’t ready.

CC is the first major piece of DCU media and our first look at the world being crafted by Gunn and company.

The animation studio (Bobbypills) has wowed animation nerds for a while now, and they’re just getting started.

There are a lot of questions people have about the DCU.

From internal mechanics like world-building, timelines, technology level(s), geography, metahuman relations, etc.

And then functional questions like how will differing forms of media (like animation and live-action) interact with each other and weave in and out.

The overall shape and function of the DCU has been…largely intentionally obscured to us for a very long time, to the frustration of some.

Creature Commandos will begin the process of pushing back the fog, and for that alone it may be low-key the most important DC Media release of 2024.

That and also nobody’s ready for James Gunn + DC + Bobbypills.

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Here’s the link to the CC page on Annecy’s program.

Oh, and if you want a convincing reason why I think more DC fans should pay attention to CC, here’s one:

Creature Commandos will debut the official DC Studios logo :arrow_down:

Screenshot from 2024-06-08 18-31-39

(bless that man’s heart, he just wants to talk about donuts but fans keep pelting him with DCU questions :sweat_smile:)

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Good to know :+1: Thanks for the thread + info!

I’m really looking forward to Creature Commandos . :metal::grin::metal:

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Oh I’m really looking forward to this. I haven’t been hugly disappointed by a Gunn project yet.

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I know we’ve been distracted here by the recent news re: Discord, but if I may have your attention…

Two things:

One, WE HAVE A DATE :batparrot: :man_dancing: :man_dancing: :man_dancing: :batparrot:

As revealed yesterday during the massive WBA/CNS/HBSE showcase panel, Creature Commandos will premiere this December on MAX

Obligatory, photographic proof of James Gunn confirming it himself:

Screenshot from 2024-06-13 18-18-06

Two…

You guys. Get ready…

Tomorrow is the big day.

At Annecy 2024, Balak Yves, Rick Morales and Peter Girardi pull back the curtain on Creature Commandos!

This session will happen in the morning hours in France, so chances are pretty good most of use will have quite the surprise waiting for us when we wake up.

As I’ve said before, I will post links to a fully-written article or two, along with a quick TLDR summary of anything important or interesting.

Oh, and on the subject of teasers/trailers…the trend I’ve noticed with most Annecy announcements so far this year is teasers/trailers dropping either the day before, the day of (sometimes just before a session starts), or the day after a session. If tomorrow follows that same track…oh boy.

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This information alone will get me through these tough times.

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I’m happy my nerd ramblings (almost approaching hyperfixation) about CC are bringing you some happiness, dude!

Ben Potter (Comicstorian)’s passing has made this week feel weird for me, so…what’s a better way to honor him than sharing my passions, right?

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For a very long time, this image (and some discordant pieces of unconfirmed concept art) were all that we had of CC.

That changes tomorrow!

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And the promise that all voice actors would also play their live action counterparts.

… which only has me wanting live action Lady Frankenstein, of course.

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OKAY Y’ALL

No teaser (for now) and seemingly no first-look images either (this was one of those Annecy sessions where security was on the heavy-side + no pictures or video).

But we now know…quite a bit more about the show now.

Here is the THR write-up:

And the slightly more detailed Variety article:

The only one I’m waiting on is the Animation Magazine writeup. As they are more process-centric in focus, they will likely have more to tell regarding Bobbypills’ role in the production and their approach to creating the animation. If it drops, I’ll put it in another post.

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Now, for the summary (I’m also pulling from stuff I’ve seen on SM from people who were at Annecy):

  • The panel began with a video statement from James Gunn, recorded from a soundstage in Atlanta where he’s been filming Superman.

  • In the video, Gunn re-emphasizes his approach to the unified structure of the DCU. The idea that characters can jump from live-action to animation, from video games to the big screen, and still have the same characterization and overall arc (and be played by the same actor).

  • He says that this approach gives him and the other writers/filmmakers the freedom to craft stories across a wide range of tones and genres, with an emphasis on stand-alone entertainment experiences in every format while still slotting into the larger story being told throughout the DCU.

  • With that, he elaborates more on the plot of Creature Commandos whilst confirming the return of Viola Davis as Amanda Waller (in a VO role).

  • "The new series picks up directly after our Peacemaker season one finale, which leaves Waller with her hands tied operationally, meaning that she’s no longer able to get away with putting human lives on the line to carry out her clandestine morally questionable missions,” the filmmaker shared in his video. “Instead, she recruits a ragtag band of misfits, not unlike the Suicide Squad and Peacemaker.”

  • He notes that what makes this different from SS and Peacemaker is that we have a cast made up of very literal monsters: "I can’t wait for you to meet them. Creating this series has been one of the absolute joys of my life.”

  • An executive on-stage (I believe it would have been Peter Girardi, WBA’s VP of Production) brings this up: a creative memo about the series from James Gunn, dated back to 2022. It outlines the series narrative and tone: "dark, humorous but never goofy and unsentimental, [an] adult-themed show with political storylines.”

  • The memo also contains a musical mood-board for the series, with Gogol Bordello and The Dresden Dolls being mentioned specifically.

  • From there, we dive into the character artwork, concept art, storyboards, etc.

  • The series is fully hand-drawn 2D, with CG seemingly only used as reference for constructing more elaborate shots.

  • Someone on SM who was there at Annecy says that this was “absolutely breathtaking work from Bobbypills.”

  • Character designs were rendered to strike a balance between comic-book accuracy and design work that could functionally translate into live-action.

  • In that regard, Gunn worked closely with the Bobbypills team, seemingly only reigning them in when their designs got a little too crazy. Example: the new look that Amanda Waller sports in the show (“This outfit seems too fierce for her, she’s more of a fancy Grandma.”)

  • The look for Doctor Phosphorus (Alan Tudyk) was likened to a “permanent special effect.”

  • Nina Mazursky (Zoë Chao) is meant to look fragile and petite in contrast to everyone else.

  • Weasel (from The Suicide Squad) pops up here, described as being the DCU’s Tasmanian Devil.

  • The overall aesthetic of the show has been described by one Annecy attendee as a “gritty Comic Book look” with stylistic nods to Steampunk and Anime.

  • Two clips for the show were shown (in storyboard form). The first is an argument between Rick Flag Sr (Frank Grillo) and Doctor Phosphorus, which escalates into a fight that ends with them falling through the floor (all this is set to “The wild instrumentations of gypsy punk.”)

  • The second clip is an attempt at small talk between GI Robot (Sean Gunn) and Nina Mazursky. GI Robot wants to kill nazis (and Waller promised him he could do just that), but he wants to know: will Nina Mazursky kill nazis with him?

  • Not much more about the narrative was revealed, but the main locals for the show were revealed: Belle Reve, Frankenstein Manor, Frankenstein’s Lab and Poko Castle (described as a Disney-esque fantasy/fairy-tale place fallen to ruin)

  • Characters from Creature Commandos will show up in Superman (They didn’t say who) and should the show receive future seasons, other DC characters could pop in as well.

Okay, that’s everything (at least until Animation Magazine drops their article…or a teaser/first-look image punch us in the face). Until then:

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Oh yeah,

During the panel at one point, in regards to designing Rick Flag Sr.:

“Rick Flag Sr. is the ultimate daddy.”

69/10, no notes.

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Thanks for all the info. Like what I’m hearing.

2-D = W
Bobbypills who also made Captain Lazerhawk which was great and had awesome animation style(s). And the descriptor makes me all the more excited to see previews when we do.

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Same here, dude.

This project (even more so than Superman) has been under such a tight lock for so long that its kinda shocking that we got THIS much from the Annecy panel. There’s probably a little more we don’t know, but again: waiting on that Animation Magazine piece (assuming they had someone there).

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I was a bit taken aback by the idea of Waller forming and leading the Commandos. I like Davis as Waller, but am not sure I like the idea of the Commandos under her lead. But I’m still enthused. Must trust the process. :wink:

Okay, now I’m full in. Fuller in?

Yesssss. Give me the live action Lady Frankenstein.

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I have a personal theory about that. To me, it sounds kinda nuts (to me) but IDK.

The TLDR version: TSS, Peacemaker S1 (or S2) and Creature Commandos S1 maybe form something of a loose trilogy of stories about the antiheroes of the DCU that maybe tie into Superman’s potential hook of a younger Supes entering a world where that’s been the norm for a while and saying “Hey, maybe there’s a better way to do this.”

Like, it’s flimsy and contradictary and it probably isn’t that deep (or it just falls apart upon further analysis) but that’s where I think they’re headed re: Waller being the one to form the Commandos.

I’ve never listened to a Gogol Bordello track ever, but I’m glad that some of his fans are on board (I’m talking about you and James Gunn :laughing:).

Yesssir!

Now, as part of making her work more in live-action, she has two arms instead of the four like in the comics. But other than that, it’s a pretty spot-on design (and we know from TSS that comic accuracy won’t be an issue in the DCU).

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I think it works as good as anything. I had assumed that Commandos would be set “years ago” so as not to interfere with the modern world. But now that we know it follows immediately on Peacemaker, your theory makes sense.

It also could be as simple as sticking with Waller’s rejects and misfits in the more shadowy corners of the world, so there’s no epic world threatening event prior to Supes. (Well, Starro was world threatening, but not on a scale that was known to all.) We need to build up the world to need Superman, and then build that up to need a League. Starting too big makes that all too preposterous too soon I think. (Maybe that’s the same thing you’re saying …)

Strongly recommended. Start with Super Theory of Super-Everything, Start Wearing Purple, and/or American Wedding. I’ll spare you my shaky concert video. :wink:

How did I not notice that in the promo image that’s been around for over a year? Well that’s disappointing. That’s part of what makes her unique. But you’re right, otherwise spot on. As long as they pull off the attitude, that’s really the core of it. (Which I’m sure Indira Varma can do - its all about whether the animation matches.)

Wonder if this means epic centuries-old flashbacks (SSOV style origins) or if we’ll be modernizing Frank * Lady?

Are we thinking Poko Castle is the Waller replacement HQ for the Ant Farm? (Since folks probably have a different Ant Farm in their minds from Doom Patrol, even though it’s a totally different continuity.)

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Hmmmm…

I do think we’re on the same wavelength here (I think). The idea with the DCU is that superheroes and supervillains (and metahumans in general, it sounds like) have been public knowledge in one form or another for a very long time. It would make since that, around the time that Superman enters the picture, things start getting crazier than they already are (and whatever the status quo is with superheroes gets challenged).

I think it’s also good to keep in mind: characters will have a ‘rough memory’ of events in TSS and Peacemaker S1. So, that awkward moment where half the JL showed up at the end of Peacemaker S1 is definitely not a thing that happened in the DCU because - as you said - we need to get used to this world’s Superman before we start collecting League members.

I do like your insinuation, though: that Waller and her infinite box of unwitting toy soldiers kept things on lock…until a young upstart with an S on his chest walked in.

Will do! May do that this weekend as I decompress from following Annecy.

Yep.

I do wonder if they just determined that four arms would be a lot of CG work to do in live-action? I get that it may be tricky to pull off as practical effect, but Doctor Phosphorus might pop up in live-action and if he does, that’s gonna be a guy in a motion-capture suit (again, he’s described as a permanent special effect in CC’s animation).

I guess we’ll see. Still a fun-looking, comic-book-y design otherwise.

On the Manor and the Lab: :man_shrugging:t6:

On Poko Castle: I’m thinking that might be where we see Anya Charlotra’s Circe. Other than that, you guess is as good (maybe even better) than mine.

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Yeah, that would be my guess. I’m taking two arms to mean better odds on a life action appearance. Even with great effects, it is hard to make extra arms look natural, so would probably tend to limit her screen time which is no fun. With Phosphorus needing by nature to be all CGI as described, it’s less awkward.

Would be kind of fun where they established something like she can whip out extra arms if needed, or had them years ago and removed them because they were too cumbersome, etc, just as a novelty effect in one scene. But if it’s not needed for the story, that could feel hamfisted, so I wouldn’t hate it if we just get two arms, full stop.

Oh, good point. I forgot she was the (presumed) big bad. (Which kind of conflicts with my “no world-threat yet” idea, but also plays into the shadows. She wouldn’t want anyone to know she’s threatening the world.) And I love the idea of a Disney fantasy castle in ruins, and want the LEGO set. :smiley:

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All this, and I just saw that one of the animators said two arms is easier to animate which…yeah, I imagine it would be!

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